DES MOINES, IOWA (December 6, 2022) — The Iowa State Fair earned numerous awards and honors at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) annual convention earlier this month.

Two Iowa State Fair Board members, Gary McConnell, of Bloomfield, and Gary Van Aernam, of Exira, received the IAFE Heritage Award. The awards were given in recognition of their long-time commitment and dedication to the Iowa State Fair, as well as volunteerism and involvement in their respective communities.

In the Agricultural Awards competition, the Iowa State Fair won the following first-place awards: Technique/procedure/policy developed by Fair Management to correct an issue or challenge related to an agricultural issue; Newly-established or evolving program/exhibit at your fair which promotes agriculture or a current agricultural issue to the fair-going public; Program/event/exhibit designed to educate consumers/fair-going public on the Story of Food; Agriculture Individual Photo: Livestock (Not Equine); Agriculture Individual Photo: Horticulture/Crops; Agriculture Individual Photo: Misc; and Any other agriculture program/exhibit. Second-place honors were given for the Agriculture Individual Photo: Equine and Agriculture Individual Photo: Rodeo. Third place was given for Agriculture Individual Photo: Ag Education (4-H/FFA). An Overall Award was given for Program/event/exhibit designed to educate consumers/fair-going public on the Story of Food.

In the Competitive Exhibits division, the Iowa State Fair was awarded five first-place awards for the New CLASS of Competition; Competitive Exhibit (Single Photo); Competitive Exhibits (Photo Series); Special Contest and Additional Competitive Exhibits Measures Taken NON-TRADITIONAL. Third place was given for Creative Display (Single Photo). An Overall Award was given for Special Contest.

In the Innovation in Sponsorship category, the Fair earned first-place awards for First Time Sponsorship; Sponsor Continuity and Sponsor Exposure. A second-place award was given for Sponsorship Innovation. An Overall Award was given for Sponsor Exposure.

In the Hall of Honor Communications category, the Fair earned first-place honors for Miscellaneous Marketing and Online Advertisements. Two second-place awards were given for Souvenirs and Commemorative Items and Best Marketing Campaign. Eight third-place awards were given for Television Commercial; Digital Advertising Video; Radio; Single-Sided, Flat Promotional Ad; Double-Sided, Multi-Page, or Folded Promotional Ad; Promotional/Advertising Poster; Social Media and Out-of-the-Box Marketing/Promotion.

In the Non-Fair Facility Usage category, the Fair was awarded four first-place awards for Printed Promotional Material Specific to Facility Rentals; Website (Facility Specific); Facility Beautification Project and Capital Improvement Plan and Execution. The Fair earned a second-place award for Successful Non-Fair Event at your Facility produced or co-produced by Facility staff. An Overall Award was given for Capital Improvement Plan and Execution.

The IAFE awards are divided into five divisions based on attendance and are judged by a team of industry experts. The Iowa State Fair competed against other fairs and festival members with attendance over one million. The Iowa State Fair is a proud member of the IAFE, which represents more than 1,100 fairs and festivals around the world and more than 900 associate members from Fair-related fields.

Frequently ranked as one of the top events in the country, the Iowa State Fair is the single largest event in the state of Iowa and one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country. Annually attracting more than a million people from all over the world, the Iowa State Fair, located at East 30th and East University, just ten minutes from downtown Des Moines, is Iowa's greatest celebration with a salute to the best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement. Best Days Ever at the Iowa State Fair, August 10-20, 2023. For more information, visit

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