June 20, 2022
If you have attended the Iowa State Fair on a hot and sunny day (like many days of the Fair are), odds are pretty high that you stopped and bought a bottle of water at a water stand on the Fairgrounds. The person who sold you that bottle of water was a Blue Ribbon Foundation volunteer. The work of the Blue Ribbon Foundation is not possible without the countless volunteers that help during the Iowa State Fair.
Even if you have not bought a bottle of water on the Fairgrounds, you may have interacted with a Blue Ribbon Foundation volunteer. Volunteers also run the merchandise booths around the Fairgrounds, selling Fair-goers everything from T-shirts to mugs to charm bracelets.
We are looking for a few more volunteers to work a shift during the Fair! Each shift is 4 hours long, and will be either at a water stand or merchandise booth. These locations are spread out around the Fairgrounds, with spots everywhere from on the Grand Concourse to inside the Cattle Barn to outside Little Hands on the Farm. There are indoor positions and outdoor positions, no matter what you prefer you will be able to choose the perfect shift for you. Volunteer alone, or sign up with a friend! Many volunteers come back year after year, making many friends along the way.
In thanks for your time, you will receive complimentary parking and admission to the Fair for the day you volunteer, as well as a volunteer t-shirt you can wear during your shift. In addition, there will be a catered volunteer reception in July where you will receive your t-shirt, parking pass and admissions ticket. The reception also serves as training, so you will learn what you need to know before the Fair!
All of the sales made at these booths go directly to the renovation and preservation of the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. The proceeds grow because of the gift of your time to the Fair. Without you, the Blue Ribbon Foundation would not be as successful as it is!
Spots are filling up quickly, so if you are interested in volunteering, make sure to sign up soon! You can sign up by clicking this link here. If you have any questions, reach out to Meg at (515) 262-3111 ext. 370 or Meg@BlueRibbonFoundation.org.
-Laura Noehren, Business Relations Intern
June 17, 2022
Recent blogs have been highlighting the amazing items featured in the live and silent auctions. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to talk about the “food grazing” part of the 2022 Corndog Kickoff!
We have so many wonderful concessionaires that are preparing to serve you an early taste of Fair Food favorites. Don’t worry, the interns have been tasked with scanning for poisoned apples and watching for Goldilocks so she doesn’t steal the delicious food!
Here is sneak peak of what will be served this year:
Applishus – Sliced Carmel Apples
The Bacon Box – Bacon Balls & Creamsicles
Barksdale’s State Fair Cookies – Cookies
Beattie’s Melon Patch – Fruit Cups
Beef Promotions of Iowa – Hot Beef Sundaes
Brewer Meats – Smoked Turkey Drums
Campbell’s Concessions – Corndogs & Pineapple Whip
Carter’s Cotton Candy & Sno Cones – Cotton Candy
Crystal Clear Water – Bottled Water
Dawghouse Concessions – Pickledawgs
Hardenbrook Concessions – Grilling Services
Iowa Pork Producers Association – Pork Chop on a Stick
Jalapeno Pete’s – Southwest Chicken Egg Rolls
JR’s Southpork Ranch – Bacon S’mores on a Stick & Buffalo Sliders
Kemps – Ice Cream Sandwiches
La Cocina – Quesadillas & Street Tacos
McConnell Concessions Inc. – Root Beer Floats
Pepsi – Pop
Schuler’s Popcorn & Cotton Candy – Sno Cones
The Rib Shack – Bacon, Brisket Mac & Cheese
Turkey Time Concessions – Kettle Korn & Smoothies
I don’t know about you, but that just made me very hungry.
The Corndog Kickoff will not only feature Fair Foods. Some other Fair vendors will be in attendance too!
Buff City Soap will be back to serve free soap samples, as they have done in past years. Make sure to stop by their table and grab one for yourself.
Altoona Lions Club will feature a Spin Art activity for all attendees to enjoy. Get creative and bring out your artistic abilities with this fun and interactive display.
Storybook Adventures will create “Our Own Fairy Tale”, featuring fairytale characters to bring this event to life! Be on the lookout for the characters we all know and love. I heard that Cinderella might make an appearance!
Buy your tickets now for $100 before they increase to $125 on July 1. You can also become a patron for early access and reserve a table. We look forward to seeing you there!
- Kenna Smith, Donor Relations Intern
June 15, 2022
Looking for your next getaway? Look no further than one of our amazing Corndog Kickoff auction items. Imagine yourself lounging on the beach or swimming in a private pool, with all of your closest friends and family. This could be you, if you are the lucky winner of a stay at Castillo Del Mar!
Located in Manzanillo, Mexico on the West Coast, this 7 night stay for up to 12 guests is straight out of a dream. The private villa is a short 30 minute ride from the Manzanillo Airport, and is located in a private, gated neighborhood. You will have access to a private beach as well as a private pool (with a waterfall of course)! Additionally, you will get to enjoy meals prepared by a private gourmet chef and will have a cleaning staff, house manager and personal driver. All of your needs will be catered to during your once in a lifetime vacation opportunity.
The villa is also full of five-star amenities. With open layouts and outdoor living areas, every second of this trip is about to be the vacation of your dreams. Every room has ocean views and all rooms are complete with King or Queen sized beds, and individually controlled air conditioners. This villa is the type of accommodation you dream about. Don’t believe us? Check out the photos at the end of this post. We have a feeling they may persuade you.
No matter your definition of the perfect vacation, your personal house manager will help you schedule excursions and activities to make your dream vacation even more well, dreamy. Try out jet skiing, deep sea fishing, snorkeling or scuba diving. Maybe you and your guests will have a day full of adventure and zip line! Or, take a walk through the neighborhood to the tennis club. Or, if you are the simply pleased type, spend your days hanging out on the beach on by the pool and soaking up the sun. Manzanillo has +350 days of sun per year, so no matter when you choose to go, you’re bound to enjoy some sunshine. No matter how you choose to spend your time, you’ll be talking about this trip for years to come.
Sound like a perfect fit? Make sure to get your tickets or become a patron for the Corndog Kickoff on July 9th to have your chance to bid on this luxury prize. If you would like to learn more about becoming a patron or getting your tickets, give us a call at (515) 262-3111 ext. 371 and we will be happy to help you. We look forward to seeing everyone on July 9th for the Corndog Kickoff!
- Laura Noehren. Business Relations Intern
June 13, 2022
For 25 years, the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and Cookies BBQ Food Products have honored outstanding Iowans across our state through the Iowan of the Day program. More than 250 Iowans have been celebrated with 10 individuals recognized at the Iowa State Fair each year. Now, we are seeking your help in finding and recognizing these individuals for 2022.
The Iowan of the Day program is looking for individuals who volunteer and make a difference in their communities. These individuals are hard workers, dependable, responsible, respectful, generous, humble, caring, kind, loyal and truly love their community and the state of Iowa. Volunteering is the price we pay for the space we occupy and there are thousands of programs across the state that are dedicated to supporting individuals. These programs would not be possible without the volunteers who give so much of their time.
These people help others without expecting anything in return and are hardly recognized for their efforts – not because they don’t deserve it but because they don’t need the recognition to do what needs to be done. However, the Blue Ribbon Foundation believes they do deserve celebration and what better place to be recognized than at the Iowa State Fair.
If you know someone in your community with these qualities and has a passion for helping others, nominate them for Iowan of the Day at the 2022 Iowa State Fair. Nominees must currently reside in Iowa. In your nominations, tell us about your nominee and all the amazing qualities they possess. Even the smallest act of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life.
10 Iowans are selected to represent our state at the Iowa State Fair through the Iowan of the Day Program. Each of the winners earn a special day of recognition and will receive several prizes including:
- An introduction on the Anne & Bill Riley Stage
- Four Iowa State Fair Admission Tickets
- Four Grandstand Show Tickets on their day of recognition
- Privilege to use the Iowan of the Day golf cart on their day of recognition
- VIP Parking
- Accommodations at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown
During the winners’ introduction on the Anne & Bill Riley Stage, thousands of Fairgoers will hear about the amazing contributions they have made to their community and why they are deserving of this special recognition. All nominations are due July 1, 2022.
Please, show us the outstanding citizens, hometown heroes, shining stars and amazing individuals in your community and nominate them today.
- Brooklin Border, Public Relations Intern
June 10, 2022
The 25th annual Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Fair Food Grazing Party is coming up! Saturday, July 9, Fair-lovers are invited to take part in a night of auction bidding, food, and fun. There will be both a live and silent auction for attendees to participate in.
We are so grateful for all of the donations we have received so far and cannot wait to auction off these unique packages. Some exciting silent auction items we have include:
A Pellet Grill
Kick your taste buds into a new dimension with a Green Mountain Daniel Boone Prime Plus Wi-Fi Pellet Grill.
• The 12V direct power design provides better temp control, greater pellet fuel economy and faster startups. With a 13.5” peaked lid and 458 square inches of grill space, this workhorse can cook anything from a dozen racks of ribs to a small whole hog!
• Plus, you can control and monitor your grill from your couch or on-the-go with GMG Smart Control.
Donated by Prairie Ag Supply
Bo Jackson is the only professional athlete in history to be named an All-Star in both baseball and football.
• If you are a Bo fan you’ll want to have this Auburn football autographed by one of their most celebrated athletes, Bo Jackson of course.
Donated by Chris Hammer
Let's Go Surfin' Now – Red
When the Beach Boys performed in the Grandstand last year, they wanted two surfboards as props. When they were done, they autographed them!
• This red and blue surfboard has all the Beach Boys’ signatures, including John Stamos.
All silent auction items will be available for viewing on the platform GiveSmart on July 7. Bidding starts at 10 a.m. July 8 and closes July 9 at 8:30 p.m. Some exciting live auction items we have include:
If you are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism, LASIK surgery may offer the vision you want without the constraints of glasses or contacts.
• Wolfe Eye Clinic will perform a bilateral LASIK procedure in either their West Des Moines or Cedar Rapids clinics.
• You’ll receive your initial evaluation appointment at any Wolfe Clinic main office; pre- and post- operative medications and drops, the procedure and LASIK-related follow-up visits for one year and enhancement within two years post-op, if necessary.
Donated by Wolfe Eye Clinic
Attending every day of the Iowa State Fair is a piece of cake when you are camped right outside the gates!
• Winnebago is providing a move in ready RV for the duration of the Fair.
• Two admission wristbands, allowing for 11 days of entry, are included as is a parking pass for your campsite. You’ll also have several tickets to ride the Sky Glider, Ye Old Mill and the Giant Slide.
• Commemorate your 2022 Iowa State Fair with an old-fashioned 8” x 10” portrait for two people. You can select a matted or poster format. Valid only at the 2022 Iowa State Fair.
• A pillow constructed using an Iowa State Fair t-shirt.
Donated by Winnebago Industries, Karen Brockelsby, Old Time Portraits and the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation
Test your paranormal courage by exploring or staying overnight in several of Iowa’s most haunted places. All of these locations have had multiple documented spirit experiences!
• Bentonsport − Built in 1846 as a hotel for steamboat travelers, the Mason House Inn has served as an inn, Civil War hospital, boarding house, a tuberculosis hospital, a home, a museum and now a B & B. With this history, there are bound to be some ghosts! Enjoy a night’s stay for two on the second floor of the main house, breakfast and maybe a spirit or two. Reservations required. Expires 12/17/22. Not valid during festivals and events.
• Farrar – Ever feel like school was never-ending? Well there are a few ghosts at the old Farrar Elementary school that truly attest to that feeling. See if you can connect with one with an overnight stay at the haunted school. The stay is good for up to six people any Sunday through Thursday. Expires July 31, 2023.
• Strawberry Point – Built in 1903, enjoy an overnight stay at the historic Franklin Hotel.
• Malvern – Featured on Paranormal Lockdown, Malvern Manor has lots of visitors – living and ghostly. Enjoy a day tour of the Malvern Manor for you and 10 guests plus an overnight stay.
• Villisca – Visit one of the most infamous and haunted sites in Iowa, the Villisca Ax Murder House. Eight people were slain here in 1912 and it’s said their spirits remain. Will you see them? Six people can take an afternoon tour, Tuesday - Sunday, 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. No reservations needed.
• Be ready for these ghostly adventures with three Iowa ghost hunting books, an EVP recorder and an EMF detector.
• Since you have a few overnights, a Halloween themed quilted blanket might be nice to cuddle into – or pull over your head.
• This trip will take you all over Iowa. Here’s $200 in Casey’s gift cards for gas.
Donated by the Farrar Haunted School, The Franklin Hotel, Malvern Manor, Mason House, Villisca Murder House, Gene & Danyell Klein & Casey’s
The live auction will take place at the event, July 9, and bidding starts at 8 p.m.
If you want your chance to win some of these amazing items, consider purchasing a ticket and attending the 25th annual Corndog Kickoff! Tickets cost $100 and will increase to $125 July 1.
If you are interested in participating in the silent auction, make an account on GiveSmart! GiveSmart is the platform we use for the auction and anyone can create an account with their name and card information. You will be able to see auction items and bid in real time. It is really easy to use and helps us keep track of who is bidding on what. Bidding will stop at 8:30 p.m. and you will be able to pay for your items and pick them up at the auction.
It's easy to join and take part in the auction fun. The Corndog Kickoff hosts over 2,000 attendees each year and has raised over $7.2 million for the renovation and preservation of the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. You don’t want to miss out on this event, buy your ticket today!
- Brooklin Border, Public Relations Intern
June 8, 2022
The Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Food Grazing Party is quickly approaching and we are working hard here to make it the most successful one yet!
One thing that makes the even so successful are the volunteers who help behind the scenes. Just like at the Iowa State Fair, these volunteers are the cornerstone of the event, and make the event run smoothly. We cannot even try to express how thankful we are for the support and help with receive from volunteers each summer.
We are still looking to fill a few positions as the event draws near! From helping with the live auction to serving wine, there are plenty of fun and exciting positions to be filled. Here is a brief overview of what positions are remaining.
At this position, you will man the bid card table. You will assist guests with filling out bid cards and assign a bid fan number to each guest. You may also help guests with using the mobile app for the silent auction. We need 4 more people for this position.
- Live Auction Supervisor and Checkout
If you’re a Live Auction Supervisor, you will watch over the auction items! Make sure all the items stay where they are meant to stay and explain what is in auction packages when asked (you will be provided information about the auction packages). You will also help guests find packages they have won and check receipts to ensure each item gets to the correct guest! We need 3 more people for this position.
If you are a merchandise booth volunteer in August, this is the perfect positon for you! You will be selling Iowa State Fair and Blue Ribbon Foundation merchandise, just like at the Fair! We need 2 more people for this position.
With this position, you will help sell the ‘rags’ (Corndog Kickoff themed bandanas) to guests so they can participate in the Rags to Riches game, sponsored by West Bank. With this fun twist on a 50/50 raffle, this is sure to be a busy position. If you’re interested in this spot, let Meg know fast! There’s only one spot left for this position.
6 lucky volunteers will get to help serve beverages to guests! You can choose to be a wine server, a beer server, or even a pop server! Whatever you choose, have fun interacting with guests and meeting tons of people.
Would you rather be outside for the evening of the event? This is the spot for you. As a golf cart driver, you can spend your night shuttling guests to and from the parking lots and the Varied Industries Building. We need 2 more people for this position.
These volunteers help the photographer during the event. Each guest receives a complimentary photo, so this job will definitely keep busy. We need 4 more people for this position.
Potentially the most fun position of them all, 2 lucky volunteers get to dress up as the mascots, Fairfield and Rosetta, for the night! Fairfield and Rosetta will each take half the event, so this position is only 5:30-8 or 8-10. The mascots will be posing with guests in the photo booth!
If you are interested in any volunteering position for the Corndog Kickoff, please reach out to Meg at Meg@BlueRibbonFoundation.org or 515-262-3111 ext. 370.
- Laura Noehren, Business Relations Intern
June 6, 2022
From Johnny Cash to Carrie Underwood, the Iowa State Fair has seen it all! Dating back to the 1950’s, the Fair has hosted a wide variety of grandstand concerts that have become more and more popular each year. In 1980, Bill Fisher, the Fair’s assistant manager at the time, pulled together the famous lineup consisting of Jimmie Rodgers, The Association, Bobby Vee, Del Shannon, Freddie (Boom-Boom) Cannon, Lesley Gore, and the Marvelettes. Over two thousand people attended that concert and the numbers doubled for the following year. Ever since then, Iowa State Fair Concerts are something we all look forward to attending when August comes around.
Who holds the record for attracting the largest Grandstand crowd?
In 1970, Johnny Cash attracted 25,300 in two shows.
In 1972, Sonny and Cher drew 26,200 in two shows.
In 1974, Chicago played to 24,700 in one show.
In 1975, the Beach Boys drew 25,400 in one show.
In 1982, the Oak Ridge Boys attracted 23,500 in two shows.
What entertainer has performed at the Fair a whopping 10 or more times? Lou Christie tops the list with 13 Grandstand appearances. “Lou! Lou! Lou! Lou!” they chanted as he stepped onto the stage in his tight-leather pants and yellow jacket. Can you picture it?
Nights full of dancing, singing, stomping, clapping, and more are only a few months away. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy the Fair’s iconic lineup this year consisting of Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Nelly, Demi Lovato, Brooks & Dunn, Skillet, Alanis Morissette, ZZ Top’s Raw Wiskey Tour, Comedian John Christ, Kane Brown, and Disturbed.
Can’t decide which concert to go to? Why not all of them? Have your own Concert Club area in the Grandstand at the 2022 Iowa State Fair with eight seats to each of the eleven concerts. Donated by the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation, the 2022 Corndog Kickoff will feature this exclusive live auction item, “A Concert Series”, for attendees to bid on!
The Foundation has also donated packages including seats in the Spectator Suite located on the west side of stage seating. It offers an air-conditioned area, lower level patio seating and deck seating up top. It’s the perfect spot to catch the show and hang out with your friends. These packages will include 12 concert tickets to Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and Brook & Dunn, depending on which items you bid on.
The 2022 Corndog Kickoff on Saturday, July 9 at 6:30 pm. Tickets cost $100 ($125 after July 1) for a night full of food and fun while the silent and live auctions take place. You can also reserve a table for your business, family, or friends to join! Get ready to do some bidding - we are only a month away!
- Kenna Smith, Donor Relations Intern
June 3, 2022
The 25th Annual Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Fair Food Grazing Party is on Saturday, July 9. The Blue Ribbon Foundation recognizes all sorts of foods as “Fair-favorites” and is excited to bring back Dining Delights to the Auction this year.
Dining Delights is a restaurant gift card activity where attendees can donate $20 and receive a mystery gift card to a restaurant across the state. This activity, although new, has quickly become a favorite among auction attendees with over 140 gift cards selling out within an hour last year!
Breweries, bakeries, cafes, pubs, steakhouses, sports bars, or any restaurant you can think of should consider donating a gift card. I can almost taste the sweet and savory meals from my favorite restaurant and smell the goodies from my favorite bakery. Can you? This activity is a great way to represent your restaurant and showcase your favorite places to eat across Iowa J
We are currently seeking donations with a value of $25 or higher to any restaurant across the state. If you would like your favorite restaurant to be featured, consider asking that restaurant to donate a gift card to support the Blue Ribbon Foundation and the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. Or, support two businesses at once by purchasing a gift card and donating it to the Foundation to use in Dining Delights!
Thank you so much to the people and restaurants that have already donated. Some restaurant gift cards you might see include: Peace Tree Brewing Co., Drake Diner, Jethro’s, 7 Stone Pizzeria, and Baratta’s… We’d love to add your favorite restaurant to our list!
If you have a gift card to donate, please mail to the address below:
Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation
3000 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50317
- Brooklin Border, Public Relations Intern
June 2, 2022
Things are starting to fall into place with the Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction just over a month away! Auction items are beginning to pile up in the office, filling every extra inch of space that is not used on a daily basis. There are paintings, wood carvings, donations from local businesses across Iowa, spa products, laundry products, home decor, kitchen items, and even a football signed by the Packers! (Even if none of those things sound awesome to you, we promise there is something at this auction that will interest you!) We can’t wait for everyone to see all that we have to offer on July 9. We hope you are as excited as we are for this special night. If you have questions about attending the Corndog Kickoff, call us at (515) 262-3111 ext. 371.
One auction item that we look forward to every year are the pillows made by Karen Brockelsby. Karen has been donating these pillows for years, and each year we eagerly await the drop off so we can all check out the beautiful patterns. This year there are 30 unique pillows that she created, all of them Iowa State Fair themed. In fact, they are even made out of t-shirts, some of them from the Iowa State Fair Store itself! From an ‘In Corndogs We Trust’ pillow to a pillow featuring the winning ‘We’re Back’ t-shirt design from last year to a fun multi-colored pillow that looks like the spin art you can create at the Fair, you’re sure to find one pillow that encompasses your favorite parts of the Iowa State Fair among the pillows Karen makes.
This year, on top of the 30 pillows she created, Karen also donated a house divided quilt. If one of the biggest days of the year for your family is the annual Cy-Hawk football game, this one is for you! Half of the quilt is full of Iowa Hawkeye logos and the other half is filled with Iowa State Cyclone logos. The back of the quilt is a plush yellow to match both schools. We are so thankful for Karen’s dedication and gift of her time and talent to the Blue Ribbon Foundation.
Make sure to mark your calendar for July 9 at 6:30 for the Auction! At the Auction you can check auction items like the pillows and quilt talked about here and more, get an early fix of fair foods and help a great cause. We can’t wait to see you at the Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction!
-Laura Noehren, Business Relations Intern
May 31, 2022
I have been interning at the Blue Ribbon Foundation office full-time for two weeks now! When I tell people I work here, they want to know – what do I do as an intern if the Fair isn’t until August? Well, let me fill you in on what I have been working on so far!
A lot of my daily tasks include answering phone calls, greeting visitors that come in the office, and sending emails. Most of my work has involved the Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction. I have designed signs, handouts, decorations, and more that will be displayed at the event. I have to admit, I am having a lot of fun with the fairytale theme!
I have worked closely with Kickoff Patrons and I am very excited to see all of them in person when July 9 arrives! Tickets to the Corndog Kickoff will be sold up until the event starts, although many attendees become patrons for the event because they get early admission tickets and a reserved table. If you’re interested in becoming a patron, find more information here! If you are wanting to buy regular tickets, you can do so here!
We have so many amazing auction items that have been delivered to our office, and we will be accepting more for the next couple of weeks! If you have anything to donate, check out our website to learn more or please bring your item to our office by the end of June.
I attended the Corndog Kickoff back in 2014 when Paris Schnepf was in the position I am in now. Believe it or not, I actually met her when my oldest sister, Kelsey Smith (DeWitt), was crowned the 2013 Iowa State Fair Queen. I remember eating so much food and having a wonderful time with my family! Little did I know I would be in Paris’ position several years later helping plan this amazing event! What a small world!
Working towards the Fair has been in full swing as I’ve been working on designing invitations, booking vendors for events, and other tasks to prepare for ten days of food, entertainment, and fun! I am very excited to be out at the Fair every day and have been building up my bucket list of things I want to do. Even in the first few weeks of interning here, I have learned so much about the Fair and all the wonderful stories of why people decide to support the Foundation. All donations are put to good use across the Fairgrounds and we hope to keep this tradition going for many years to come!
- Kenna Smith, Donor Relations Intern