The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation has announced plans for a major addition to the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. State fair officials say Iowa's growing horse industry and the need for more exhibit space for other types of ag-related shows at the fairgrounds are the two key reasons for construction of the new building.
"The horse industry is rapidly escalating in Iowa," says John Putney, executive director of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation. "Horse shows and sales have a huge impact on Iowa's economy. In addition, the Iowa State Fair's facilities are attracting much attention nationally as potential sites for livestock and other agriculturally-related shows, exhibitions and conventions."
The Iowa State Fair's Pioneer Livestock Pavilion, while still useful, has become inadequate to serve the demand and market that exists today, says Putney.
The new "Ag Exhibition Center" to be built on the Iowa State Fairgrounds will incorporate the best features of similar facilities that are already in operation in Amarillo, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cost to build the new center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds is projected to be $20 million, with a three-phase construction projected to be completed prior to the 2010 Fair.
A ground-breaking ceremony took place Aug. 18, 2007 at the northwest corner of the West Arena on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. "The new Agricultural Exhibition Center will be the pride of Iowa and the Iowa State Fair," predicts Putney. "Other fairs around the nation look to us at the Iowa State Fair to set the standard, and this new facility will enhance our fairgrounds while upholding the traditional, agricultural values the Iowa State Fair was founded on."
The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is non-profit organization. Since its inception in 1993, the foundation has raised over $65 million for renovation and preservation of the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds.