The third annual FRY Fest is shaping up to be even better than in past years, organizers said at a news conference Thursday.
“Our goal was to create an event celebrating all that is Hawkeye,” said Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our fans agree that we’ve been able to do just that.”
This year’s event on Friday, Sept. 2 will honor 1972 Olympic gold medalist and former Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable. It will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Scottish Highlanders and the 25th anniversary of the University of Iowa women’s field hockey championship.
Activities include a special, live production of “This is Your Life” with Gable, a Tailgate Row, a kid’s zone and the return of the world’s largest Hawkeye tradeshow.
There also will be a concert event Friday night, Schamberger said, but the headliners won’t be announced until May 13. Past headliners include the Charlie Daniels Band and Three Dog Night.
“We can tell you all a hint – we’re going country this year,” Schamberger said.
Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth, UI athletics director Gary Barta and Gable also were at the news conference. Hayworth said all proceeds from the concert once again will go to Coralville’s 4th Fest, where Gable will be the grand marshal for the annual Fourth of July parade.
“Dan Gable is unparalleled as a wrestler and a coach,” Hayworth said. “He’s without a doubt Iowa’s greatest sports figure.”
Barta noted that the seven home games of the Hawkeye football season bring in more than $100 million to the area. That’s reason enough to kick off the season with a celebration like FRY Fest, he said.
“It’s part of the fabric of living here in this state,” Barta said. “We’re glad every year to use this as a way to kick off the season.”
Gable said he is honored to be a part of this year’s festival.
“FRY Fest is a big deal,” he said. “In my life … with the first football game (of the season), I always know that the next season is wrestling.”
FRY Fest, named after former Hawkeye coach Hayden Fry, was created in 2009 as a collaborative effort between the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the City of Coralville and UI Athletics as a celebration of all that is Hawkeye. Last year, the festival hosted the Guinness World Record’s largest Hokey Pokey Dance with 7,384 participants.
This year’s festival is hosted by the Eastern Iowa Airport and will be at the Iowa River Landing.
For more information, go to www.fryfest.com.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football