Step inside an interactive art gallery at this year's Iowa State Fair


AMES, Iowa -- Visitors to Iowa State University’s exhibit at the Iowa State Fair (Aug. 8-18) will be ushered inside a festive art gallery, where docents will encourage them to touch absolutely everything on the wall and leave as many fingerprints as they like.

Those pesky velvet ropes would never fly at the fair.

Colorful content displayed on 22 iPads and iPad minis and four large video screens in the gallery will demonstrate how Iowa State is “Framing the Future of Iowa” – the theme of this year’s fair exhibit, said Carole Custer, director of University Marketing.

The “hall of frames” will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the northeast corner of the Varied Industries Building.

“The art wall will showcase how Iowa State serves Iowans,” Custer said. “There are three major themes: educating students who become successful alumni; providing research and outreach programs that benefit our citizens; and offering entertainment and cultural opportunities.

“As a land-grant university, we have all kinds of ways to collect ideas and present them to the public, and the state fair gallery is a great way to do that. The thing that makes Iowa State’s exhibit unique is that we develop a theme each year, and we help visitors to understand what makes this university a great adventure for everyone who studies, teaches and provides services to students here.”

Custer promises you’ll also see some impressive trophies and medals encased in art gallery pedestals. Team LunaCY’s trophy from their first-place finish in NASA's annual Lunabotics Mining Competition, the CyHawk trophy, the Big 12 Cross Country Championship trophy and Betsy Saina’s national medals all will be there, among other interesting artifacts. A new glass sculpture by artist Josh Simpson, “Tektite Portal,” will be unveiled at the state fair exhibit. It symbolizes the exploration that drives ISU research. The sculpture will be installed in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development following the fair.

Giveaways, merchandise and special guests

In addition to the 30,000 Iowa State temporary tattoos and 40,000 football posters being given away, daily prize drawings will be held. Visitors can register to win tickets to a Cyclone football or volleyball game, or a show at Stephens Auditorium.

University Book Store will be a part of the exhibit with special Iowa State merchandise for the fair, and Cy will make an occasional appearance.

ISU President Steven Leath and other senior administrators are scheduled to stop by the booth to visit with fairgoers. Iowa State Women’s Head Basketball Coach Bill Fennelly will be in the exhibit from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 12; and Head Wrestling Coach Kevin Jackson will appear from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

Post your fan photo to Iowa State’s Facebook page

Again this year, Cyclone fans are encouraged to snap and share photos from Iowa State’s fair exhibit on Facebook and Twitter (@IowaStateU).

Iowa wine experience

Fairgoers can find out how ISU Extension and Outreach is helping with Iowa’s growing wine industry at Grandfather’s Barn and the Iowa Wine Experience. ISU extension viticulturists will be on hand to answer questions, and daily grape stomps allow everyone to get in on the fun.

Scavenger hunt

ISU Extension and Outreach will encourage fairgoers to “Discover More” with a scavenger hunt that takes participants to Extension and Outreach locations across the fairgrounds. Each of six locations has a keyword participants can record, and with all six keywords, they can enter online for a chance to win an iPad.

Cardinal and gold day

Fairgoers are encouraged to show their Cyclone pride on Friday, Aug. 9, by wearing cardinal and gold to the fair! ISU Extension and Outreach will be at various locations handing out reusable shopping bags that day, and Cy will appear.

Iowa 4-H at the state fair

Thousands of youth from across the state will participate in the 2013 Iowa State Fair with exhibits, presentations and competitions. The 4-H Exhibits Building features more than 4,000 exhibits from Iowa 4-H’ers, and 4-H agricultural exhibits at the Iowa State Fair include beef, dairy, dog, horse, horticulture, poultry, rabbit, sheep and swine. Other events include:

  • Many acts involving hundreds of 4-H members will take the stage in “Share The Fun,” a communication event in which 4-H members share talents and skills in front of a live audience.
  • Teams will compete in the Bratney Companies 4-H Robotics Challenge on Sunday and Monday, Aug. 11-12.
  • Youth will create French, South American and Cajun cuisines in the Cook This! 4-H Culinary Challenge Friday and Saturday, Aug. 9-10.
  • Nearly 200 youth will compete in the Awardrobe Clothing Event on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 15-16, at the Memorial Union on the Iowa State campus.
  • 4-H’ers will showcase youth-produced films in the Iowa 4-H Film Festival Showcase on Saturday, Aug. 17.

Food finder app for iPhone

ISU Extension and Outreach is once again partnering with The Des Moines Register to bring fairgoers the Food Finder app for iOS devices. The app provides fairgoers with an easy way to find the food and vendors they seek, as well as nutritional information for popular menu items. Users also may calculate how much activity is required to burn calories, and check an included calendar for health-related events. The app can be downloaded from the App Store.

Doctor making house calls

Dr. Bruce Leuschen, a clinician in the department of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, once again will serve as the Iowa State Fair’s veterinarian. He and his assistants are responsible for the health of the thousands of animals being exhibited, as well as those participating in special events.