It’s a Journey, not a Destination

January 17, 2018

The Patty & Jim Cownie Cultural Center renovation, Oman Family Youth Inn updates, creation of the MidAmerican Energy Stage, development of Ruan Plaza, midway overhaul, building of Jacobson Plaza, construction of a new admission gate and countless other smaller projects. This impressive list of Iowa State Fairgrounds improvements has been completed since I became a full time staff member with the Blue Ribbon Foundation – just shy of 5 years. 

As I approach my fifth year as the Communications Manager, I reflect on Fairgrounds enhancements in a short period of time and my experience as a member of the team helping make those “wish list” items a reality.

I’ve grown professionally by learning from coworkers and leaders in the industry. It is a responsibility to plan, organize and execute a beloved tradition as the Iowa State Fair. Staff takes this responsibility seriously and works extremely hard to provide the best to attendees. I value what I’ve learned from fellow staff, donors and volunteers within our organization and take pride in the accomplishments.

The Iowa State Fair began in 1854 and the Blue Ribbon Foundation was created in 1993.  In the grand scheme of things – 5 years isn’t that long. Maybe you have donated since the very beginning or maybe you’ve just recently made a contribution. In my short time with the Foundation, I’ve gained a better understanding of why people choose to donate. 

Attending the Iowa State Fair is a tradition for families across the state. For some, it’s an annual get together with friends. For others, it’s the opportunity to showcase a ribbon worthy pie or exhibit Grand Champion livestock.  The Iowa State Fair is a celebration, a salute to the state’s best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement. Iowans want to see this tradition grow and last a lifetime. Donors quickly realize that the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s mission is just that - renovating and improving the Fairgrounds to for future generations.

As work continues on current projects like the expansion of Grandstand seating to accommodate the new Kum & Go stage, staff also conducts need assessments and creates action plans for future developments. The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s goal to preserve the Fairgrounds is a journey, not a destination. Even with the last 25 years of success, our organization strives to make the Fairgrounds better.

The Iowa State Fair is part of so many Iowan’s lives and summer adventures. It is the type of event that will outlast all of us. You are invited to join the Blue Ribbon Foundation on the ongoing journey to provide top notch facilities for an unequaled and unduplicated celebration, the Iowa State Fair.

Old Construction Pictures: