2022 Iowa State Fair Recap: August 14, 15, 16

September 30, 2022
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The first Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of the Iowa State Fair slightly slow down for the Blue Ribbon Foundation. After the first weekend, staff are in a good routine - getting work accomplished and enjoying the great Iowa State Fair.

The 2022 Iowan of the Day winners were some of the most inspiring people in our state.

Doug Sienknecht – Gladbrook (August 14): Doug always finds time to help those in his community. He is active in his church serving as Board President, on the Buildings and Grounds Committee, organizes Vacation Bible School and led a group of young adults on a mission trip. Active in the Lincoln AMVETS and Auxiliary, Doug is the Chairman of the Avenue of Flags Committee and is a member of the Gladbrook American Legion. He volunteers to give veterans rides to doctor appointments. Doug has also volunteered at the Iowa State Fair selling water.

Emerson Bendickson - Panora (August 15): At age 6, Emerson noticed other students were not getting milk with their snack because extra milk wasn’t covered under the free/reduced meal plan. She took it upon herself to raise money to provide milk for her classmates that had to go without. Emerson collected pop cans and with the help of her parents, started a GoFundMe page. The Panora community supported Emerson’s project. She raised enough money to provide extra milk for the students in need for the rest of the school year.

Janet and Dave Ritchie – Knoxville (August 16): This hardworking duo has made a lasting impact on the individuals in their community. Janet has been a 4-H leader, member of the Daughters of Union Veterans, the Lions Club and Iowa State Rabbit Breeders Association. Dave is a Vietnam Veteran and member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3519 serving as the All-State Quarter Master. He has supported the county cemetery with maintenance and preservation. Janet and Dave are members of their church quilting group and have served on the Marion County Historical Society Board of Directors.

On the first Sunday of the Iowa State Fair, the Blue Ribbon Foundation hosts a brunch to celebrate some of our most loyal donors. This year’s event was held in the new Alliant Energy Landing!

The Alliant Energy Landing is located east of the Livestock Pavilion. This new structure doubled the size of the previous shelter house. The Alliant Energy Landing was used by the Blue Ribbon Foundation and was rented to other businesses to use all 11 days of the Iowa State Fair. It will continue to be rented this fall and next spring. Thank you to Alliant Energy for the $1 million donation that created this beautiful space that will be enjoyed by Fairgoers for future generations.

The Blue Ribbon Foundation sold official souvenirs in the State Fair Store located in the Robert and Sheri Avis Horner Service Center and five other locations across the Fairgrounds. Raising $513,812, Fairgoers bought their favorite t-shirts and collectibles to commemorate their visit to the Fair.

Fun Facts: The Foundation sold 1,724 stuffed animals not including the stuffed Butter Cows (810 of those)! We also sold 3,686 postcards. You can buy any leftover merchandise in the Online State Fair Store.

The Foundation does find time to incorporate some fun into the long working hours. Staff participated in the Outhouse Races. The group received a 1st place trophy for best costume with their “Bacon Memories” Iowa State Fair t-shirts. Cheers to Peter Cownie (BRF Executive Director) and Kenna Smith (Donor Relations Intern) for running down the Grand Concourse!

Kenna Smith was an incredible addition to our staff over the summer. She stayed busy organizing hospitality events and promoting the Corndog Kickoff, while providing key communications with current and potentially new donors. (She may or may not have also shoveled mulch like a trooper!) Thank you Kenna!

Stay tuned for more 2022 Iowa State Fair highlights.