Guest Columnists

Thank you for another great Iowa State Fair

People walk around Grand Avenue during the first day of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017.  (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
People walk around Grand Avenue during the first day of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

On behalf of Iowa State Fair Board President John Harms and CEO Gary Slater, thank you for making the 2017 Iowa State Fair another landmark event.

While new rides and attractions, concerts and the latest fair food “on-a-stick” typically get the most attention, we want to take the opportunity to thank the people of this state for their unwavering and generous support for the last 157 years. The Fair is honored to serve as the state’s marquee event showcasing all things Iowa.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation. During that time, the Foundation has raised more than $135 million to improve every corner of the fairgrounds. Support from thousands of Iowans makes it possible to preserve and improve the State Fair for future generations.

This year, the fair debuted three family-focused areas. Blue Ribbon Foundation supporters made it possible to provide our youngest fairgoers a modern plaza of rides. Older kids and adults also benefited from a revamped Thrill Zone and Thrill Town.

In addition to funding brick and mortar projects, support from Iowans also provides more high-quality entertainment at free stages, brings better acts to the grandstand, offers promotional discounts to Iowa families and much more.

Each year, guests notice various upgrades across the fairgrounds, like air conditioning in the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building and construction of the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center. Simply put, without the generosity of Iowans like you, none of these projects would be possible.

While the State Fair honors Iowa’s abundant agricultural history, the fairgrounds are modernizing. Our pavilions and exhibition halls are used year-round to showcase Iowa innovation, products and talents.


We are committed to maintaining traditions and serving the future needs of fairgoers. The Blue Ribbon Foundation is able to do just that because of the generosity of thousands of Iowans.

Work already is underway for the 2018 Iowa State Fair. We remain committed to listening and learning to strengthen the experience. But in the meantime, thank you again, Iowa.

• Peter Cownie is the executive director of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation



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