August 1, 2023
The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and Cookies Food Products are pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the Iowan of the Day award at the 2023 Iowa State Fair.
The Iowan of the Day program was created by the Blue Ribbon Foundation in 1997 to honor outstanding Iowans who have made a difference across our great state. Among many nominations, our committee selected ten Iowans who have demonstrated exceptional integrity, Iowa pride, hard work, and dedication to their communities.
Each winner will have a special day of honor at the 2023 Iowa State Fair. Each day at noon on the Anne and Bill Riley Stage they will be recognized and presented as an Iowan of the Day. Along with accommodations at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown, each will receive a cash prize, Grandstand and Iowa State Fair admission tickets, use of the Iowan of the Day golf cart, and VIP parking on the Fairgrounds.
The 2023 Iowan of the Day recipients are:
Arilyan Steenblock of Panora – Thursday, August 10
LaVerne Quass of Ankeny – Friday, August 11
Nelda Bartels of Lytton – Saturday, August 12
John Keeney of Carlisle – Sunday, August 13
De Heaton of Corning– Monday, August 14
Emma Miller of Goodell – Tuesday, August 15
Ron Stutsman of Riverside– Wednesday, August 16
Arleen Starman of Burlington – Thursday, August 17
Bev Michael of Cedar Falls – Friday, August 18
Elsie Van Beek of Maurice – Saturday, August 19
Since its inception in 1993, the Blue Ribbon Foundation has been raising funds to renovate and restore the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. More than $200 million has been generated to date and has supported more than 40 projects throughout the Fairgrounds.
The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. For more information, please contact the Foundation at 515-262-3111, Info@BlueRibbonFoundation.org or visit www.BlueRibbonFoundation.org .
Macy Loecke-Public Relations Intern
July 19, 2023
It truly was a “night in paradise” at the William C. Knapp Varied Industries building on Saturday, July 8th. With over 2,500 people in attendance, the 2023 Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Fair Food Grazing Party made history, creating a new fundraising record of $1,006,590! 30 live and 273 silent auction packages were bid on at the event. These funds are used for the renovation and preservation of the beautiful Iowa State Fairgrounds.
As a first time Corndog Kickoff attendee, it was incredible to see the amount of people that are so passionate about the Iowa State Fair. I was able to take tickets at the entrance of the event; where I saw people’s faces beaming with excitement. I never once saw those smiles fade.
The Blue Ribbon Foundation wants to give the biggest thank you to everyone that made this year’s Corndog Kickoff a success! Volunteers, attendees, concessionaires, and many more help ensure the Fair will never lose its “shaker of salt.”
If you would like to access your photo from the event, click here. Thank you to Lauren Campbell Photography for taking photos at the event.
July 12, 2023
The annual Corndog Kickoff is now behind us. It was an amazing night for the Foundation as we raised a whopping $1,006,590 for the renovation and preservation of the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds! We are so thankful for those that donated, volunteered, and attended. It’s very clear the outpouring of support that is here for the amazing Iowa State Fair and it’s even greater to get to witness it firsthand.
So what are we up to now at the Foundation? Preparing for the Fair of course! We are less than 30 days from the start of the best 11 days of summer. Tomorrow, we will be placing some new bricks around the Fairgrounds. There is so much history involved in the bricks we place around the grounds. I would encourage you to take time to read them sometime when you’re on the Fairgrounds next! Hopefully that will be sometime during the Fair so you can experience all of the fun stuff there too!
We are also gearing up for two events next week. One being our volunteer reception which will take place next Wednesday, July 19th. The other being the premiere of “Our Great State Fair” documentary. This documentary is one that will showcase and highlight the history of the great Iowa State Fair. I can’t think of a better place to show this new documentary than right on the historic Fairgrounds themselves. Tickets for this event are available, but a limited number will be sold so make sure to get yours now!
There is plenty more to do before the Fair, but I thought I would fill you in on what we would be up to for the next week or so! As always, if you have any questions about any of these events or are looking for more details, you can reach our office at 515-262-3111 ext. 371 or Info@BlueRibbonFoundation.org .
The countdown is on!!!
- Macy Loecke, Public Relations Intern
July 11, 2023
We are a little over a week away from the exclusive premiere of the Our Great State Fair documentary. This documentary showcases the essence of the greatest State Fair with the best eleven days of the year. I don't know about you, but I am excited to be a part of this special premiere.
The documentary enhances Iowa's annual showcase of its best in agriculture, industry, entertainment, and achievement and its biggest celebration. Throughout the showing, you will be able to hear about the history of the Fair, its meaning from others, some special people who have been a part of the Fair, and so much more. The Fair holds so much meaning and memories for the state, communities, and people, which can be seen through this film.
Friends of Iowa PBS is partnering with the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation to bring this documentary to life and create more of those Fair memories with a special premiere screening of the film on Thursday, July 20, at 6 p.m. The premiere will take place in the Oman Family Youth Inn on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Attendees will enjoy refreshments of a corndog, popcorn, and a cup of cookies while watching the two-hour film. Viewers will also have the opportunity to hear from the documentary producers.
A limited number of tickets are available for this special fundraiser. Only 300 lucky Fairgoers will be able to be a part of this exciting experience, so get your tickets soon! Tickets can be purchased for $50 per person online at https://www.blueribbonfoundation.org/events/iowa-state-fair or by calling the Foundation at 515-262-3111 Ext. 371. I hope to see you at the premiere!
- Faith Kuehl, Business Relations Intern
June 30, 2023
It’s officially one week until the 2023 Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Food Grazing Party! I am so excited to be able to attend my very first Kickoff. We have done so much preparation for it, and I cannot wait for you all to see it.
The Kickoff will occur on Saturday, July 8, in the William C. Knapp Varied Industries, with the doors opening at 6:30 pm. This night will be a night in paradise for our Jimmy Buffet-themed event in “Margaritaville.” You will be able to experience your night with many things to be a part of. Here is an overview of what you kind find on your night at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
The night will kick off with doors opening at 6:30 pm, and this is where the fun begins. Once you walk in, you will have a plethora of options to choose from as you can get your favorite Fair food from one of the many vendors without any additional cost, browse the auction items available, participate in one of the many activities, and so much more!
A key component of this event is the live and silent auctions. The live auction will begin at 8:00 pm the night of the event, so make sure you register for your bid card to get your assigned bid number. The silent auction will open on Friday, July 7, at 10:00 am and close on Saturday, July 8, at 8:30 pm. To participate in the silent auction, you do not have to be present at the event, and you can go to this link to register, browse, and bid on items. Some awesome packages are available, so you do not want to miss out on this! You can get a sneak peek of the items through this year’s auction book.
Along with auctions, there will be many activities attendees can participate in at the event. The following activities will be offered: Rags to Riches, Mystery Prize Game, Dining Delights, and Spin Wheel. To participate in these activities, all you have to do is donate an amount to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon and join in on the fun!
Now all this seems like a great time to me, don’t you think? Along with all of these fun activities, you can also listen to the live music band of Saints & Sinners, ride the famous SkyGlider across the Fairgrounds, and enjoy a spectacular firework show. If you want to attend the event, it’s not too late! Tickets are available for purchase TODAY ONLY, for $100, and will increase to $125 beginning tomorrow, July 1. Hurry and get your tickets today for that discounted price! Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Foundation at 515-262-3111 Ext. 371.
Another reminder as well is that tickets are on sale for the exclusive premiere of the Our Great State Fair documentary. Friends of Iowa PBS has partnered with the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation for a special premiere screening of the film on Thursday, July 20 at 6 p.m. A limited number of tickets are available for this special fundraiser. Only 300 lucky Fairgoers will be able to be a part of this exciting experience, so get your tickets soon! Ticket are $50 person and are available for purchase online or by calling the Foundation at 515-262-3111 Ext. 371
I can’t wait to see you all in paradise next Saturday, July 8!
- Faith Kuehl, Business Relations Intern
June 28, 2023
I LOVE movies. All of them. Rom-Com’s, history, comedy, you name it. There’s just something about the feeling you get when you sit behind that screen, no matter where you are.
You know what else I love? The Iowa State Fair. All of it. The corndogs, the livestock shows, the entertainment, you name it. There’s just something about the feeling you get when you walk through those front gates and prepare for the Best Day Ever.
Therefore, you can probably assume how excited I am that my two favorite things have been combined! Iowa PBS has created the story of the Iowa State Fair — Iowa's annual showcase of its best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement, and its biggest celebration. Imagine the feeling you will get watching this.
In connection with the creation of this new documentary, Our Great State Fair, Friends of Iowa PBS is partnering with the Blue Ribbon Foundation for a special premiere screening of the film on Thursday, July 20 at 6 p.m.
The premiere will take place in Oman Family Youth Inn on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Attendees will enjoy refreshments of a corndog, popcorn and a cup of cookies while watching the two-hour film. Viewers will also have the opportunity to hear from the documentary producers following film.
A limited number of tickets are available for this special fundraiser. Only 300 lucky Fairgoers will be able to a part of this exciting experience, so get your tickets soon!
Our Great State Fair tickets are $50 per person and ar e available for purchase. Tickets can be purchased online at https://e.givesmart.com/events/wBD/ or by calling the Foundation at 515-262-3111 Ext. 371. Don't miss this unique opportunity to support two organizations that love the Fair just as much as you do!
Our Great State Fair will air on statewide Iowa PBS on Monday, August 1 as well as a continuous viewing at the Museum during the Fair.
- Regan Freland, Donor Relations Intern
June 23, 2023
The countdown is officially on. We are only 15 days away from the best pre-Fair party, the Corndog Kickoff! With the event approaching quickly, we are all busy worker bees in the office. It has been so fun to be a part of the behind-the-scenes actions for this event! I have helped planned smaller events for family functions, but nothing like this! We have all done a tremendous amount of preparation, so here's a little sneak peak of what we have been up to. J
Currently our office looks a lot like the picture below of our garage below…organized chaos! All over you can finding a variety of auction packages as they come in from our generous auction donors. Packages are being delivered with all sorts of decorations to truly portray a night in paradise – not to mention the amazing Hawaiian shirts we get to wear at the event. All hands are on deck with taking pictures, writing auction descriptions, putting together packages, and so much more. This is just in the office, though!
Outside of the office, you can find us working in our warehouse or running errands around town. Just today we went down to the warehouse to organize different packages and get prizes lined up for games at the event! Yesterday we went around to local restaurants to pick up gift cards for the Dining Delights activity. I even went to Ames yesterday to pick up some auction packages. All of the pieces are coming together!
Although this may seem like a crazy time, I have been having a blast preparing for the Corndog Kickoff and cannot wait to see it all come to fruition! If you want to be a part of this event there are many ways you can be! You could donate a package to the auction, donate a gift card from your favorite restaurant for Dining Delights, or simply come enjoy the event. The Corndog Kickoff is set to take place Saturday, July 8 in the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building, with doors opening at 6:30pm. Tickets are available today for $100 and can be purchased online, by calling the Foundation at 515-262-3111 Ext. 371, or at the door the night. We can’t wait to see you there!
- Faith Kuehl, Business Relation Intern
June 22, 2023
It’s hard to believe we are in the home stretch of June! I really wish summer would slow down. One thing that we get to look forward to in late summer is of course everyone’s favorite; The Iowa State Fair. I am also counting down the days myself to meet our 2023 Iowan of the Day award recipients. If you know someone that you think would be a great fit for this award and you haven’t nominated them yet, what are you waiting for? You still have time, but make sure to get those nominations to us by July 1st!
We are still searching for 10 outstanding Iowans to honor and recognize at this year’s Iowa State Fair. We are really looking for those who make their community a better place in some way, shape, or form. Whether that be through volunteering, giving, sharing, etc. These are the people in your community you would consider admirable individuals. Those who show integrity, dependability or maybe even perseverance.
Of course you’re probably wondering what our Iowans will get if they are chosen to receive this award. We have big plans for them and are going to treat them like royalty with a wide array of prizes. Some of the things they can expect to be treated to during their day at the Fair will include the following:
- 4 Fair admission tickets
- VIP parking
- Introduction on the Anne and Bill Riley Stage
- Use of golf cart for the day
- 4 Grandstand show tickets for his or her day of honor
- $200 cash
- Accommodations at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown
With all of this and their special day of honor, they are sure to feel special and appreciated for all that they do in their communities. If you think someone in your life is deserving of this award, we will be waiting to hear about them soon. Even if your Iowan is not selected this year, their nomination is considered for 3 years after submission. Nomination forms can be found on our website under “events” and "Iowan of the Day."
If you are in need of any assistance or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. I can be reached by email at PublicRelations@BlueRibbonFoundation.org or by phone at 515-262-3111 ext. 378. We are looking forward to hearing about the awesome Iowans in YOUR communities very soon!
-Macy Loecke, Public Relations Intern
June 20, 2023
The Iowa State Fair is easily the highlight of my year and has been my whole life. They aren’t joking when they call the 11 days in August The Best Days Ever. When I was interviewing for this internship, I was asked what my connection was to the Iowa State Fair. I sat there stunned for a minute and finally said, “Where do I even begin?”
Growing up, my family brought our dairy cattle to be a part of the Boulevard of Dairy Breeds exhibit. We also showed these cows, too! After I officially started working here, many conversations were centered around what that lifestyle looks like, especially at the Fair. I am sure you can imagine my supervisor’s faces’ when I nonchalantly told them we sleep in the barns (don’t worry, I will blog ALL about that sometime ;).
When my family stopped showing at the Fair, I knew I couldn’t stay away. I reached out to many different families asking if they needed an extra showman. My brother worked in the milking parlor, so you can bet I begged him to let me tag along, too.
During this time, my grandpa became the Fair’s milk man. When he went to the Fair, I was right there with him. We knew our roles the minute we got onto the grounds. He would start loading up the milk into the truck and I would see how fast I could run to find us a bucket of cookies.
Those next few summers I spent my time with anybody that needed the extra help; anything to get me to the Fair.
From here, I gained the title of: Night Line Girl. Essentially this means I spend my nights watching the cattle. I feed them and pick up their poop; tending to their every need. In the morning we milk them, wash them, and clean out their stalls! Then, it’s my turn to sleep!!.... yes, in the barn of course ;)
I was also able to see a glimpse of the business side too as my mom held various positions with agriculture companies that are involved with the Fair. Many times I tagged along with her and got a look of what goes into the behind the scenes of the Fair. This is where my love for the Fair grew even deeper and in different way. I learned many networking skills and became thankful for everyone who makes the Iowa State Fair possible. I knew I wanted to continue being involved and for the first time, I sparked an interest in my future career.
From there, I became one of the supervisors for Little Hands on the Farm. Through this, I was able to help promote agriculture among youth, network and meet some amazing people, while also learning how to manage volunteers.
The Fair has given so much to me; I knew wanted to be able to give back! That is when I applied for this internship!
During the first few weeks of working here, one of the departments put on an intern social for all of us on the Fairgrounds! We played a game that asked each of us several questions. When it was my turn, the question I was asked was: “What is your favorite thing about the Iowa State Fair?” I sat there with that same stunned look on my face when I finally said back, “Where do I even begin?”
The Iowa State Fair has left me with many wonderful memories that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people through it all as well.
Everyone has their own unique connection to the Fair that makes these days for them the Best Days Ever. What is yours?
June 16, 2023
I can’t believe we are already halfway through June! This summer has been flying by! Although the Fair is only 54 days away, the Fairgrounds are already buzzing with excitement and people as many events are taking place. Last week the World Pork Expo was in town, and we were able to taste some very yummy bacon. This week, The Exposition swine show is in town. So lots of fun things are happening around here!
At all of these events, there have been a variety of vendors, which has let us get a sample of the ole Fair food. Of course, we all had to get a little taste. This week the main vendor for us to try has been the one and only Campbell’s! This staple vendor has really gotten us into the Fair spirit with our first corndog of the year. Now you might be thinking, “Man, some Fair food, sounds so good.” Well, you are in luck because you can get a snippet of those delicious foods at this year’s Corndog Kickoff.
A very unique and key aspect of this event is bringing in Fair food vendors to have samples of your favorite Fair foods. The lineup this year is one of the best, ranging from corndogs to cookies to bar be que! This year’s vendors are….(drum roll, please J):
- Applishus Inc.
- Barksdale’s State Fair Cookies
- Beattie Melon Patch
- Beef Promotions of Iowa
- Campbell’s Concessions
- Corndogs and Pineapple Whip
- Carter’s Cotton Candy
- Cookies Food Products
- Dawghouse Concessions
- G. Pop’s Candy Box
- Salt Water Taffy
- Ham Salad Sandwich
- Potato Salad
- Iowa Pork Producers Association
- Iowa Wine Growers
- JR’s Southpork Ranch
- Bacon Pickle Mac & Cheese
- McConnell Concessions
- Over the Top
- Schuler’s Sno Cone & Popcorn
- Steer N’ Stein
- George the Chili King’s Classic Recipe Chili
- T n T Concessions
- The Bacon Box
- Bacon Balls & Creamsicles
- The Rib Shack
- Bacon, Brisket Mac & Cheese
- Turkey Time Concessions
- Whatcha Smokin’ BBq + Brew
- Elote Craft Link on a Stick
Now those are some great Fair food vendors right there! Make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to get your favorite Fair foods early at the Corndog Kickoff! To be one of the lucky Fairgoers to taste these sweet treats, you can buy a ticket today for $100. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling the Foundation at 515-262-3111 Ext. 371, or at the door the night of the event. Hope to see you there!
- Faith Kuehl, Business Relations Intern