Blue Ribbon Foundation: IA State Fair

If you live in Iowa or Northwestern Illinois, chances are this time of year you see the commercials, you hear the radio advertisements, and your Facebook page is blowing up with announcements. Have you guessed it yet? That’s right, I’m talking about the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, IA running Aug 10th-20th! It’s the greatest fair in the Midwest, known for the famous “Butter Cow” and the best variety of something “on a stick” that you can think of. Not to mention the big name music acts, fun-filled kids games and activities, and the most thrilling rides around.

What you may not know is that Isabel Bloom has been partnering with the Iowa State Fair’s Blue Ribbon Foundation for the last 3 years.  Like other organizations that we have partnered with, we created a special sculpture for the foundation to sell to help raise funds for their cause. This year’s “Butter Cow” is one of the best yet!

Blue Ribbon Foundation

Blue Ribbon: 2015 contribution

Just to give you some background on the Blue Ribbon Foundation, they were founded in 1993 as a non-profit organization whose main purpose is the renovation and preservation of the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds, which is listed on the national register of historic places.  Since its inception, the foundation has been able to raise over $135 million dollars!!! This has all been made possible through individual contributions, state appropriations,  in-kind services and grants; and fundraising efforts by the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s committee. Which brings me to our partnership.

Butter Cow

Corn: 2016 contribution

As I said earlier, this is the 3rd year Isabel Bloom has partnered with the Blue Ribbon Foundation to help them raise funds toward their cause. Prior years’ sculptures have included a “Blue Ribbon”, a “Corn” sculpture, and this years’ “Butter Cow”.  Since the Iowa State Fair is kind of known for their giant Cow made of butter, first created in 1911 by  J.K. Daniels, we thought it would be neat to create our own version.

Butter Cow: 2017 contribution

Your purchase of the Isabel Bloom Butter Cow will contribute directly to the Blue Ribbon Foundation and help support their ongoing efforts to keep the Iowa State Fairgrounds alive and able to host such events as the Iowa State Fair for years to come! You can purchase the Bloom Butter Cow at the IA State Fair. (It will not be sold in our showrooms or online). Look for the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s booth at the following locations: Grand Concourse of the Service Center, Central Foyer of the Cattle Barn, and the East lower level of the Agriculture building. View the map to find these locations.

*****UPDATE 2/8/18. The Butter Cow is available for a limited time again through the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s website. Order by March 1st, 2018 for your chance to get one before they’re gone again!!! *****

The history of the actual butter cow is rather fascinating. If you’d like to read more about its legacy, visit here.

Check out an exhibit from one of our own!

As you may have figured, we have many very talented artists that work for Isabel Bloom.  Often, many of them make their own creations as side projects to express their artistic talents.  This is true of one of our West Des Moines showroom team members.

Bekah and her family have had their own booth at the Iowa State Fair since 2003! Their creation? WAX HANDS! It’s a fun and crazy way to make a mold of your hands, in any shape you want in up to 9 colors!  One of the coolest things Bekah told me was that they often do baby feet molds too. It’s the perfect way to measure how your children grow over time! They have done baby feet as little as 2 days old all the way to the biggest size foot 15! Can you imagine!?

They also do stone hand molds. These offer more detail than the wax molds do.  Both are fun to make for the whole family! Check out their booth at this year’s fair. They will be located in the southeast corner of the Varied Industries Building.


Come see us in Des Moines!

If you’ve never been to our West Des Moines showroom, stop in and say hi! We are located at 1551 Valley West Drive, Ste 103, West Des Moines, IA inside Valley West Mall on the lower level next to JC Penny.

by Lexi Johnson

Lexi has been with Isabel bloom for 16 years, since she was a youngin’. She has over 50 sculptures of her own because she LOVES Isabel blooms. Lexi has a wonderful husband and a son who challenges her every day but she wouldn’t trade being his mom for anything in the world. In her spare time, she loves being outdoors with her family, golfing, kayaking, and hiking when they can.



  • Sally Dehnert

    August 9, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    I love the cow and really want one. I did not know about your partnership with the Iowa State Fair. Is it still possible to get the corn and blue ribbon?

    • Lexi Johnson

      August 9, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Hi Sally, we are contacting the Blue Ribbon Foundation to see if they have any Ribbon or Corn left and will update as soon as we hear!

    • Holly

      August 10, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      I would love the blue ribbon myself.

  • Robin

    August 9, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    May I ask how much the butter cow sculpture will be sold for? Thanks.

    • Lexi Johnson

      August 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Hi Robin, the Blue Ribbon Foundation is selling them for $35.00.

  • Patricia H Forsythe

    August 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    As a long time Bloom fan, I feel frustrated that since I do not live anywhere near Des Moines, I cannot buy a cow for my collection!

    • Lexi Johnson

      August 9, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Hi Patricia, we apologize for the frustration but just like other organizations we partner with they have the exclusive right to sell the Butter cow how they choose and they only sell them at the IA State Fair.

      • Patricia Forsythe

        August 9, 2017 at 10:38 pm

        Can I contact them to ask them about this? It’s all for the foundation.

        • Lexi Johnson

          August 10, 2017 at 8:39 am

          You certainly can! Here is their phone number. P. 515.262.3111 Ext. 371. I hope they can help you 🙂

  • Cindy

    August 9, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I am very disappointed that this can only be purchased at the fair. I have medical conditions that no longer allow me to attend the fair. 🙁

    • Lexi Johnson

      August 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Hi Cindy, we are very sorry you cannot attend the fair. Perhaps you could convince someone to pick one up for you? 🙂

  • Julie M Colbert

    August 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    I also would love to have the blue ribbon and the corn. I love Isabel bloom. I have not been able to go to the State Fair the last two years because of my father’s health. I will make sure one of my Family members try to get me the butter cow. Please let me know about the two others. Thank you very much

  • Ginni Menke

    August 9, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I would also like to know if it’s possible to buy the blue ribbon
    & the ear of corn. Thank you.

  • Sheila Bertelsen

    August 9, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Where at the fair will they be for sale?

    • Lexi Johnson

      August 10, 2017 at 8:40 am

      Hi Sheila, the Blue Ribbon Foundation will have booths at the following locations: Grand Concourse of the Service Center, Central Foyer of the Cattle Barn, and the East lower level of the Agriculture building.

  • Lexi Johnson

    August 11, 2017 at 9:44 am

    ***For those inquiring about the Blue Ribbon and Corn, unfortunately they do not have any left. They sell out fairly quickly and anticipate the same this year so be sure to get there within the first few days if you want a Butter Cow!
    We do sell our version of the Corn without the Iowa State Fair Logo. And the Cow will be available in our line next year, just not in the yellow finish.

  • Debbie Antram

    August 12, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Is it possible to call and give my credit card info to hold one of the butter cows and then pick it up before the fair is over, if I am not able to attend the fair in the first few days?

    • Lexi Johnson

      August 14, 2017 at 8:39 am

      Hi Debbie, i’m not sure that they will take orders over the phone but you can call them to inquire. P. 515.262.3111 Ext. 371. Good Luck!

  • Kay Williams

    August 15, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Would it be possible to buy the corn from last year? I have the other two and would like this one also.

    • Lexi Johnson

      August 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Kay, we do not believe they have any left but you can call them to inquire. P. 515.262.3111 Ext. 371 . We sell the corn without the Iowa State Fair logo on it if you can’t get a hold of one of theirs and are interested. It’s on our website

  • Lexi Johnson

    August 22, 2017 at 9:32 am

    We’ve just been informed that the Blue Ribbon Foundation is completely sold out of the Butter Cow.

  • Barb Kopriva

    August 4, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    Is there a new Isabel bloom statue for 2018 state fair?

  • Vera Smith

    July 7, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    I would like information on the 2019 Isabel Bloom Sculpture for the Blue Ribbon-Iowa State Fair -Price of sculpture child bottle feeding a pig Thank you.

    • donna young

      July 20, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      Hi Vera, Thanks for your comment. The sculpture this year is called “Champions in the making”. It will sell for $38. They will be available only through the Blue Ribbon Foundation at the following locations during the fair: Grand Concourse of the Service Center, Central Foyer of the Cattle Barn, and the East lower level of the Agriculture building. Thanks again for your interest and support!

Comments are closed.

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