Decade of Fair Delights
Just before formally launching the Iowa Food & Family (Iowa FFP) in April 2011, Aaron Putze found himself marveling at a two-story-tall ear of corn constructed solely from canned goods.
“It stopped me in my tracks,” he says, fondly remembering the moment he first saw a Canstruction creation at Commodity Classic, an annual farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show. “I knew it was the perfect concept for Iowa FFP. It was big, bold and the perfect way to bring the connection between food and farming to life.”
Putze, who led the creation of Iowa FFP and serves as the senior director of information and education for the Iowa Soybean Association, quickly jumped on the phone to run the concept by the other commodity group partners. All agreed a Canstruction display was a perfect activity for soon-to-be formed Iowa FFP, but the big questions of “when?” and “where?” remained.
“To be honest, the answer was obvious,” Putze recalls. “We had to bring an Iowa Food & Family Project Canstruction display to the Iowa State Fair.”
The iconic Iowa State Fair is a limitless celebration of Iowa. Each year, it offers creators a chance to spread their wings, provides space for innovation and pushes the envelope of bigger and better.
Since the very first Canstruction display in 2011, the Iowa State Fair has granted Iowa FFP boundless opportunities to showcase food and farming to millions of fairgoers. From LEGOs® to Sandscapes and Canstructions to Paint-By-Numbers, the Iowa FFP display in the Southeast Atrium of the Varied Industries Building has built a reputation as a wow-worthy attraction for fairgoers.
“Our annual presence really helped put Iowa FFP on the map,” Putze says. “A loyal group of volunteers and visitors make sure a stop at the display is on their fair ‘to-do’ list each year.”
The past decade of fair fun has provided an invaluable opportunity for Iowa FFP to connect with Iowa consumers well beyond the 11-day celebration. Thanks in large part to the Iowa State Fair presence, Iowa FFP has grown its fanbase of social media followers and Fresh Pickings eNewsletter subscribers to continue meaningful conversations on all things food and farming.
Photos from 10 Years of Iowa State Fair Fun