The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation received a generous $1 million contribution from Alliant Energy to build a new shelter on the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds in 2022.
The new structure replaced the 23-year-old picnic shelter just east of the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion. The project doubled the former space as well as provided accessibility in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The surrounding area received modern upgrades to improve the functionality of the space and provide a safe location for family and business events during the Fair and throughout the year.
The open-air facility includes craftsman style columns, higher ceilings with fans, two paved ADA-compliant accessibility points, LED lighting, asphalt shingles and expanded landscaping. New paving around the structure eliminated some of the last gravel on the lower Fairgrounds.
The facility is the only publicly available rental space during the Iowa State Fair. Shows like the World Pork Expo, Good Guys Car Show and National Junior High Rodeo as well as political events, weddings, receptions and corporate retreats use the modernized facility.
The Blue Ribbon Foundation also recevied donations from Insight Wealth Group and Prairie Meadows for updated cocktail tables and chairs for the new space.
Alliant Energy gave another charitable contribution in 2023 to add unique artwork to the Alliant Energy Landing. An original mural now graces the concrete retaining wall and was created by local Des Moines artist, James Navarro. Composed of individual panels, they feature different vignettes celebrating what makes Iowa special. The artwork showcases farmland, wind and solar energy, raising livestock and agriculture education by highlighting 4-H and FFA.