Iowa State Fair’s Iconic Barksdale Cookies Business Gifted to The Fair

State Fair
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DES MOINES, Iowa-The owner of Barksdale Cookies at the Iowa State Fair has announced he will be giving his business to the Iowa State Fair. The chocolate chip cookies have been sold at the Fair since 1993.

“We just felt that was our way of giving back to the people of Iowa,” said Joe Barksdale in a media announcement on Thursday morning. “People say why would you give something so valuable way why would you just keep it this is what we wanted to do.”

Barksdale started the business after he retired from a career with BP and other companies. He didn’t sell many cookies at first, but then sales took off. Last year he sold two million cookies at the Fair, with people waiting in line.

The State Fair is building a new cookie kitchen at the west end of the Grandstand.
That will join the Varied Industries kitchen, and three trailers on the fairgrounds also baking, and selling.

“We’ve been planning for it and Joe has really been instrumental in sort of talking us through exactly he’s very specific he has you know the recipe down to a T,” said Mindy Williams of the Iowa State Fair. “He’s been dreaming about this building since the early 2000’s, I think that is a great legacy that we can leave.”

Joe’s family is okay with this gift to the State Fair.

“Absolutely it’s the best thing” said Kathy Cornwell, Joe’s daughter. “I’m 63 years old I’m getting tired I don’t know how he’s lasted until 92.”

“Why would you give something so valuable away, why wouldn’t you just keep it, people asked Barksdale “This is what we wanted to do.”


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