It's a tradition for Presidential Candidates to visit to the Iowa State Fair.
NBC 5 traveled with Secretary Julian Castro to the event.
"Iowa is the first state and so you have to do well here. If you don't do well here then it's hard to maintain any kind of momentum going forward," said Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Castro.
Candidates get 20 minutes to speak at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox. An upbeat Castro talked the crowd about the importance of the state.
"I believe that there are many folks here who will be ambassadors in this campaign, who will spread a good word throughout Iowa, because you all go first. We need you," said Castro.
The state fair is part of a packed weekend for Castro, who is on the cusp of making it onto the debate stage in September. This time there are tougher guidelines.
He has met the necessary amount of donors, but has not qualified in polling. A candidate must be at 2 percent in four democratic approved polls. Castro has three.
"It's critical that I get into the next debate," said Castro, who added he believes he will get there.
The trip was about more than politics. Castro attended the fair with his family, before heading to other events.
In Hampton, Iowa, the Secretary addressed a small crowd, who were appreciative he came to their town.
"I think for them coming to a small town in Iowa is what this whole thing is all about," said Hampton resident Leon Kuehner.