Looking for the next "Million Dollar Idea"

April 13, 2020
drewnorton's picture

Let’s flashback to the 2013 Iowa State Fair. With a theme focused on “Happiness Is”, there were plenty of new and exciting attractions mixed in with classic entertainment. The top new food was a shrimp corndog and improvements had been completed on the Cultural Center. The attendance reached 1,047,246. And… the Blue Ribbon Foundation sold 5,500 of a single t-shirt. (That’s more than we had ever sold before!)

The famous “Butter Cow Security” t-shirts were a huge hit! An unfortunate vandalism situation turned out to be an opportunity for Fair Fans and Butter Cow lovers across the country to support the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s mission.

Fairgoers lined up on Grand Avenue outside the merchandise trailer to buy a yellow “Serve & Protect” t-shirt. The creative idea came from Broken Arrow Wear. The local printing company had already produced some of the 2013 Iowa State Fair shirts the Blue Ribbon Foundation was selling.

The idea quickly developed into a design and shirts were printed. Those shirts sold-out almost immediately. The demand was high with entire families buying multiple shirts at one time. One simple t-shirt generated $100,000 for improvements to the historic Fairgrounds. This is a perfect example to show how people are passionate about THEIR Iowa State Fair. 

Fast forward to today. Merchandise sales have helped the Blue Ribbon Foundation raise a total $165 million for renovations over the last 27 years. The Blue Ribbon Foundation wants Fairgoers to show us their creative ideas. During the month of April – we are hosting a t-shirt contest

To enter, send us your t-shirt design by May 1. A selection committee will choose the top five designs. Those designs will be posted on the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation’s website and Facebook page with voting via Facebook “like” or online via our website. Voting will be open from May 11-18. The winner will be announced on May 19. The top three vote-getters will receive an Iowa State Fair prize package.

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