Iowa State Fair’s new CEO starts today

DES MOINES — Today is Jeremy Parsons’ first day as the Iowa State Fair’s CEO and general manager.

Most of the plans for the 2023 Iowa State Fair in August have been made well in advance, according to Parsons. “The best thing I can do is go to the Iowa State Fair as their new CEO and really watch and learn from their very talented staff and look to see what I can do to help and support them,” he said last week.

Parsons worked as a seasonal employee at the Iowa State Fair when he was 17. A former English teacher and coach, Parsons was in charge of fundraising for the Missouri State Fair when he was hired in 2011 to be CEO of the Clay County Fair in Spencer. He was in Spencer last week for the announcement of his successor at the Clay County Fair.

“The Clay County Fair is such a special place and it’s hard to leave here,” Parsons said, “but I’m just excited about the opportunity to move on to the Iowa State Fair.”

In a news release announcing his new position, Parsons said
“it’s an honor to be chosen to serve as a caretaker of one of Iowa’s most beloved institutions.” Parsons, who is 45, is replacing Gary Slater, who retired after serving two decades as CEO of the Iowa State Fair.