A Masterpiece of a State Fair

By Lydia Zerby

Iowa State Fair visitors showed up big this year to celebrate food, farming and agriculture.

Now that the fairgrounds have been emptied of livestock, carnival rides, food stands and excited visitors, we reflect on a historic and engagement-filled 2022 Iowa State Fair. The fair is always a fun time for families to make memories and discover new ways to interact with agriculture, and this year was no exception.

The Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) saw thousands of fairgoers walk through and stop at our “Agriculture is Iowa’s Masterpiece” exhibit in the southeast atrium of the Varied Industries Building. More than 3,000 photos were taken at our “picture yourself on the farm” photobooth, almost 15,000 promotional items were given out at the trivia spin wheel and kids' table, and nearly 1,500 visitors entered to win “Grand Champion” prizes. Plus, thousands of fairgoers signed up for our free eNewsletter.

Congratulations to the following winners who were chosen randomly to receive our “Grand Champion” prizes! A special thanks to the prize sponsors for helping us to provide ag-mazing giveaways.

  • Julie Tickle – $150 gift card to Hy-Vee Grocery
  • Nevaeh Degard – Iowa Pork Producers Association prize pack
  • Barb Lourens Smith – $75 fuel card from the Iowa Corn Growers Association
  • Kathy Bassman – $50 gift card to Earl May Nursery & Garden Centers
  • Stacy Rowson – $50 gift card to The Machine Shed restaurant
  • Cynthia Martin – Framed photo of Iowa agriculture by Joseph L. Murphy

Making New Connections

In looking at the overall number of visitors to the Iowa FFP exhibit, it’s estimated 1 in 2 were new to the Iowa FFP network. Iowa FFP’s Facebook page gained over 2,000 new followers, now topping out at over 40,000 food-minded consumers who are engaged with the Project. If you’re not following us on social media, we invite you to do so. You can find us at @foodnfamilies on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

At the center of the Fair exhibit was an amazing celebration of Iowa agriculture, created throughout the Fair by eight-area artists. Each artist created their own mural masterpiece depicting everything from farm animals to generations on the farm to locally grown and raised food. Lisa Rasumssen, a farmer who grows row crops and raises pigs near Goldfield, notes, “This was a fantastic tribute to agriculture! Thanks for allowing people to see the artists’ work in progress. As an art girl myself, I especially appreciate this too.”

Many visitors to the exhibit saw the artists’ work in various stages of completion. We’re proud to share with you the final pieces and are so appreciative of the artists’ hard work. These murals will be placed in various to-be-determined locations around Iowa, in collaboration with Iowa’s commodity groups who support Iowa FFP.

Learn more about each artist in a recent Iowa FFP feature.

Artwork by Amy Thomas

Artwork by Jenna Brownlee

Artwork by Sarah Stott
Artwork by Kathleen Roling and Laura Todd
Artwork by Ally Frame
Artwork by Kiki Curtis
Artwork by Lauren Dahl
Artwork by Nicole James