Looking Ahead

The past couple of days, the Fair and Foundation staff as well as the Fair Board, have been meeting to review the 2011 Fair and to look ahead to 2012. In looking back, we quickly realized how many things we’ve accomplished in the past year. From adding Kids Zone, to new, fun activities featuring the Butter Cow, we hope we’ve been able to enhance the Fair for each and every one of you! 

One project in which only phase one was completed for the 2011 Fair is Expo Hill. Were you at the Fair to see our progress? If not, here’s what it looked like:

Expo Hill During the 2011 Fair.

Now that the Fair is over, phase two can begin! We are envisioning a stage area that will feature a solar powered cover. We will also be adding another walking path on the northwest side (right by the Foundation office!) for another access point.

Future walking path to Expo Hill.

We’ll also be adding additional solar cooling benches and other features.

Solar lighting on the walking path.


Solar light cubes.



The solar cooling bench and a view up the hill.

If you’re out on the Fairgrounds this fall, take a walk up to Expo Hill. The new walking path makes it easy to get to the top of the hill. Once you’re up there, you’ll notice that Expo Hill provides a wonderful view of the Fairgrounds and the Des Moines skyline.  It’s worth the walk!

Walking path.

We hope that you enjoy the changes we’re making to the grounds to make your Fair experience even better! And don’t forget to sign up for the Fairgrounds 5K where you’ll get a current view of the progress!


2011 Iowa State Fair: Nothing Compares!

We hope you all enjoyed the 2011 Iowa State Fair! Here are a few of our highlights!

Babies in the Animal Learning Center

Fox's Sean Hannity broadcast his show live at the Fair and drew quite a crowd!


On a rainy day we sell more ponchos than water!

Older Iowan Idol contest on Older Iowan's Day

I got to participate in Llama Limbo!

Draft horse show in the Jacobson Center


The Budweiser Clydes were on display the first weekend of the Fair.


On the last night of the Fair, Foundation staff all went down the Giant Slide together!


Blue Ribbon Foundation Fair Staff

What was the best thing that you saw at the Fair this year? 
Thank you for your continued support of the Foundation. Thank you too, to all of our volunteers who help make everything we do at the Fair possible. We’ll see you next year August 9-19!

The Fair is Coming!

Only 89 days left until the Iowa State Fair! Yikes! The weather has been so funny lately, cold day and hot the next that it’s hard to decide what season it is.

On this cold, rainy afternoon, all I can think about is this:

Can’t you almost feel the heat and smell the Fair food? I can’t wait. Have a great weekend!

Mark your calendar for the Corndog Kickoff!

As you may or may not know, in 2011, we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Butter Cow! To help celebrate, the Corndog Kickoff will show everyone that “There’s Nothing Butter!” than the Iowa State Fair! July 9, 2011 will celebrate all things butter cow and will take a look back at the history of the butter cow, all while raising funds for the Foundation!

We are looking forward to another great night. Our advisory committee has been meeting and we think we’ve got some great ideas for the event! If you have any interest in participating on the Auction Committee or the Set-up committee, please let us know.

Look for more information coming soon!

Spring = New Beginings!

Ah, spring! Nothing feels as good as the opportunity to open doors and windows and get a wiff of the fresh air outside! Although some days it seems the temperature can’t decide if it’s ready to let winter go yet, the birds are singing and our grass is starting to green up!

We’ve decided to re-dedicate ourselves to this blog, clearly we’ve slipped a bit! Blame it on dreary winter days or the months of cold. But, we’re back!

Would you like some updates?

  • How about that Grandstand Lineup? From Sugarland and Reba to Train to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Def Leppard, this year’s line up is sure to have something for everyone! Thanks to all of our Fan Fair donors, who have made this a great year. Besides getting great seats at the concerts, you’re helping a great cause! If you didn’t get involved this year, stay tuned for Fan Fair 2012!
  • Did you make it to the Hairball concert a couple of weeks ago? For all of you eighties music fans out there that just couldn’t wait for the Fair, we hosted another concert at the Jacobson Center. A great crowd turned out and had a great time!

  • If you haven’t turned you taxes in yet, don’t forget to participate in the Corndog Tax Checkoff! Look for the State Fairgrounds Renovation Checkoff on line 58b on Iowa Tax form 1040 or line 14 on Iowa Tax form 1040A. 
  • Only 140 days to go until the Iowa State Fair! While it dreary outside today, I’ll leave you with an image of great things yet to come this summer!

Have a great rest of the week!

Fall on the Fairgrounds

Even though the Fair ended a couple of months ago, the Fairgrounds are still bustling with activity! Fall is a busy time around here as there are lots of interim events and we gear up for the Fairgrounds 5K!

We still have some time for fun though! Last week, Fair staff got together to make the Fairgrounds a little more festive . . . with hay bales! Staff was divided into teams with a different theme for each team. If you’re on the Fairgrounds, come check out our efforts!

Decorated hay bales done by Fair staff are displayed on the Triangle on Grand Avenue.

Also taking place on the Fairgrounds this week is the World Percheron Horse Congress. This event is only in the United States every four years. We are honored to host this event in 2010. Exhibitors from all over the world come to show off the world’s best percheron horses. If you like watching the hitches during the Fair, you would love this event! Last night, 16 six-horse hitches were on display in the Jacobson Exhibition Center.

Six-horse hitches exhibit in the Jacobson Center.

 There is still plenty of time to catch more of the show. The schedule of events is available here. Come out this weekend and see some great horses on display in a great facility!

Next weekend is the Fairgrounds 5K! We’re crossing our fingers for some more of the great weather we’ve had! If you haven’t registered yet there is still time. More information here.

Are you a fan of The Charlie Daniels Band? He’s coming to the Jacobson Center along with 38 Special on November 12. This is a great opportunity to check out a great concert on the Fairgrounds in the off-season. There are no bad seats here! Tickets are on sale now! Go here.

There’s a lot going on! Get out to the Fairgrounds for a fall full of festivities!

The Fair Draws to a Close

It’s hard to believe that the Fair ended a couple weeks ago!  The month of August was a whirlwind getting ready for the Fair in addition to the Fair itself! The month of September is spent cleaning up and winding down, reflecting on the Fair and what we can do to improve.

It was a great Fair! Even though it was hotter than hot some days and rainy others, Fair-lovers from across the country still came out to enjoy their favorite things about the Iowa State Fair. A few of my favorite things:

The Draft Horse Show

The 4-H Building

The Animal Learning Center

I was honored to meet several of our Iowans of the Day, all very deserving recipients, all dedicated to improving their communities. I was inspired. 

Speed Herrig of Cookies Food Products along with winners Helen & Floyd Deets.

We also had a great crew working for us this year! To our staff and our volunteers, we couldn’t do it without you!

Blue Ribbon Staff

Stay tuned as we show you more glimpses of the 2010 Iowa State Fair as well as what we have planned this fall! We hope you had a great Fair, we look forward to hearing all of your favorite memories from the Fair!