By Ginnie Hargis, Jan 2017
My husband, Ron McBroom, and I are the Madison County Reps for the Iowa Barn Foundation. We are also the Coordinators for the IBF booth at the State Fair.
Pioneer Hall at the Iowa State Fair. Photo courtesy of the IOWA STATE FAIR.
As coordinators, we ask for volunteers to sit in the booth and talk with visitors who stop by, answer questions they have or steer them to their County Rep or the IBF website to get additional information about grants, etc. We enjoy it and it makes you feel good about answering their questions and helping those who want to save barns – their own and those of others.
We also set up a display to draw attention to our booth. For those who don’t know about IBF, we can explain what it is about and encourage them to join/donate to help save Iowa’s barns.
The left half of the barn shows what it looked like before. The right side shows what it looked like after renovation with the help of an IBF grant.
For several displays, we used a ½ inch scale model of our barn that Ron had built and in 2015 we had a 1 inch scale model of our neighbor’s barn that Ron built. We began entering the competition in the Heritage Division in Pioneer Hall, so that we would automatically qualify for a booth. All we needed was a display of 10 or more antique items. We try to do barn/farm related items (they must be different every year) for the display. The “barns” were not part of the competition but they were allowed to sit in the booth. Two years ago, we won a white ribbon and this past year we received a red ribbon. The prize money won was donated back to the Barn Foundation.
For 2016, we came up with a new display. Early in the spring, Brian Vandewater, the Adair County Rep for IBF, stopped by to chat about our plans for the 2016 State Fair booth. We tossed several ideas back and forth. One that Brian brought up was a video/DVD showing the barns that would be on the IBF Fall Tour. He wondered if a monitor/All-In-One computer might work. We all thought it would; as long as the IBF webmaster could get the programming done for a continuous scrolling of the barns.
Then the question of how to mount it for all to see and how to keep it safe while the booth is unattended? We would need a cabinet or something to hold it. Ron thought it should look like a barn!
We had our assignments, Brian would work on getting the okay to buy a computer and to get it programmed to show the barns and/or access the IBF website for grant guidelines, etc. Ron would work on building a barn front with an opening for the computer. I would help Ron and also come up with our display of antiques/primitives.
Ron built the barn front with a sliding hay mow door. The computer would be mounted on the back and would show through the door. Brian built a steel bracket to bolt the computer in place. Ron shingled the roof and built a fence with cedar posts to define our barn yard and to also stabilize and help hold up the barn. Half of the barn was fresh painted and half was left as is - a before and after view - a placard mounted on the barn stated there were grants available from the Iowa Barn Foundation for painting and repair.
The barn front was about 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall. Because it would have to be loaded on a trailer and hauled into the Fairgrounds, then carried into Pioneer Hall and set up in our booth, Ron thought it best to build it in two sections and then re-assemble once we got it into Pioneer Hall. It must be set up and ready prior to Monday before the Fair starts. An extra big thank you to Brian V. for volunteering to meet us there early Sunday morning. With his help, we got everything inside, the barn and fence set up, the computer installed and the display of antiques put in place.
We had barn magazines from prior years available for people to take and business cards with the dates of the IBF Fall Tour that Brian V. had printed. People liked the cards because they were small and could be put in their pocket. We estimated that we gave out about 700 of them.
We had a lot of good comments about the display and especially the slide show of the barns that were to be on the Fall Tour.
We will soon be thinking about the upcoming 2017 State Fair and what our plans will be for the booth. Therefore, all IBF members should be thinking now about volunteering to sit in the booth, especially if you have a preference of particular days or for the morning or afternoon shift. It really is a fun way to meet nice people who also care about saving our barns. All shifts are filled on a ”first requested, first filled” basis. Plenty of opportunities for everyone! Thanks to everyone for considering this.