Gotta Love Being Paid to Go to the State Fair

by David Strege, CFP®, CFA, CKA®, Senior Financial Planner | November 25, 2019

Our family made our annual pilgrimage to the Iowa State Fair in the summer of 2019. As we toured the fairgrounds, we made our numerous loops through the Varied Industries Building. We walked quickly by most of the booths, but decided to stop at the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt booth. Within a few minutes on their automated system, we found out that our daughter, my wife, and I had funds we could claim.  

Our daughter received hundreds of dollars from a previous employer’s paycheck that had never been delivered to her to cash. With verification of her address, she completed everything online at the fair, and within a couple of weeks received her money.

It took some treasure hunting skills to locate funds for my wife, Jen, and me. We couldn’t verify the addresses online so we accessed when we got home and printed out the required forms. The first address was one of our previous business addresses, and through a past corporate tax return, we could prove our connection with that address. We didn’t recognize the other address. With some online research, we found that it was a person to whom we had provided a gift certificate. They never used it and had subsequently died. With proof of our connection to that person, we received a total of $201. Now we have money for next year’s Iowa State Fair!

You don’t have to be at the Iowa State Fair to access the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt system. You can go to the website,, any time to see if you have some treasure. Remember to check it periodically to recover lost funds.


“Each year, millions of dollars are turned over to my office as lost or abandoned. The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt began in 1983 to help reunite Iowans with their lost property. Since then, my office has returned over $250 million to more than 500,000 people.”

Michael L. Fitzgerald, State Treasurer