Spring Newsletter: 2020, 2010, 2000

April 16, 2020
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The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s quarterly newsletter hit mailboxes this week. Checkout what is happening now and what our organization was doing 10 and 20 years ago.

What is happening at the Blue Ribbon Foundation?
Meg Courter, Iowa State Fair Sponsorship Director, shares her insight on the importance of continuing education when it comes to the Fair industry. “Staff invest in these learning opportunities because the Fairgoer is top of mind every time we consider an attraction, break ground on a brand new exhibition center or renovate a historic building on the grounds. It’s the Fairgoer experience that matters - be it participating in a time-honored tradition, or trying something new.”

Back in February, the Foundation hosted the second annual Halfway to the Fair Happy Hour Fundraiser. The event raised $20,370 for improvement projects. Thank you to the event sponsors and attendees that helped make the night possible. Just remember for next year, the happy hour event really is the perfect way to eat your favorite summertime Fair food in the middle of winter.

The Blue Ribbon Foundation has been selling merchandise items as a fundraiser for many years. This year, we need your help. Send us your creative Iowa State Fair T-Shirt ideas for the first ever T-Shirt Contest. The public will vote for the best and prize packages will be awarded to the top designs. Your T-Shirt could be sold during the Iowa State Fair!

This newsletter edition shares information about a new membership program, the T.A.G. Team. This group of donors are supporting the renovation of the Livestock Pavilion restrooms. We currently have filled 54 of the 100 available spots.  Join today because Together, we can Accomplish our Goals.


What was the Blue Ribbon Foundation doing 10 years ago?
In 2010, construction was almost complete on the brand new Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center. This incredible addition to the Fairgrounds has allowed for so many more events to be held during the Fair and throughout the year. Thanks to another generous contribution from Mr. Jacobson, the  4-H Building renovation will continue this spring and be finished this summer.

An Iowa State Fair Cookbook with winning recipes from the famous food department was for sale in 2010. For Fair fans that collect the books, this was the 15th in the series. Fast forward 10 years, and the 20th edition cookbook will be available this year for State Fair foodies.

Three interns were getting ready to join the Foundation staff for the summer. Interns are critical to the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s operations. Each intern takes on a project and becomes part of the team, helping our organization continue to be successful. We will have four college students join us this summer.

Even 10 years ago, the Blue Ribbon Foundation was recruiting volunteers to help at our events. Every year it seems like we need more and more volunteers to keep our organization going. The summer intern will start reaching out to volunteers in June with the online sign-up for the Corndog Kickoff and Iowa State Fair.


What was the Blue Ribbon Foundation doing 20 years ago?
In 2000, the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation released a History Book filled with 146 years of memories, traditions and historical information about the Iowa State Fair.  The book has photos, stories and celebrates the one-of-a-kind event. There are still a few copies left and available for sale in the State Fair Store.

Staff asked donors to provide their email address for a new database. With plans to bring communication into the 21st century, the Blue Ribbon Foundation created an email newsletter campaign to keep supporters up-to-date. (This is still relevant 20 years later. If you want to receive our monthly ENews, send your email to Info@BlueRibbonFoundation.org and we will add you to the list.)

With the support of Cookies Food Products, the Blue Ribbon Foundation promoted the Iowan of the Day program. People across the state were encouraged to nominate the volunteers in their communities to receive a special day at the Iowa State Fair and highlight the positivity in our state. Nominations are currently being accepted for this year’s program.

The 4th annual Corndog Kickoff was scheduled to be held in Pioneer Hall. There is no doubt staff were busy organizing live and silent auction items to display at the event.  From Fair food, Sky Glider rides and fireworks – the Corndog Kickoff has only grown and gotten better in 20 years. Check out our website for details about becoming a Patron or giving to the Auction


To shape your future, you need to understand your past. The Blue Ribbon Foundation thanks the donors that helped shape our organization 10 and 20 years ago. We look forward to growing with our current and future supporters.