Hey Fair-lovers! My name is Billy Boyle, and I’m one of the three interns working for the Blue Ribbon Foundation this summer. In the fall I’ll be attending Central College as a senior with a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Business Management. I’m really excited to be working here this summer, because I love going to the Fair and now I’ll be here all eleven days!
I started last week, but I’ve already learned a lot, especially about the history of the Fairgrounds. For example, did you know that the Iowa State Fair once had a baby elephant? Her name was Baby Mine, and she first came to the Fair in 1929 where she lived inside the barn at Grandfather’s Farm. Or did you know that there used to be airplane shows in front of the Grandstand? Those stopped around mid-century after such wild shenanigans as when F.F. “Bowser” Frakes, a race-car driver posing as a pilot, crashed his WWI Jenny biplane into a house that had been constructed in front of the Grandstand just to be destroyed. Or how about that some houses in Des Moines contain lumber from the old wooden roller coaster that used to span the grass parking lot between University Ave and the Grandstand?
All in all, my first week has been great. I can’t wait for all the chaos of Fairtime to get here–the long days, the people, the shows and attractions. Slowly but surely, I’m learning the inside outs of putting together various events to raise money for the treasure that is the Iowa State Fair. Only 78 days and counting until the first day, when I can gorge on all that wonderful food! It will be a nice change from the leftovers I usually bring for lunch at the office.