Blue Ribbon Foundation celebrates 25 years

     The idea was simple. Create an organization to conduct a major capital campaign for the renovation and preservation of the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds, one dedicated to ensuring the Iowa State Fair’s future. Since its launch a quarter century ago, the Blue Ribbon Foundation has raised $128 million through individual contributions, state appropriations, in-kind services, and corporate, federal and state grants.

     In celebration of the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s 25th anniversary, 2017 will be a year of remembering its history and reflecting on what the organization has accomplished. The list of projects the Blue Ribbon Foundation has supported is long. But more importantly, so is a list of supporters. Nothing compares to the generosity that the entire state of Iowa has shown the Foundation.

     The first renovation of Grandfather’s Barn and construction of the now Robert G. Horner and Sheri Avis Horner Service Center were just the beginning. One by one, barns and buildings across the Fairgrounds were improved. From unseen electrical updates or simple restroom improvements, to construction of the state-of-the-art Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center, the Blue Ribbon Foundation was determined to make our Fairgrounds one of the best.

     “This determination has not wavered,” said Peter Cownie, Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation executive director. “The upcoming three-phase construction plan for the north side of the Fairgrounds will create a family friendly environment for the midway and later will include grandstand updates and a separate events area.”

     The Blue Ribbon Foundation invites you to participate in its 25th Anniversary Campaign. Your donations will be devoted to the organization’s endowment, “Our Fair’s Future,” which helps provide for a beautiful Iowa State Fair in the future. Your gracious support to the endowment is a gift with both immediate and long-term benefits, and will help them continue to create a Fairgrounds that all Iowans can be proud of.

     The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. For more information, please contact the Blue Ribbon Foundation at 1-800-450-3732 or


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