What's New

New to the Iowa State Fair in 2021: The Elwell Family Park

The Elwell Family Park will feature family friendly events, including a tractor pull in 2021; other events, like barbecue competitions, monster trucks and rodeos anticipated in future years

Elwell Family Park
Elwell Family Park

Blue Ribbon Foundation

5.3.2021

Today, 100 days from the opening ceremony of the 2021 Iowa State Fair, the Iowa State Fair is pleased to announce a new attraction in 2021, the Elwell Family Park, which is made possible thanks to a transformative gift from Denny and Candy Elwell. As a result of the Elwell's generosity, Fairgoers will enjoy the return of tractor pulls at the 2021 Iowa State Fair. Additional family friendly events will come in the future, including monster trucks, rodeos and barbeque competitions among others.

"The Iowa State Fair is the best part of our family's summer," said Denny Elwell. "Some of my fondest childhood memories are attending the Fair with my Mom and Dad. I have continued that family tradition bringing my children and now they are bringing their children to our great Iowa State Fair. Candy and I cherish the time we are able to spend here with our family, making memories they will treasure. Being able to share our love of the Iowa State Fair by contributing to its future is a great honor for our family. We are excited for the memories that the Elwell Family Park will create for Fairgoers."

Denny and Candy Elwell pledged $2 million to support the development of the Elwell Family Park, located in the northwest corner of the Fairgrounds. The Elwell Family Park was originally scheduled to break ground in 2020 and be completed for the 2021 Iowa State Fair. Due to COVID, the timeline for the project had to be reconfigured.

"The generosity of Denny and Candy Elwell is an inspiration for the Iowa State Fair," said Peter Cownie, Executive Director for the Blue Ribbon Foundation. "The Elwell Family Park is the capstone to the largest capital improvement project the Iowa State Fair has ever undertaken. Phase 1 of the Elwell Family Park will be a wonderful addition to the Iowa State Fair in 2021. The future is bright for Fairgoers because of the generosity of great Iowans like Denny and Candy."

For the 2021 Iowa State Fair, tractor pull fans will experience permanent seating for 2100, grass hills for viewing and additional seating, a concessions trailer and temporary restrooms. Additional seating, for a total capacity of 6000, permanent restrooms and expanded concessions will be completed in the near future.

The Elwell gift is dedicated to the development of this project to attract even more family friendly events for the enjoyment of Fairgoers now and in the future.

Iowa State Fair Tractor Pulls sponsored by Titan Tire, maker of Goodyear Farm Tires, will take place on August 17th and 18th. Tickets will go on sale at www.iowastatefair.org with further details to come from the Iowa State Fair and Outlaw Truck & Tractor Pulling Association.

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The Blue Ribbon Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to raising funds for capital improvements on the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. Funds raised by the Foundation may only be used on infrastructure projects and may not support the Fair's general operations. Over the past 25 years, the Foundation has contributed funding for more than 50 major building renovation or construction projects and an untold number of smaller projects. Through private donations, grants, corporate contributions, state funding and supplemental funding from the Iowa State Fair, the Iowa State Fairgrounds has been revitalized over the past 25 years. The funds for this phase of Elwell Family Park have all been provided through a private gift from Denny and Candy Elwell. With this gift, the Elwells have contributed over $3.3 million to the betterment of the Iowa State Fair.