Wrapping up 2020, Looking Forward to 2021!

December 4, 2020
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Help the Blue Ribbon Foundation keep the stories of past Fair-lovers alive and ready for a grand future by participating in our “Big Challenges– Bigger Vision” fundraising campaign. Join your Fair story with ours in support of the Foundation’s mission to renovate and repair the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds.

All contributions are valuable and make an impact! Look at what 27 years of support has done already! Donations have helped with small projects like repairing sidewalks, adding air-conditioning or replacing a broken light fixture. These same donations have also helped support large-scale renovations and construction of new buildings such as the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center and the newly renovated Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits Building.

2020 Renovations:

  • Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits Building: The 4-H Building has been completely renovated. A portion of the south exterior wall was removed, creating space for a new kitchen facility, storage area and loading bays. An expansion to the west added classroom space, and the interior of the building was revitalized from top to bottom with new lighting, floors and updated restrooms. 
  • Cookie Kitchen: This brand new 4,800 sq. ft. building along Grand Avenue is the main facility for baking the world famous “Barksdale’s State Fair Cookies.” Fairgoers will be able to peek inside through large windows to see cookies baking and purchase a fresh cup or bucket.
  • Livestock Pavilion Restroom: The east restroom updates included tiling the walls, installing metallic epoxy flooring, replacing the toilet partitions, adding solid surface sinks, new counters and improving the electrical fixtures.
  • Reichardt Family Giant Slide: The beloved Giant Slide has moved. The new home for the slide is on the north side of the Walnut Center and west of the Snakes Alive and Railroad Building. This location provides expanded space for riders and spectators.

Upcoming Projects:

  • Pioneer Hall: Pioneer Hall was built in 1886 for the first Iowa State Fair at its permanent location. Of the 67 buildings constructed for that Fair, only Pioneer Hall remains. Routine maintenance is done on the historic structure to keep it functional. Future plans include replacing siding and windows on the west side of the building.
  • Agriculture Building: Originally constructed in 1904, the Agriculture Building was one of the first buildings resulting from the major effort to convert the Fairgrounds from wood frame to permanent buildings of brick and stone. Crews started reroofing an area of the building in 2018, completed a second section in 2019 and will finish the project in the next year.

Thank you to the following donors that are taking on the challenge and sharing our vision for the future! The Blue Ribbon Foundation will continue the “Big Challenges – Bigger Vision” fundraising campaign through the end of 2020. Please consider joining our mission. Donate Today -  Thank you!