Blue Ribbon Blog

Welcome to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation’s blog!

We are a non-profit organization with a mission to raise funds for the renovation and preservation of the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. Since our inception in 1993, the Foundation has raised more than $135 million through individual contributions, state appropriations, in-kind services, and corporate, federal and state grants.

Please follow our blog to learn more about our organization.

My View...

February 10, 2010


Finally, a sunny day! The image I’ve included is the view from my desk. I have to admit, I really love my office and the view it affords me of our fairgrounds. When I’m stumped, need to collect my thoughts or just take a short break as I wrestle with numbers, I gaze out my window. I’m always amazed at the activity that I see going on, even without the Fair. For instance…
As I snapped this picture a maintenance truck was going by loaded with snow. With the Iowa Beef Expo starting next week, our maintenance department is trying to clear snow out of the barns area for all the cattle and trailer traffic. On several days next week, I’ll look out and see pickups and trailers parked along the road in front of our office.People walking their dogs or running. Yes, even on these cold days, I always see two or three people go by.
School buses – I’m assuming they are drivers in training. And speaking of drivers in training, many a “mean” parent has made a child stop and start a manual transmission car on the road in front of our office. I just hope that they don’t want them to practice parallel parking between my car and another!
Tactical units – one summer day I observed a tactical unit practice hostage rescue by storming the Cultural Center. And, when a presidential candidate visited, a Secret Service agent (fully armed) walked by to take up a position on our roof.
I know the Fair is about two months away when I see the golf carts go back and forth from the Cultural Center to Grand Avenue for the Pork Expo; a month away when our crews put up the tarps on the AE Dairy Stage and about two weeks away when Campbell’s moves in their Corn Dog stand.
And I get such pleasure in the simple act of watching the squirrels. On hot summer days, I’ll often see one taking a break by laying spreadeagle on the top board of the bench outside. And, now in this snow covered world, I’m amazed how they can seek out a nut they buried in the fall -though I have to admit it hasn’t been recently. (I’m just waiting to see a salted nutroll rather than an acorn get uncovered some day.)
The fairgrounds is always busy, no matter what time of the year and I feel lucky that I get to see it from such a neat vantage point. As I watch the seasons change out my window, I’m reminded again and again of what the Foundation is trying to accomplish and how worthwhile it is to preserve and improve such a treasured fairgrounds. As Allyson mentioned in her opening blog, we really hope you’ll be able to get a new appreciation of all that happens during the year and how much we value your support.

What do you love about the Fair?

February 5, 2010

Despite the snow and chilly temperatures, I can’t help but think of State Fair time! I love the Fair. From the people watching to all of the foods on a stick, each year I find something new to love.  

Even though the great Iowa State Fair is still a few months off, you can show your love for the Fair on your state tax returns. Now, I know the Fair and taxes aren’t necessarily things you would put together. But, when the Corndog Checkoff began sixteen years ago, the Fair was made a part of your tax-filing experience! Look for the State Fairgrounds Renovation Checkoff on line 58b on Iowa Tax form 1040 or line 14 on Iowa Tax form 1040A.  

Checkoff dollars go to support the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s efforts to continue to renovate, preserve and protect the Iowa State Fairgrounds. You don’t need to make a huge contribution, every dollar makes a difference! Last year, more than $72,000 were contributed through tax returns.

We all have things that we love about the Iowa State Fair. Let’s all do our part to make sure that the things that we love about the Fair will still be here for generations to come!

There are many things that I have to experience every year at the Fair. Tell me, what is one thing you have to make sure that you see every year, or your trip to the Fair won’t be complete?

This April, be thinking of those things as you fill out your tax returns!

Welcome to our blog!

January 27, 2010

Starting a blog for the Blue Ribbon Foundation is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. My sister started a blog when she moved to Hawaii a few years ago and people really seem to follow it – myself included. I later attended a local marketing workshop which included a session on blogging and decided to move forward. I let other business items push this back, so with the new year here in full force, I figured now was the perfect time.

I’m not big into New Year’s resolutions,  however, I like to set several goals for myself throughout the year, especially at work. Just yesterday I sat down and created a list of goals for my job as the communications manager; items I really wanted to accomplish this year at the Foundation. Most of them relate to delving into the world of technology and social media, and this blog is one of those items. More than that though, I thought it would be interesting for readers to know what we do here in the office on a weekly basis. Many ask what we do throughout the year and how we prepare for the Fair, so this is our attempt to bring you into our world, let you know what we do and introduce you to each of our personalities.

As many of you know, we publish a quarterly newsletter for our constituents. Each issue includes a front page editorial which we each take a turn writing. Well, in a way, this will be similar. We will rotate staff members as authors to the blog and will each keep you updated on a weekly basis what we’ve been up to. We also plan to write conversationally and use this as a casual form of communication with our followers. Some posts will be long, some short, some entertaining, and others a simple review of the week.

I am excited for this new form of communication with our supporters and hope to find some new followers along the way. Check back in and see what we’re up to…it should be eventful as we choose our summer interns (who will also be posting in the future) and conduct our first Corndog Kickoff planning meeting of 2010!