Renovations and Improvements

Nothing Compares to the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds! The Iowa State Fair was first held at its current location in 1886, and buildings and landmarks have changed over time. As a result, projects and renovations are regularly taking place on the Fairgrounds.

2024 Fairgrounds Projects

  • A new Campground restroom is being built up the hill east of Gate 4.
  • The Department of Natural Resources is making improvements to the Iowa DNR Building.
  • Exterior and interior work is being completed on the Iowa State Fair Police Headquarters building.
  • New marquees will be placed at East 30th and East 33rd Streets.
  • New handicapped parking spaces can be found at Gate 13.
  • Renovations will be taking place at Hillcrest Dorm.
  • Restorations will be made at Ye Old Mill.
  • Remodeling will be done at the women's restroom west of the Administration Building.
  • New lighting in Lot C at the northeast corner of the Fairgrounds.
  • Conversion of some water fountains into water bottle filling stations.

Livestock Barns Renovations

  • The livestock barns - sheep, horse, swine and cattle - are undergoing extensive renovations over the next few years. The livestock barns will undergo a historic $25 million renovation. The structures will be renovated from top to bottom with updated roofing, flooring, lighting, restrooms and offices.
    • Each barn will have additional upgrades for specific needs. Current livestock barn progress:
      • Sheep Barn
        • Restoration of brick and terracotta masonry
        • Remodeled office spaces
        • Installation of new underground storm sewer on the north, west, and east sides
        • New roofing on all lower level areas including wood sheathing repair and replacement
        • Remodeled existing restrooms and brand-new restrooms to meet current accessibility standards
        • Repainting of the entire interior of the building
        • New sun-shading for the show arena

The Blue Ribbon Foundation received a $5 million donation from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation to begin the renovation project. Iowa Select Farms and Jeff & Deb Hansen have committed $2 million specifically for the Swine barn portion of the renovation. The Foundation will also receive $12 million from the state’s “Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund.” All Iowans are welcome to support the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s fundraising efforts needed to complete the project. Learn how you can "Back the Barns" with the Blue Ribbon Foundation.

The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation was established to raise funds to help preserve and improve the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Learn how you can contribute to America's favorite fair and what renovations and improvements have been made since the foundation's inception in 1993.

Questions about renovations and improvements at the Iowa State Fair? Email or the Blue Ribbon Foundation.

Sheep Barn terra cotta and masonry work
Agriculture Building sidewalk work
Public Safety Building work