Chairman, Business Publications Corp. Inc.
As I write this, the Iowa State Fair is in full bloom and, across town, an international golf tournament is getting underway. Adel is cleaning up after its annual Sweet Corn Festival last weekend. And in LeMars, near my hometown of Merrill, the Plymouth County Fair wrapped up a couple of weeks ago.
Traditional events and special occasions are important to community life. As shared experiences, they unite us in warm memories and in eager anticipation. Because of Iowa’s agrarian history, our state grew on the strength of numerous and close-knit centers of rural commerce and culture. That may be a foundation of the phrase “Iowa nice,” because one key to our heritage is the support of neighbors helping one another. Even today, Iowa has 460 towns with populations under 1,000, and we remain among just 15 states whose populations are still more than 50 percent rural.
Iowa’s larger cities have grown, in part, by providing new opportunities for young people from those communities, people who have retained their small-town values. No wonder cities like
Des Moines are so often described as “a big small town.” It’s a compliment to the spirit we see throughout the state.
It has been my lifelong privilege to be an Iowan. I flirted briefly with other options years ago. But Iowa’s too much a part of me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’re new to Iowa, I hope this annual magazine will help you to see our state as I do—a place of generosity, opportunity and civility.
If you’ve been an Iowan for some time,
I trust that you’ll recognize the character of the land and people in these stories, and that you’re as proud of Iowa as I am.