In 1996, Bill Riley made a $100,000 contribution to the Iowa State Fair for renovations to the Plaza Stage. The stage was renamed Bill Riley Stage in honor of the man who was the Talent Search host on the site for more than 50 years. Most recently, it received a new title as the Anne and Bill Riley Stage.
The first phase of renovations included restoring the existing structure as well as adding 3,400 square feet of roof area and 500 square feet of stage.
Additions in the second phase of construction included a sound and light control booth and a landscaped seating area to hold up to 3,000 spectators.
The new stage was dedicated at a ribbon cutting ceremony in time for the 1997 Iowa State Fair. The Anne & Bill Riley Stage ensures that Riley’s many years of service to the Iowa State Fair will not be forgotten.