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 $128 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.

Sunny Days on the Horizon

April 7, 2016
Highs in the low 70’s and a beautiful forecast for the rest of the week, the Masters in Augusta, Georgia has me looking forward to warmer weather and more sunny days here in Iowa.  I am also reminded of the beautiful sunny days of the golf season as more and more golf courses send in donations for the Corndog Kickoff. Along with many golf courses sending in donations, we have some great handmade works of art and some good promotion of the featured auction items for this year’s live auction happening this week. 
Another thing happening this week is our 2nd auction committee meeting. I appreciate the opportunity to work with some of our most committed volunteers, and to see the lasting impact that they have on the Blue Ribbon Foundation. An easy way to show your lasting impact on the Blue Ribbon Foundation and the Iowa State Fair is by choosing to “check off” to the Corndog Checkoff on your tax return. You can designate how much of your return will go to the Iowa State Fair renovation efforts on line 57b of the Iowa 1040 Tax Return Form or on the last questions while filing online. 
To find out more about the Corndog Checkoff and to see our promotional items for the checkoff please visit out Corndog Checkoff page. To find out more about the 2016 Corndog Kickoff and Fair Food Grazing Party, please visit our Corndog Kickoff page. If you have any questions about anything I have mentioned, or any of the giving programs, please refer to our contact form. 

Iowa State Fair themed golf balls

Busy bee

April 5, 2016

This weekend’s beautiful weather has changed back to cold and gloomy days and after 12 weeks of staying healthy this semester, alas, I have caught a cold.

Despite a runny nose I have been staying busy at the Blue Ribbon Foundation. April will be a busy month as I start sending out media kits and have a lot of designing, writing and contact list updating ahead of me for Iowan of the Day. Today marks my third week in the office and if time doesn’t slow down, the Corndog Kickoff will be here before we know it! Until then, I still have finals and two brother’s graduations.

In the meantime, if you find yourself with some spare time, I strongly encourage you to check out Willow Pottery’s Facebook page! They are making the State Fair pottery for the Blue Ribbon Foundation this year and have some super cool time lapse videos of their work on their page.

The Iowa State Fair also keeps announcing their concerts this summer with some awesome acts including Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley and Jason Derulo. If you’re a member of Fan Fair, you can take advantage of ordering tickets earlier than the general public. Simply donate $150 to the Fan Fair program to be eligible!

With four more weeks of the semester, I’m becoming more and more excited for summer and becoming full time at the Blue Ribbon Foundation. But hey, time flies when you’re having fun!


Looking Forward

April 1, 2016
Yesterday marked the last day to place orders for bricks, trees, lampposts, pavers and for most of our giving programs. There were many eager folks trying to get their orders in before the deadline. That gave me the opportunity to get to know more of our constituents and to hear about the passion that Iowans have for the Iowa State Fair. If you missed the deadline for the giving programs, there are other ways to show your appreciation of the Fair and the Blue Ribbon Foundation.
In early July, the Foundation will host the 20th Annual Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction. This benefit is one of our most popular events, attracting people from all over the nation. This year’s auction will have a wide variety of items and packages in both the silent and live auctions. With admission, you can also experience some of your favorite Fair-time activities a few weeks early! Please feel free to call the office or visit our auction page to find out more information. 
Another great way to show your support for the Blue Ribbon Foundation is by participating in The Principal Charity Classic’s “Birdies for Charity” fundraiser. This year, the Foundation is partnering with the Classic to raise funds to help preserve and improve the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Every dollar allocated to the Blue Ribbon Foundation will receive a 10% match, to further the impact of the fundraiser. To find out more information about this partnership and how to donate to the “Birdies for Charity” fundraiser, please visit The Principal Charity Classic website
If you have any questions or comments about any of the topics discussed above, please feel free to contact us through our contact form or by calling the Foundation office.
Some of your favorite Iowa State Fair pastimes.

Learning the Ropes

March 29, 2016

 Today marks my second week in the office and I’m beginning to get in the swing of things. After reviewing previous intern’s summer materials, I realize I have a hefty work load in front of me and I’m ready to start crossing things off my list.

My desk at the Blue Ribbon FoundationBeing the public relations intern, I’m beginning to get the feel of the language the Blue Ribbon Foundation uses and have already conducted my first interview. Before I come up with a theme for my media kits to send out this summer, I have to update the mailing lists, which I have found to be the most time consuming part of my job.

No complaining here however, as this has been truly eye opening to how informed we are as Americans. Freedom of press is a wonderful thing.

Throughout this all I have been getting to know my coworkers, which has been my favorite part! I’m surrounded by people who are as passionate about the mission of the Blue Ribbon Foundation as myself and I look forward to this summer when I start working full time.

The visitors that come to the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s office is another aspect I look forward to, it breaks up the day and I enjoy the mix of personalities that come in. It’s interesting to see how the Iowa State Fair has positively influenced so many people.

Speaking of, it’s only 134 days until the Iowa State Fair and 101 days until the Corndog Kickoff, but hey, who’s counting?


Intern Update

March 25, 2016
With all eyes on Chicago patiently waiting for the big game to tip off tonight, we are having a quiet day at the office. On the other hand, this week has been very busy. We have had the newest intern start, have had several mass mailings in gearing up for the Corndog Kickoff and many auction items coming in. I can’t give you all the details, but this year’s “Locally Grown” theme will showcase Iowa made products and is sure to create lasting memories for everyone in attendance. 
As we get ready for the second auction committee meeting in early April, I can see how much work and passion is put into making the Corndog Kickoff possible. Seeing the hard work and dedication that the staff and our many volunteers have, helps make the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation a success. 
We are currently accepting patron forms for the 20th Annual Corndog Kickoff as well. If you would like to attend the Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Fair Food Grazing Party, please find our electronic and printable patron form at our Patrons page. I look forward to seeing all of you in a few months at what is expected to be our best Corndog Kickoff yet. 
If you have not found a program to participate in, there is still plenty of time before the March 31st deadline. Please find more information about all of the Foundation giving programs on our Ways to Give page.  The Foundation has many opportunities to show your support for the renovation and preservation efforts that help make the Iowa State Fair something that will stand the test of time!
A few photos from past years to build excitement about this year's Corndog Kickoff!

Blue Ribbon Foundation Welcomes 2016 Public Relations Intern

March 22, 2016

Hello, I'm Audra Kincart!

Growing up on a farm in southern Iowa, I am ecstatic to be serving this summer as the public relations intern for the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation. From humble beginnings of gathering eggs and trotting through muddy cow lots, my days have transformed to late nights in the library and Cyclone basketball.

Having 12 members of my family pave the way before me, I bleed cardinal and gold and decided to attend Iowa State University. Through my love of reading I answered my calling to enter the wonderful world of communications and am a journalism major with minors in biology and agriculture business.

The Iowa State Fair holds a special place in my heart. I have been attending the Iowa State Fair since the third grade and have fond memories of sharing pork chops on a stick with my father and showing chickens. Framed above my bed is a caricature of me drawn at the state fair when I was nine years old and my high school graduation party included a compilation of all of the caricatures drawn since.

This summer I will be working on selecting the Iowan of the Day for all ten days of the fair as well as helping execute the Corndog Kickoff and the Woodcarver’s Auction during the fair. My first day in the office brought with it an overview of what this summer is to bring and I’m so excited to hit the ground running. The Iowa State Fair has given so much to me and I am so excited to be giving back to the fair.


Collecting Brackets, Auction Items and Returns

March 17, 2016
As the staff here at the Blue Ribbon Foundation is supporting their favorite teams during the tip off of the NCAA Tournament, we are busy gearing up for some big things coming up. St. Patrick’s Day and the days leading up to today have been full of collecting donations for the Corndog Kickoff and finalizing brackets. This morning I was rushing to predict the big upsets and the putting the final touches on my bracket. Of course, I have the University of Northern Iowa winning it all. I am always hopeful to have my school win the tournament. 
Over the last few days I have been receiving emails and phone calls from breweries, golf courses, patrons interested in the poker table and hunting outfitters interested in attending the Kickoff. It seems like there will be some great competition for our auction packages at this year’s Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction. Not only will you have the opportunity to bid on some great new auction packages, but you’ll also have the opportunity to try some of your favorite Fair foods and activities at the Corndog Kickoff! 
I think we are finally snow free here in Des Moines. Well, I hope so; I put my snow plow away and hung up my parka. Entering spring means many things; we are seeing the flowers bloom, the green coming back and realizing our taxes are due soon! I have not done my taxes yet and keep seeing the dates go by, getting closer and closer to the April 15th deadline. If you’re like me, and haven’t done your taxes, please remember to show your support for the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation by donating some of your tax return to the renovation efforts made possible by the Corndog Checkoff. Your donation goes a long way, supporting many great things throughout the Fairgrounds. To find out more information about any of the things I have mentioned, please visit our website
Just a few things we will get to see very soon! 

Intern Update

March 10, 2016
Half way through my last semester of college finds me in my eighth week of my internship. This last week has been full of Corndog Kickoff preparation and laying the ground work for the water program for the 2016 Iowa State Fair. I had my first Auction Committee meeting late last week and I got to meet some great volunteers! They were all very excited about the theme and the things to come at this year’s Corndog Kickoff. Those Auction Committee members are just a few of the great volunteers and supporters that will make the 20th annual Corndog Kickoff one to remember!
I have been busy sending out initial emails to secure some great auction packages for this year. We have in the works a handmade replica of Harry Truman’s poker table that is sure to attract an avid poker player or two. We also have a rare 2016-17, and 2017-18 Iowa non-resident deer tag in our live auction. I have had the opportunity to explore avenues for patrons and donors to build a package around that as well. We are busy creating golfing and brewery tour packages throughout the state too. 
As you may know, I have a vested interest in the continuation and success of the water program that the Foundation hosts. This year, I am able to get more involved in the ground work of the program. I have gone from a water crew member to an intern with a main project of organizing the pre-fair duties of the program. Overall, I am excited to see how the auction packages will pan out and I am greatly looking forward to the 2016 Iowa State Fair!
Live action at the 2015 Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Fair Food Grazing Party

Tax Season is Upon Us

March 3, 2016
It’s never too early to start thinking about giant tenderloins and deep fried candy bars. The 2016 Iowa State Fair is only 160 days away! Maybe you are preparing to show livestock, dusting off your tap shoes or in the kitchen trying new recipes for an award winning pie. Yes, adults are just as excited as children for the spectacular August event. Your kids will have the opportunity to learn about Iowa’s agricultural, be entertained on any of the free stages, and maybe ride the ever so popular Sky Glider. This year, you can express your love for the Fair by making a donation on your Iowa Tax Return to support the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s efforts to renovate and preserve the Iowa State Fairgrounds. 
The Corndog Checkoff is a simple way to support the Iowa State Fair renovation efforts. Every dollar donated to the Corndog Checkoff is directly allocated to capital improvements. The program has supplemented renovation projects including the Youth Inn and Ruan Plaza. In addition, the funds generated by the Checkoff have helped improve the campgrounds, parking areas, sidewalks and restrooms. 
The Corndog Checkoff, officially named State Fair, can be found on line 57b of Iowa Tax Form 1040. It’s easy to checkoff a donation to help preserve the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. Please feel free to contact Marcus with any questions or comments in regards to the Corndog Checkoff. 
This is Iowa Tax Form 1040, highlighted is line 57b. 
Youth Inn, mid renovation
Various Stages of Ruan Plaza renovation

Become a Member

February 25, 2016
There are many ways to support the renovation efforts that the Blue Ribbon Foundation undertakes each year for the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. Show your support for the Foundation by becoming a member in some of our exclusive programs. These membership opportunities include Jake’s Club, Fan Fair and the 1854 Society. 
Jake’s Club is a members-only VIP area hosted by the Foundation in the club level of the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center during the 2016 Iowa State Fair. Included in this membership, is exclusive access to the Jake’s Club area for two and admission to all of the evening shows in the Jacobson Center.  With the membership, you have the option to purchase guest passes. Download a membership brochure to join or renew Jake’s Club online
The Fan Fair membership program provides easy access to exclusive Grandstand concert tickets presales. Donate online or mail your 2016 Fan Fair donation form to the Foundation to participate. 
To celebrate the 150th year of the Iowa State Fair, the Blue Ribbon Foundation created the 1854 Society. This membership program provides opportunities for the Richard L. Easter Museum Complex to preserve the original pieces and history of the Fair. With the membership, you will receive many great benefits. Some of these include, an engraved granite paver outside of the museum, admission tickets for two each day of the Fair, VIP parking and many more exclusive perks. To assure the preservation of the historic Fairgrounds, you can renew your membership to the 1854 Society each year. Please use our online order form or download our full brochure to participate or renew. 
These programs are just a few ways to show your love and support of the Fair throughout the year. With the memberships, you can see how your individual support can go a long way to preserve the historic Fairgrounds for generations to come. We currently have 138 members in the 1854 Society, and 67 members in Jake’s Club. Enroll today to gain exclusive access to these programs and contribute to the long lasting traditions of the Foundation. 
To receive more information on these membership programs or any of our fundraising efforts, please call us at 1-800-450-3732 or use our contact form