2019 Iowa State Fair – Top 11

September 5, 2019
drewnorton's picture

In no particular order, listed are 11 highlights from the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s 2019 Iowa State Fair.

1. Socks: The hottest merchandise item was the Butter Cow Socks. We sold out of the adorable socks during the Fair - that’s 1,200 pairs of socks! We can’t wait to see folks rocking these sock throughout the year. Don’t worry, we still have the fun Corndog socks available. Check out the online State Fair Store to pick up your Iowa State Fair souvenir.

2. Iowan of the Day: Honoring 10 Iowans across the state is always a highlight. Congratulations again to the 2019 Iowan of the Day winners. Thank you for helping make Iowa a better place to live. The Blue Ribbon Foundation was honored to celebrate each of you during the Fair.

Jody Reynolds, Des Moines
Carol Jebens, Delhi
Buffi Honeck, State Center
Aaron Van Beek, Sioux Center
Kelsey Bumsted, Solon
Warren Van Dyke, Greene
Richard McClure, Sidney
Pat and Nancy Corkrean, Winterset
Vicki Lage, Perry
Mary (Kimberly) Rueter, DeWitt

A special thank you to our sponsor, Cookies Food Products, and the Des Moines Marriott Downtown for making the program possible. Nominate an outstanding volunteer from your community as Iowan of the Day for the 2020 Iowa State Fair.


3. Water Sales: Volunteers sold $2 bottles water at 8 stands across the Fairgrounds. The first Saturday of the Fair must have been extra hot because water sales totaled $20,000!


4. Interns: During the Fair, our interns are in charge of their specific projects. They each have tasks that keep them busy from 7:30 am until 10 pm. In between the chaos, the interns are able to enjoy some special activities. This year, all four interns participated in the Outhouse Races. We’d never seen them move so fast to earn a 4th place finish!


5. BINGO: The second annual Blue Ribbon BINGO was a success! With $1 playing cards per game and the lucky winner receiving half the amount collected - it was a fun day for all ages. A total of 3,005 people played 73 games of BINGO. The Blue Ribbon Foundation raised $2,381. Thank you to the Better Business Bureau for sponsoring the day of BINGO. 


6. 4-H Building Renovation: With the help of the Governor of Iowa and the Iowa State Fair Board, the Blue Ribbon Foundation announced the 4-H Building renovation plans. The Foundation received the single-largest individual gift in the organization’s history, a $10 million donation from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation. Six million will be used to renovate the 4-H Building, while $4 million will support the Foundation’s endowment, Our Fair’s Future. With plans in motion, the building will be renovated from top to bottom with new lighting and floors, updated kitchen facilities, restrooms, and additional classroom space.


7. Painting Class: A total of 212 Fairgoers participated in the Blue Ribbon Foundation's Painting Class fundraiser. With $7,420 raised, all proceeds from the painting class are dedicated to Our Fair’s Future, the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s endowment fund. A special thank you to Messy Missy's Art Studio in Marshalltown for leading the classes.

8. Engraved Bricks: Staff help several donors find engraved bricks. Did you know there are 15 different brick pad locations? Engraved bricks are a wonderful way to celebrate a loved one or commemorate your time spent at the Iowa State Fair. Bricks are placed twice a year. The fall deadline is September 15. Donate for your engraved online

9. Woodcarver’s Auction: The 2019 auction raised a record $65,300! A special thank you to Chainsaw Artists - Gary Keenan, T.J. Jenkins and Klint Kenik for producing outstanding pieces of art. The Foundation also auctioned off the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion Ham, Bacon and Dried Beef in addition to the 2019 concrete elephant statue - Baby Mine. Mark your calendar to join the Foundation for next year's Woodcarver's Auction on the last day of the 2020 Iowa State Fair, August 23, in the John and Emily Putney Family Cattle Barn’s Penningroth Media Center.


10. Volunteers: Thank you to the 654 people that filled 1,407 volunteer shifts during the 11-day Fair. We couldn't have a successful event without your support. Thank you for helping with merchandise, selling bottled water, assisting with the painting class, BINGO…and the list goes on and on. Blue Ribbon Foundation volunteers are truly some of the best Fairgoers. Thank you!

11. Staff: Cheers to our hard working staff! We were able to snap a quick photo of the full-time staff with the interns. It is rare that we are all at the same place at the same time. Divide and conquer is a motto we follow. 


With gorgeous August weather, outstanding entertainment and exhibits – it’s no surprise the Iowa State Fair had record breaking attendance. Among that million visitors, there is a group of donors that support the Foundation’s mission and help keep the Iowa State Fairgrounds in top-notch condition for the next generation. Thank you - truly “Nothing Compares” to the great Iowa State Fair.