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Walt Disney at the Iowa State Fair

Posted August 05, 2015 in Adel, Altoona, Ames, Ankeny, Beaverdale, Community Blogs, Bondurant, Boone, Clear Lake, Clive, Des Moines West, Downtown, Greene County, Grimes, Johnston, Norwalk, Perry, Pleasant Hill, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, Windsor Heights, Winterset

No – Walt Disney won’t physically be present at the Iowa State Fair, but, he will be present in “spirit”. The “spirit” is in the form of keeping the State Fair clean and attractive. Anyone that has visited a Disney property knows the “rest of the story” and that they are extremely clean and well kept.

In Walt Disney: An American Original, author Bob Thomas writes that Walt visited county fairs, state fairs, circuses, carnivals, and national parks while researching the idea of Disneyland. He studied the attractions and what made them appealing, and whether people seemed entertained or felt cheated.

Apparently, his most depressing experience was seeing Coney Island. He found it battered and tawdry, and the ride operators hostile.

According to the author “his spirit revived when he visited Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen”. Dating from 1843 and still operating successfully, the park was spotless, brightly colored, and priced within the reach of everyone. The gaiety of the music, the excellence of the food and drink, the warm courtesy of the employees – everything combined for a pleasurable family experience.

“Now this is what an amusement place should be!” Walt enthused, his vision for a fundamentally different kind of park confirmed.

Walt insisted that his developments would stay clean because “people are going to be embarrassed to throw anything on the ground.”

That “Disney Spirit” has become the philosophy encouraged by Keep Iowa Beautiful for any event or property whether it is a local parade, Ragbrai or the Iowa State Fair. With that philosophy and “spirit” comes a sense of pride and respect.

It is our feeling and that of the Iowa State Fair that every visitor should leave the event with a feeling pride and respect for the events, experience and the quality of grounds and facilities. In addition, that is the desire of the Blue Ribbon Foundation as it continues to help improve the quality of the grounds and facilities.

Every visitor should take that message and experience back to their community and put it in place at their local fairs or festivals. Every time that is done, there will be a significant improvement to the beauty of the event and the area. It will encourage a repeat visit and experience and set a great standard for others.

Thank you Walt!

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