2017 Fair Recap: August 14, 15 & 16

September 12, 2017
drewnorton's picture

With the first weekend of the Iowa State Fair behind us - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are nice slower days for the Blue Ribbon Foundation staff. My routine of checking on volunteers working the Fair Square stand, merchandise and water booths is under control. During these three days, there are several little activities the Foundation participates in.

On Monday, the Foundation led the Kids Club Activity on the Fun Forest Stage. Kennedy, Donor Relations Intern, read the story “Bells Goes to the Fair” by Susan Knapp. The story gives a tour of the Iowa State Fair, through the adventures of Bells the dog. After the story, the kids did a scavenger hunt. Each year on August 14, the entire Blue Ribbon Foundation staff helps celebrate BRF Assistant Director Robin's son Alex. (Yes, a birthday during the Iowa State Fair calls for candles in an ice cream cone from the Old Fashion Ice Cream Parlor!)

On Tuesday, our most “skilled” donors participated in the Outhouse Races. The Foundation came in 5th place (#1 in our hearts) in the event this year. The squad missed out on the second round by 2 seconds! Thank you to our sponsor, Stivers Ford, for building a new Outhouse – the squatty potty did a wonderful job and looked great.

On Wednesday, the Blue Ribbon Foundation held 2 of the 22 social painting classes. Under the direction of Missy Pieters of Messy Missy’s Painting Studio & Gallery in Marshalltown, Fairgoers painted their own personal canvas or barn board with Iowa State Fair inspired art. With 418 participants throughout the 11 days, Fairgoers showed off their talents while supporting the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s mission. All proceeds from the painting class are dedicated to Our Fair’s Future, the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s endowment fund.

The Foundation honored 3 more Iowan of the Day winners – Patricia Nelson of Winterset, Mary Doak of Grundy Center, and Marty Braster of Centerville.

Pat Nelson played an important role in creating a festival to celebrate the Bridges of Madison County and led the first ever Covered Bridge Festival in 1970. Since then she has continued to donate her time to help prepare for the annual event. Pat also coordinated weddings to take place on the bridges. Pat enjoys sharing her musical abilities with her community. In the 1970’s she put together a community theatre, known as the Apple Tree Players and played as the lead role in a few of the performances. She volunteers her time to her church, singing in the choir and as a soloist, as well as singing for various events within Winterset. Pat also began the Women’s Giving Circle, a group of women who donate money each month to local charities to serve the women and children of Madison County.

The hours Mary Doak spent researching Grundy Center’s history to put together a presentation demonstrating why her town was deserving of a new Main Street is well known in Grundy Center. Along with establishing Main Street Grundy Center, Mary also established the Grundy Center Preservation Commission, the Grundy Family YMCA and the Grundy Center Historical Society. Much of her time spent with the Grundy Center Historical Society was to restore the one-room school house. She has also spent time with children in the local elementary school and assisted with the local museum. Mary began several community events, including the “Magical Forest,” and the Felix Grundy Festival.

Marty Braster’s education in biology and agronomy has led him to opportunities that benefit the entire state of Iowa, as he is leading projects to improve water and soil quality. Not only does Marty develop new soil conservation methods to improve Iowa’s water resources, but he has also volunteered his time in Puerto Rico with the United State Peace Corps improving their conservation methods.  Marty played a significant role in developing the Loess Scenic Byway and the Chariton Valley Switch Grass Project. Marty also enjoys volunteering his time to youth in his community. Marty played an instrumental role in creating a community soccer club that children of all ages could enjoy.

With a little more time and less running around, I found  some delicious Fair food to eat.  I tried the new Apple Taco and also ate a few of my favorites – pork chop on a stick, Chuckies tenderloin, wood oven pizza and a turkey taco. I already miss the yummy Fair food! Stay tuned for more 2017 Iowa State Fair highlights.


Celebrating Alex's birthday at the State Fair:


2017 Outhouse Races:



Painting Class:


Iowan of the Day - Pat Nelson:


Iowan of the Day - Mary Doak:


Iowan of the Day - Marty Braster: