HUTCHINSON — The International Association of Fairs and Expositions gave the Kansas State Fair a top award for its Kansas Road Trip.
The trip, "Ike’s Kansas Road Trip," promoted corn and Kansas. Ike is the fair’s mascot.
The association gave the fair first place in the sponsor exposure category, a partnership with Kansas Corn and the organization’s campaign, Fueled by Kansas.
"While we had to cancel the 2020 Fair, it didn’t mean we couldn’t still celebrate our great state," Amy Bickel, the fair’s marketing director, said in a release. "The idea of showcasing Kansas’ beauty and tourist attractions, plus the people who call Kansas home, allowed us to find a way to still provide sponsorship support to a longtime partner, Kansas Corn, and its ethanol promotion, Fueled by Kansas."
Fueled by Kansas educates the public about mid- and premium-grade fuels made from Kansas corn. The website, FueledByKansas.com, gives customers information on the benefits of ethanol and where they can find participating stations with E15 and higher blends. Kansas Corn’s goal is to support Kansas farmers by growing their markets and creating jobs.
As part of the sponsorship, Ike completed several trips across Kansas. With the trip "powered by E15 fuel," Ike stopped at stations along the way that sold the E15 blend. Ethanol is a renewable, plant-based fuel made from field corn. The ethanol sold at Kansas gas stations is grown and refined in Kansas.
"We’re not sure how many miles Ike and his team traveled. He went from Mount Sunflower — Kansas’ highest point near the Colorado border — to Atchison, Amelia Earhart’s birthplace along the Missouri border," Bickel said. "He drove on Route 66 through Galena, stopped at the world’s largest ball of twine in Cawker City, peered down the world’s largest hand-dug well in Greensburg, was deputized as an honorary marshal in Dodge City and witnessed a Wild West gunfight in Caldwell."
The International Association of Fairs and Expositions, based in Springfield, Mo., serves state, provincial, regional and county agricultural fairs, shows, festivals, exhibitions and expositions. IAFE represents more than 1,100 fairs around the world and more than 900 members from allied fields. Annually, about 2,000 fairs are held in North America.