• Iowa State Fair

    Des Moines, Iowa
  • Event Tags
      Nonprofit & Associations,Recent Events
Event Overview
When the Iowa State Fair renovated what is now Ruan Plaza in early 2015, it left this space without any permanent display
structures. Iowa Farm Bureau, which uses this space each year, approached Bow & Arrow to lead a redesign and build this new space for the 2015 fair.

As a company that has been proud to call small-town Iowa home for more than 20 years, Bow & Arrow was honored to have the opportunity to create such an innovative space right in their “own backyard.”

Led by Executive Producer Chris Mars, the team began dreaming and designing the elements that would work together to make the Iowa Farm Bureau Park.

Throughout the design process, Bow & Arrow was focused salvaging, re-purposing and utilizing materials not often used in park settings, but materials that were very “Iowa farm friendly.”

“As a creative company, we like to see the potential in the seemingly ordinary” said Chris Mars. “While at first it may look like a grain bin – we thought it could be an incredible gazebo, shelter and structure.”

The 21’ diameter “Corn Crib Gazebo” stands more that 25’ tall as the focal point in the park. The custom-built corn crib (from a partnership with Iowa company, Sukup Manufacturing) is supported by uprights cased in repurposed Iowa barn wood and sits on top of thousands of pounds of ballast created in feed barrels that also serve as benches and planters. The gazebo has proved very popular and sees almost constant traffic from State Fair goers who relax in it’s shade or watch the televisions installed in the gazebo.

Entrance towers and planters made from this repurposed barn wood and corrugated metal stand over 15 ft. tall and attract attention from all parts of the Grand Concourse.

Custom designed tents and branding surfaces allow the park to not only be aesthetically inviting, but provide innovative spaces for important information to be shared. The park is finished with a custom landscape design which features beautiful Iowa flowers and plants.

Designing this space was just the first step and physically building this park would be no easy task. Led by Technical Director Ben Mars, Bow & Arrow spent weeks before the fair building the individual pieces in their Adel warehouse. The pieces were then transported to the Fair where they were reassembled on-site. The park features were designed to look permanent but be
removable, transforming Ruan plaza back into an open space after the fair.

The end result has been a stunning showcase of Iowa creativity, materials and craftsmanship and the park is anticipating record attendance by the end of the fair. 

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