2023 Iowa State Fair Highlights

September 20, 2023
drewnorton's picture

2023 Iowa State Fair Highlights:

Here are just a few special highlights from the 2023 Iowa State Fair! 

  • The Blue Ribbon Foundation hopes you noticed several new improvements to the Fairgrounds.  The Public Safety building expanded with a 2-story addition and renovations of the existing space will start this fall. The Fairview Tap’s fresh landscape and extended seating was enjoyed by Fairgoers. While the Elwell Family Park’s permanent restrooms were a much needed enhancement to the event space.  

  • The first phase of the livestock barns renovation project is underway! Starting in the Sheep Barn, new air conditioned restrooms were added and underground sanitary water systems upgraded. Join the fundraising by supporting the Back the Barns campaign.

  • The Blue Ribbon Foundation sold $503,000 worth of merchandise during the Iowa State Fair. Top selling items were t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, charms and the Butter Cow stuffed animal. (Merchandise is still available in the online State Fair Store.) More than 105,000 bottles of water were sold! Both of these fundraisers wouldn’t be possible with the help of our outstanding volunteers. 

  • In 2022, the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation received a generous $1 million contribution from Alliant Energy to build a new shelter house. The Alliant Energy Landing hosted different events throughout the year. For 2023, Alliant Energy sponsored a mural. The mural is on the Alliant Energy Landing’s retaining wall and was created by local artist, James Navarro. Focusing on agriculture education, several panels line the wall with different vignettes. Thank you so much to James Navarro for bringing his creativity to the Fairgrounds and to Alliant Energy for supporting the Fairground's improvements.

  • Thank you to the Iowa Auctioneers Association for graciously donating the profits from their showcase during the Fair. Auctioneers from across the Midwest showed off their selling skills resulting in a $3,000 donation to the Blue Ribbon Foundation. 

  • Tracy Forbes volunteers in the Blue Ribbon Foundation office every day during the Iowa State Fair (and weekly throughout the year). She goes the extra step to help everyone she can. From answering questions to helping with whatever our staff needs, Tracy deserves all of the praise! She was one of the 2023 Iowa State Fair Everyday Impact Award winners. 

  • Thank you to the late Tim Mallicoat - Concrete Supply Inc., Sonny Hall - Absolute Group and the Iowa Concrete Paving Association for their generosity in donating and facilitating the paved surface at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent. Fairgoers appreciated the update, especially during the rainy day. 

  • The Blue Ribbon Foundation held the annual all-day BINGO fundraiser on the Grand Concourse. A total of 3,838 people played in 84 games of BINGO helping the Blue Ribbon Foundation raise $3,497. 

  • The Woodcarvers' Auction raised $66,609. All proceeds from the auction are dedicated to Our Fair’s Future, the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s endowment fund. A special thank you to Chainsaw Artists - Gary Keenan, T.J. Jenkins and Clint Henik for producing such outstanding pieces of art.  

  • A special thank you to the 2023 Interns - Regan, Faith and Macy! We sure appreciated your hard work all summer long. Check out the 2024 Internship Opportunities.