Carole Custer, Marketing, (515) 294-3134
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University will sponsor the opening day of the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 10 as its kick-off to the all-university "Strengthening families to become the best" celebration.

The highlight of Iowa State University Day will be the Grand Concourse, which will feature more than 35 displays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. focusing on various Iowa State programs. Among the Iowa State Grand Concourse displays will be a mock presidential election; a virtual tornado exhibit; scientific demonstrations; and live models posing as Christian Petersen sculptures. Cy, the ISU Cyclones mascot, will be on hand and available for pictures. Iowa State event tickets and merchandise will be available for purchase.

Fairgoers who wear red and gold on opening day can sign up for a "Cyclone Weekend" package, which includes tickets to the ISU-Nebraska football game, Dixie Chicks concert and overnight accommodations at the Gateway Center Holiday Inn, Ames.

An ISU spirit rally will be at 5 p.m. on the fairground's Grand Concourse Stage. The rally will recognize seven Iowa families chosen to host Iowa State community visits during the academic year. The rally will honor Theresa Uchytil, a graduate of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication who recently was crowned Miss Iowa, and her family.

Richard Seagrave, interim president designate, and Carol Meeks, dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, will make brief comments. The rally also will feature the pep band, cheer squad and pom squad.

The fair's opening ceremonies will be at 10 a.m. in the Pella Plaza. Meeks will speak at the ceremonies, and ISU singers will perform the "Iowa State Fair Song." From 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., "Share the Fun," a showcase of the best Iowa State Extension 4-H talent projects, will be on the Grand Concourse Stage.

Iowa State will have a high profile throughout the fair.

As part of her annual butter sculpting tradition at the fair, Duffy Lyon will create a butter sculpture of Christian Petersen sculpting his famous work, "The Gentle Doctor." Petersen was an artist-in-residence at Iowa State from 1934 to 1955, and his sculptures are now campus landmarks. His work will be the subject of a major exhibit at the University Museums this fall. Lyon was a student of Petersen's.

During the fair, ISU architecture graduate Brian Berg will build various structures out of playing cards, including a replica of the Campanile, in the Cultural Building on opening day. Berg has earned several Guinness world records for his card structures.

The university's main exhibit in the Varied Industries Building, "Strengthening families to become the best," will feature two interactive displays. Fairgoers can enter stories about their families on a database. Visitors also will be able to measure their strength and endurance at the "Strong Folks Stay Young" portion of the exhibit. Representatives of the admissions office will be available to respond to questions about enrolling and studying at Iowa State. The exhibit also will be headquarters for the popular Cy face tattoo. Fairgoers can sign up for daily drawings for Iowa State Center event tickets, Cyclone football game tickets and T-shirts.

WOI Radio and ISU Extension will have an exhibit in the east corner of the Grandstand, from which "Talk of Iowa," "Midday" and the regular farm and market reports will be broadcast live. Fairgoers will have opportunity to meet on-air personalities and behind-the-scenes staff.

ISU Extension's exhibit will feature a multimedia presentation on tracing food products from producer to consumer, and a display encouraging fruit consumption.

The College of Agriculture exhibit in the Agriculture Building will focus on food safety and food science. Visitors can check out some food-borne bacteria and pathogens under microscopes, watch a simulation of new food safety technology called "electronic pasteurization" or "irradiation," and search a food safety database. There will be an activity for children to learn about food safety, and a drawing for meat certificates and other prizes from Iowa commodity groups. Information about enrollment opportunities in the College of Agriculture will be available.

ISU Extension will be all over the fair, through thousands of 4-H displays, presentations and animal and horticulture exhibits.


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