Brown fair board vice president
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
Date Modified: 09/10/2012 2:47 PM
DES MOINES —This is Alan Brown's third Iowa State Fair as board member representing north central Iowa, and his first year as fair board vice president.
Brown farms near Hampton with his father, Lowell.
Brown just completed his 25th year on the Franklin County Fair Board, and he spent eight years as an Iowa Association of Fairs director for north central Iowa.
Dan Greiman of Garner refers to Brown as his "heir to the throne." Brown was elected to the post Greiman held for 44 years.
"Truthfully, I couldn't have picked a better man to succeed me," Greiman.
"I have big shoes to fill," Brown said.
"That Alan is already vice president is indicative that the board recognizes how talented he is," Greiman said. "It's one of the shortest times being on the board to being elected an officer."
The vice president usually serves two years before being elected to a two-year term as president.
As vice president Brown assists the board president with his duties.
"He often runs his ideas past me," Brown said.
The Iowa State Fair hosted the International Association of Fairs and Expositions' Spring Management Conference this year.
"We had many guests and staff from other fairs who had never been to our fairgrounds, and they were just awestruck by how beautiful the grounds were here with green and trees," Brown said.
As a fair board member, Brown takes an interest in all parts of the fair.
"But the south end of the fairgrounds is still home," he said. "I grew up showing cattle. It's not that the rest of the grounds isn't absolutely wonderful, but that's where my memories are at."
Brown is elected to his post by directors from county fair boards in north central Iowa.
"The county fairs make the state fair what it is," Brown said. "This morning I've talked to directors from the Grundy, Hardin and Floyd county fairs. They're down here, active with their kids, and they volunteer. That's what makes us so strong."
Brown spends 15 days in Des Moines during the fair.
Education is an important component. The Animal Learning Center where fair visitors witness a variety of animals giving birth and learn about farm animals is a huge asset.
"It's a beautiful building, and it's a great tool to show what we do in agriculture to people who are several generations removed from the farm," Brown said.
The fair's ag education department is tops, Brown said.
"They work really hard to tell the story of agriculture," Brown said.
Brown's favorite part of the fair is at night when the lights come on.
"You go down to the south end and you have people who have been showing all day, and they're sitting on show boxes talking, and it's nice to see the interactions of the families," Brown said. "I like the lights at night whether it's the food stands or the lights in the barn. Even when they're showing draft horses at night and the sparkle off the wagons, it's a different picture when the lights come on."
Brown said his father, Lowell, who is 87, was at the fair in 1932 when the fair staged a train crash in front of the grandstand.
"I thought that was a neat story," Brown said.