We asked two Des Moines chefs, George Formaro and Jacob Demars, to taste and rate 10 new foods at the 2019 Iowa State Fair. Brian Taylor Carlson/Wochit, Brian Taylor Carlson/Wochit


Fairgoers will notice at least one missing food on a stick when visiting the Iowa State Fair this year.

Fair squares, the multi-flavored crispy rice treats previously sold by the Blue Ribbon Foundation, are no longer available, according to Drew Sniezek, the foundation’s communications manager.

“The foundation decided not to have the concessions stand this year simply because in the last four years sales have been declining,” she said. “Considering our mission is to fundraise, we decided to put our efforts toward other fundraising opportunities.”

Starting in 2010, the foundation sold the Fair Squares from the lawn of the Administration Building just across from the Grandstand. The foundation used a couple different suppliers over the years, Sniezek said, but the Fair Squares sales simply weren’t proving to be a growth opportunity.

“But there are a lot of other ways to give back to the Blue Ribbon Foundation during the fair,” Sniezek said.

The Blue Ribbon Foundation has other fundraisers going on during the fair, including water bottle and souvenir sales, Sniezek said. Any memorial plaques or bricks on the grounds also act as a fundraiser for the foundation, she added. 

The foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year is the Corndog Kickoff, which this year saw more than 2,000 people raise about $514,000 for fairground renovations.

In the stand’s place this year is a Goldman Sachs small business display highlighting successful businesses from throughout Iowa.

But the good news for those who are really upset they can't have their crispy rice treat is that not all hope is lost. 

“I’m not going to say that the Fair Squares wont ever be back," Sniezek said.

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