The initiative was spearheaded by the current chair of IAFE, Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe of West Virginia. "She's been involved in the fair business almost all of her adult life," Calico says. "And she is passionate about the role fairs play in their community."
Many fair employees help out in the community outside of the fair, and fairs also hold food, clothing and book drives. "We knew that many fairs have already been quietly doing these types of things," Calico says. "Fairs are doing good things, so we knew there was already a track record but there was no comprehensive way of measuring that."
So, Pierson-Jolliffe presented the idea to the association's management team, and the initiative was born. Now, data can be collected. "We've got a running tote board," Calico explains. Donations are tallied each time someone goes online and submits totals. "We're just shy of 200,000 pounds at this point in time."
And it's still early in the fair season. Many state fairs have yet to start. "We're excited and we know a lot of fairs are going to be doing some big things," Calico says. "When you get someone who is involved with the fair I'll guarantee you they are doing 100 other things in their community already."
The Fairgrounds Are Also Hosting Events Throughout July:
*July 9-13: American Shetland Pony National Congress
*July 11: Gathering on the Grounds
*July 12: Auto Races
*July 13: Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction & Fair Food Grazing Party
*July 17-22: Polk County Fair
*July 19: Auto Races
*July 19: Mid-States Horse Show
*July 26: Auto Races
More information is available at the Calendar of Events on the Fairgrounds website. The calendar is updated frequently, so check back often for additional upcoming events as well as any cancellations.
The Fairgrounds has space to accommodate just about any event, large or small. For building rental information, visit iowastatefairgrounds.org or call 515.262.3111 ext. 221