Though the Fair is still six months away, the smell of livestock is in the air! That’s right, the grounds are booming with activity from the Iowa Winter Beef Expo. Each year we have a small corner booth in the annex of the cattle barn to display our merchandise and giving programs and to get people thinking about the upcoming Fair. We are lucky to have great volunteers that staff the booth during business hours so we can continue our work up in the office. It gives our volunteers a chance to get a taste of what it’s like during the off-season and give back to the Iowa State Fair. And for me personally, it gives me an excuse to go down to the cattle barn as I check on the booth three times a day.
The Beef Expo holds a special place in my heart and it’s fun to stay connected and reminisce with people I’ve met in the cattle industry. I started showing cattle when I was five, but didn’t attend my first Beef Expo until I was eight. As a third grader, I exhibited my former bottle calf and walked away with a trophy and the title of Grand Champion Polled Hereford Steer. Needless to say, that’s the best I ever did at the Beef Expo. I continued to show through my senior year of high school and was happy to be “finished” with cattle when I went off to college. Now, my parents come down to sell heifers each year and I get to visit them while they’re in town. Today my mom and I went for lunch and I told my dad I would lead the heifers in the sale ring tomorrow (he’s convinced they’ll sell higher if I do it). I have lots of memories from the Beef Expo and I’m glad I get the opportunity to make more through my job here at the Foundation.
In addition to the Beef Expo excitement, I have a couple of other projects going on that I’d like to share with you. To start, I had my first individual committee meeting last night for the Corndog Kickoff and have another one scheduled for tonight! Our theme for this year’s Kickoff is “Building a Blue Ribbon Tradition,” highlighting the changes our beautiful Fairgrounds has undergone over the years and the role the Foundation has had in some of those changes. It’s truly amazing to see how our renovation projects have improved these beautiful fairgrounds. If you’re not familiar with some of the building projects, you should check it our on our renovations page.
In my first post, I mentioned that I had written a list of goals for this year. In addition to the blog, another goal on my list was get an eBay account up and running for the Foundation. It has come up in discussion several times at the office so I set aside some time last week and put up our first item for auction. A diehard Iowa Hawkeye fan and Iowa State Fair supporter donated a pair of Hawkeye football game pants signed by the star place-kicker Nate Kaeding for us to sell as a fundraiser for the Foundation. Check out the item and get your bids in…the auction ends on Monday! For the months of February and March, a new item will be listed for auction each Monday and run for seven days before it’s sold. Items will include discontinued collectibles and other Iowa State Fair merchandise.
As I’ve said before, I’m really excited about getting word out about the Foundation in the online community and taking full advantage of social media opportunities. So…remember to check our website, visit us on Facebook, and of course stay tuned for our next blog update! We greatly appreciate all our supporters do for the Fair and we want to do our part in keeping you informed about how we’re making your dollars work to make our Fair even better!
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