Fall Newsletter: 1997, 2007 and 2017

October 17, 2017
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As the fall newsletter hits mailboxes, here is a brief flashback to what the Blue Ribbon Foundation was doing 10 and 20 years ago.

In the fall of 1997, the Blue Ribbon Foundation had plenty of reasons to celebrate at the Iowa State Fair. The Administration Building was remodeled, the Grandstand received a face-lift, new murals were painted in Ye Old Mill, pavement work was completed in the campgrounds and brick restoration was finished on the Horse Barn. The Family Center was renamed the Maytag Family Center because of a generous $100,000 donation from Maytag.

During the Iowa State Fair, $41,000 was raised with water and merchandise sales. The newsletter thanked the 100 volunteers that helped the Foundation that summer. The first set of Iowan of the Day winners were honored on the Riley Stage. The popular merchandise items available for sale included: lapel pins, a pie plate, denim shirt, trivets, a tile series and a poster.

The newsletter also highlighted the first Corndog Kickoff’s success raising $80,000. Central Iowa Power Cooperative, CIPCO, was featured as the Donor Profile because of their in-kind contributions and participation in the Governor’s Charity Steer Show. It was a busy fall for the Blue Ribbon Foundation!

In the fall 2007 newsletter - Bridget Anderson, Special Program Manager, compares the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s work to running a race. “Just like a road race, rebuilding the Fairgrounds takes dedication, determination and a great deal of thought. The Blue Ribbon Foundation is in a constant race to refurbish the historic buildings on the Fairgrounds and create the best state fair in the nation.”

A recap of the 11th Corndog Kickoff was outlined. The “Setting Up Camp” themed event raised $255,920. Also featured in the newsletter was the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center that opened in time for the 2007 State Fair. The birthing center was made possible because of a donation of $750,000 from Bill Knapp in honor of his brother. Ten amazing Iowans were honored as Iowan of the Day winners. The Blue Ribbon Foundation raised $300,000 selling water and merchandise during the Fair with the help of 400 volunteers.

Gary and Cindy Cheney were featured in the Donor Profile.  As members of the 1854 Society, volunteers with the Fair and the Corndog Kickoff – Gary and Cindy are still involved with the Blue Ribbon Foundation.

In this year’s fall newsletter - Peter Cownie, Foundation Executive Director, expresses his gratitude for Iowans across the state. The Iowa State Fair was truly a celebration of all things Iowa. “Iowa, your unwavering support and investment have allowed us to become the state’s marquee annual event and on behalf of our guests, exhibitors and volunteers, thank you.”

The newsletter highlights the Foundation’s successful Iowa State Fair by sharing information about the social painting class that raised $9,700 and the Woodcarver’s Auction that raised $49,150. Iowan of the Day winners were honored at the Fair and their biographies are listed in the newsletter. The number of volunteers that give their time to the Foundation during August has increased to more than 500 and water/merchandise sales have grown to more than $500,000.

The annual Corndog Kickoff has grown tremendously in the last 20 years. The “What A Ride” themed event celebrated the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s 25th anniversary as an organization and raised $553,000. Featured merchandise has also changed over the years. Be sure to check out the online State Fair Store to purchase the perfect gift for the Fairgoer in your life.

The newsletter highlights the Foundation’s internship program and the Donor Profile, Larry Fleck & Son Trucking. The entire Fleck family’s love of the Iowa State Fair and support of the Blue Ribbon Foundation is one-of-a-kind. They have a special connection to the Fairgrounds that continues to grow.

Programs have grown, new projects have developed and things have changed over the years. The loyalty of Blue Ribbon Foundation donors and volunteers continues to grow. Thank you for your support!