Iowa State Fair names new CEO, fair manager

(ABC 6 News) – Officials at the Iowa State Fair announced a new CEO and fair manager.

Jeremy Parsons will replace Gary Slater who announced his retirement in October 2022. Slater had held the position since 2001.

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Parsons has more than 30 years of fair experience, most recently as CEO and manager of the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa, a position he’s had since 2011. Previous to that position, Parsons served as the Executive Director of the Missouri State Fair Foundation.

A former teacher and coach, Parsons spent his early years as a seasonal employee at the Iowa State Fair and as a volunteer at his home county fair in Leon, Iowa.

“It is an honor to have been chosen to serve as caretaker for one of Iowa’s most beloved institutions,” said Parsons. “The Iowa State Fair holds a special place in my heart and I am humbled to join the team responsible for building upon the Fair’s rich heritage and traditions.”

Parsons has a B.A. degree in English from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO., and a M.A. degree in education from William Woods University in Fulton, MO.

Parsons recently completed his reign as Chairman of the International Association of Fairs and Expos (IAFE) and was honored with the Fairman of the Year award from the Association of Iowa Fairs in December of 2022. He is a graduate of the IAFE Institute of Fair Management and is a Certified Fair Executive.

Parsons will take over in early March. He and his wife Kelsi have three sons.