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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Aug. 12, 2005

Iowa State at the state fair

by Annette Hacker and Anne Krapfl

It's early August, it's hot and humid, and you're craving a corn dog. It must be state fair time. Iowa State University will return to the Iowa State Fair, which runs this year Aug. 11 through Aug. 21 at the fairgrounds on the east side of Des Moines.

Reiman Garden-style oasis

Iowa State's cardinal and gold display will be an oasis at the northeast end of the Varied Industries Building. Visitors will be able to walk among more than 150 tropical plants encircling a garden fountain, all from Reiman Gardens. Displays of pinned exotic butterflies and samples of the famous Griffith Buck roses from the world's largest collection at Reiman Gardens also will be on display. Fun faceboards will entice children to "become" butterflies and flowers, and grown-ups can capture the moment on camera -- photo taking is encouraged, said Carole Custer, ISU Marketing director.

Prospective students can learn about internships at Reiman Gardens and how the gardens are used as an academic tool at Iowa State. Other visitors can find out more about educational opportunities and social events at the gardens.

"We are excited to bring a portion of the gardens to the people of Iowa," said Reiman Gardens director Teresa McLaughlin. "Our hope is that the exhibit will encourage more people to take advantage of all the programs we offer."

Reiman Gardens polo shirts, memberships and butterfly shadow boxes will be given away daily.

Also at the ISU exhibit, Custer and crew will temporarily tattoo more than 30,000 Cyclone faithful during the fair's 11-day run. There will be drawings for Iowa State football tickets, an Iowa State afghan, and tickets to Miss Saigon, which comes to C.Y. Stephens in September. Cyclone football posters and athletic schedules will be free for all, while they last.

Fridays are Cy-Days at the fair

Iowa State's mascot, Cy, will be the star of the show on Fridays at the fair. He'll be at the exhibit 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 12, and 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19. It's all part of a new school pride campaign, Eye on Cy. Over the next several months, Cy will be spreading ISU pride throughout the state, encouraging fans to support ISU and show their pride by wearing Iowa State apparel.

ISU Extension at the fair

The Iowa State University Extension exhibit in the east end of the Grandstand will feature invasive species -- plants, animals, insects and diseases -- that were accidentally or intentionally introduced into Iowa and are harming the state's environment.

Invasive alien species take a financial toll on Iowa industries such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Vivid photos and examples of several species will be on hand. Fairgoers can learn how to stop or reverse the spread of these species.

The Extension exhibit also will highlight the USDA's new food guide pyramid. Visitors can enter data about themselves into computers and learn more about their personal diet needs. (It's a good idea to stop and do this before you contemplate the deep-fried Snickers on a stick.)

Fairgoers who complete a technology survey are eligible to win an iPod Mini (one will be awarded daily). WOI Radio's "Talk of Iowa" (9 to 10 a.m.) and "Midday" (noon to 1 p.m.) broadcasts will air live from the ISU Extension booth.

Across the fairgrounds, nearly 4,000 youth exhibits will fill the 4-H Building. Iowa 4-Hers will provide more than 1,000 performances, including presentations, working exhibits, "Share the Fun" talent acts and extemporaneous speeches.

Celebrity judges

During a celebrity 4-H "judging" program -- not the official judging -- high-profile Iowans will review youth projects that match their areas of expertise or interest. Celebrity judges this year include ISU President Gregory Geoffroy, Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack, Better Homes and Gardens editor Karol DeWulf Nickell, and Minnesotan Garrison Keillor, host of public radio's "A Prairie Home Companion."

More than 2,000 4-H participants representing every Iowa county will exhibit an estimated 8,000 beef and dairy cows, horses, dogs, poultry, sheep, rabbits and pigs at the Iowa State Fair this year.

More about ISU Extension at the fair, including the sights from several Webcams, is online at


ISU state fair exhibits will feature Reiman Gardens, Cy, invasive Iowa species and the new food pyramid and more. The fair is Aug. 11-21.