Iowa State University

News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777



Carole Custer, University Marketing, (515) 294-3134,

Erin Rosacker, University Relations, (515) 294-8870,

Dan Kuester, News Service, (515) 294-0704,

Iowa fun, Iowa food, Iowa flair and Iowa State are all at the fair

AMES, Iowa -- Slather on the sunscreen, put on comfortable shoes and pack the Rolaids. The Iowa State Fair is just around the corner. And Iowa State University will be there for the whole ride -- from a float in Wednesday's kick-off parade to the last corn dog.

This year's fair runs Aug.10-20 under the banner "Only at the Fair." The kick-off parade is at 6:15 p.m. Aug. 9 in downtown Des Moines.

Throughout the fair, Iowa State continues its tradition as a fair mainstay, unfurling cardinal and gold banners in the northeast corner of the Varied Industries Building from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for all 11 days of the festivities.

The Iowa State Cyclone mascot, Cy, will be at the Iowa State display greeting fairgoers, handing out posters and posing for photos on Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. -- 1 p.m. and Aug. 18 from 4 p.m. -- 6 p.m.

One of Iowa State's most popular items returns -- temporary tattoos. An admissions area will be available with information for prospective students, and the University Book Store will create Cyclone Center, a favorite stop for the latest ISU apparel and merchandise. Free posters and Cyclone athletics schedule cards will be available while supplies last.

When the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, suggested that the three regent universities could each focus a portion of their exhibits on the same message -- economic development -- ISU created its theme of "Iowa State University: A leader in energizing Iowa's economy."

"The goal is to communicate to the public that Iowa State professors understand real-world challenges and, through their discoveries and inventions, are helping Iowa's economy grow," said Carole Custer, director of university marketing.

Stand up for State

Life-sized standup cutouts will be used in the university exhibit, depicting a dozen professors and graduate students who have helped boost Iowa's economy with their discoveries or inventions. Custer said the standups occasionally cause spectators to stop short, stare or have photos taken with them. The cardboard ambassadors will join real, live volunteers at the ISU exhibit to help create public awareness and "put a face on Iowa State and the discoveries that are helping business and industry to expand in Iowa," Custer added.

An interactive state map at the exhibit allows just a touch of the finger on one of the 99 counties to reveal all of the companies and communities Iowa State assisted in that county in just the last year.

Extension is cool

After spending the last nine years under the grandstands, ISU Extension moves into the air-conditioned and newly reconfigured 4-H Exhibits Building. Extension will bring a display called "Germ City" to visitors just inside the front entrance.

"Germ City" will feature a black-light tunnel and a special lotion that illuminates "germs" on fairgoers' hands before and after washing. This display is similar to an exhibit at Washington's state fair that doubled soap usage on the grounds.

According to communications manager Elaine Edwards, ISU Extension's move to the 4-H Exhibits Building was made for many reasons, but one of the biggest was "to really help fairgoers understand that 4-H is a part of Iowa State University."

The new location will house a display on avian flu awareness, as well as four "Eat to Compete" work stations aimed at young athletes and their nutrition needs. The work stations feature activities and interactive computer games for visitors.

The 4-H Exhibits Building will be filled with nearly 4,000 individual exhibits grouped into project areas throughout the rearranged space.

"Visitors to our building this year will see a little bit different look," said Mitch Hoyer, 4-H youth development program coordinator. "I guess we thought after 25 years, it was time to change things a little bit. Some folks will walk in and they may wonder where they are."

Special events include the 4-H Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 20, a celebrity showcase that matches prominent Iowans with 4-H exhibitors, and a 4-H passport activity for the fair's younger visitors.

Iowa State women's basketball head coach Bill Fennelly and former governor Robert Ray are just two of the individuals scheduled to participate in the celebrity showcase. Meanwhile, youngsters can pick up a "passport" at the information booth in the 4-H Exhibits Building, then take it to the various exhibit areas throughout the building to have it "stamped" after each visit.

If you can't get to the fair, you can check out the live Extension and 4-H web cam feeds during the fair at


Live webcam

If you can't get to the fair, you can check out the live Extension and 4-H web cam feeds online.