By the Numbers

October 17, 2023
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The Blue Ribbon Foundation spends each fall reviewing what worked well and where we can continue to improve. We strive to grow each and every year.

 A few 2023 Iowa State Fair highlights and fun facts to share:

  • The Blue Ribbon Foundation sold Iowa State Fair souvenirs as a fundraiser.
    • Total merchandise revenue: $503,236
    • The first day of the Iowa State Fair was the largest sales day.
    • Top 5 items: t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, bee charm, butter cow plush
    • Sold 1409 - $5 magnets
    • Did you miss your ISF souvenir? Check out the online State Fair Store.

  • The Foundation also sold bottles of water at seven booths across the Fairgrounds.
    • Water booth sales were $107,336
    • That’s 4,411 cases of bottled water - 105,864 individual bottles of water handed over to Fairgoers.
    • On average, each of our seven stands sold 1,375 bottles per day.
  • Volunteers:
    • Volunteers staff the merchandise and water booths. They help with the golf cart shuttle, Jake’s Club Hospitality Suite and BINGO.
    • 2023 had a record number of volunteers with 668 Fairlovers giving their time. (589 in 2022)
    • Volunteers filled 1,321 shifts over the course of our 11 day Fair.
    • That’s 5,150 hours!
    • This year, about 70 new people jumped in to volunteer for the Blue Ribbon Foundation. Thank you!

  • Iowan of the Day:
    • These outstanding Iowans from across the state make their individual communities better places to live!
    • Honored 10 Iowans from across the state
    • Age range of honorees – 10 to 97 years old
    • It's never too early to nominate someone for next year. 

  • BINGO:
    • 84 games played
    • 3,838 Fairgoers participated
    • Raised $3,497
  • Woodcarvers’ Auction:
    • Raised: $66,609
    • The Bigfoot sold for $4,510!

Continuing to Grow:

  • Back the Barns:
    • 100 Donors have joined this new fundraising campaign.
    • That’s $300,000 toward improving the historic Cattle, Horse, Sheep and Swine Barns on the Fairgrounds.
    • Back the Barns” is a way for anyone with a passion for agriculture to support the renovation of the barns on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Providing youth with exceptional facilities in which to compete and showcase their hard work and skills every August is central to the Fair’s mission.
    • Members of the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s “Back the Barns” campaign are those generous donors who have pledged $1,000 per year for 3 years in support of the Iowa State Fair’s historic livestock barn restoration project.  And yep, you really do get a special belt buckle to celebrate your investment in our mission of preserving the Fairgrounds.  It’s a mutual support program – we’ll help hold up your pants; you help hold up our roof.

  • Capital Improvements:
    • Top 6 improvements from 2023:
      • Sheep Barn Phase I
      • Public Safety Building addition
      • Alliant Energy Landing mural
      • Agriculture Building east and north doors
      • Deets Museum Porch repairs
      • Iowa Craft Beer tent concrete floor
    • Crews have already started on new improvements this fall!

Thank you for supporting the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation. We are truly thankful that our numbers keep growing in the right direction. The Fair is a tradition any Iowan can be proud of, and the Blue Ribbon Foundation is dedicated to continuing that legacy. Join our Mission.