Winter Newsletter – 2020, 2010, 2000

February 3, 2020
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As we move forward into the new decade, the future is exciting for the Iowa State Fairgrounds. The Blue Ribbon Foundation is supporting several new projects that will improve the Fairgoer's experience.

What’s new with the Blue Ribbon Foundation as we start 2020? Fresh ideas help keep the Blue Ribbon Foundation successful. A new event is highlighted in the newsletter. Fair lovers are invited to attend the Halfway to the Fair Happy Hour Fundraiser on Friday, February 7. Attendees will enjoy live music from Dueling Pianos of Andy Anderson and Mike Leeds while snacking on Fair-inspired appetizers – all while helping raise money for future Fairgrounds improvements.

This newsletter’s donor profile is SHAZAM. SHAZAM is a national member-owned debit network, processor and core provider. As a company committed to strengthening local communities, SHAZAM chooses to focus their charitable giving in Iowa. For the last three years, SHAZAM has been a $10,000 “Best of Show” Patron at the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s annual Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Fair Food Grazing Party.

Each winter newsletter, we highlight our Champion Circle donors. These donors have contributed to Our Fair’s Future endowment fund. Just for fun, think about how psychics look at tarot cards to try to predict the future. Well, these Champion Circle donors are taking action and planning ahead to guarantee the Iowa State Fairgrounds will remain in the future and continue to be a family tradition for the next generation.

So, what was happening 10 years ago? In John Putney’s Editorial, he writes, “Pat yourself on the back and feel good about your role in making the Iowa State Fair the best it can be – the envy of the entire fair industry.” This celebration was for upcoming renovations plans for the Cultural Center and Youth Inn.

This newsletter featured a recap of the Fairgrounds 5K. The beautiful November day hosted 300 runners and raised $9,000 for the Blue Ribbon Foundation. The donor profile was extra unique and featured the book “Bells Goes to the Fair”. This fun story tells the adventure of Bells, Bill and Susan Knapp’s yellow lab. The book was sold and proceeds totally $65,000 were donated to the Foundation.

New fundraising opportunities are incredibly important but so are the fundraising avenues that have been part of the Foundation for 10 or even 20 years. The Corndog Checkoff is an easy way for Fairgoers to show their support while filing their Iowa taxes. These donations are anonymous to the Foundation and have supported the ongoing maintenance. Some improvements aren’t exciting (updating electrical wiring, plumbing repairs, or replacing shingles) but need to be done and aren’t cheap. Thank you for considering the Blue Ribbon Foundation as we enter tax season.

And what was happening 20 years ago? The Iowa State Fairgrounds has grown and new structures have been built to fit the needs of the ever-changing event. Having new structures is an amazing addition to the Fairgrounds but maintaining the current buildings is equally if not more important.

Twenty years ago, the Blue Ribbon Foundation received a $400,000 grant from Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino for the repairs on the Livestock Pavilion’s roof. Fast forward to 2020 - one project for this spring is the renovation of the Livestock Pavilion restrooms. Prairie Meadows once again stepped up to the challenge to help with a $30,000 grant for the project. We are asking donors to also help by joining the 2020 T.A.G. Team. This unique group of 100 donors will be key players in accomplishing a much needed renovation. Join Today.

Listed in all three of the newsletters is the “Roll of Donors”. This is our opportunity to thank the loyal Blue Ribbon Foundation supporters that have joined our mission, some since 1993. All gifts of any size are important and each dollar donated to the Blue Ribbon Foundation has factored into our accomplishments over time. Oh how the list has grown!


As we look to the next decade, the Iowa State Fair’s goal remains the same — celebrate Iowa’s agricultural heritage to further education while offering entertainment and competition for all ages.

The Blue Ribbon Foundation is dedicated to providing a quality environment and facilities to accomplish that goal. Thank you for supporting the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s vision and joining our mission to make it a reality.