What better way to celebrate everything Hawkeye than hosting a festival honoring one of Iowa’s most beloved coaches? FRY Fest, named after legendary Hawkeye football coach Hayden Fry, will be held Friday in Coralville.
“It’s to celebrate Hawkeye spirit,” says Alyssa Dahmer, communications intern for the Iowa City-Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
It also will celebrate Fry’s 20-year coaching career at Iowa and his humanitarian effort supporting local farmers, Dahmer says.
This year marks several milestones for Fry. He celebrated his 80th birthday in February, and 2009 is the 30th anniversary of his hiring and the 10th anniversary of his retirement as the University of Iowa’s winningest football coach.
At 10 a.m. Friday, Hayden Fry Way will be unveiled at a ceremony at the intersection of First Avenue and East Ninth Street in Coralville. The stretch between Interstate 80 and Highway 6 is the most traveled in Johnson County and is the stretch of road Fry drove for 20 years to his office. Fry plans to attend the ceremony.
But that’s not all. There will also be “The World’s Largest Hawkeye Tradeshow & Tailgate Party,” featuring more than 60 exhibitors, will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 300 E Ninth St. Current athletes and coaches, as well as former Hawkeyes, including Dan Gable and Tim Dwight, will make appearances.
At 1:30 p.m. Fry will be on a panel with Hawkeye broadcasters Bump Elliot, Jon Miller, Ed Podalak, Bob Brooks, Ron Gonder, Gary Dolphin, George Wine, Frosty Mitchell and John Campbell.
Campbell, who started at KCRG-TV9 in 1979, the same year Fry started as UI’s coach, says Fry was an interesting person to cover as a reporter.
“You never knew what you would get,” Campbell says. “He could be funny, he could be serious, he could chop your head off.”
But Fry was always respected and was always thinking, Campbell says.
“When you went to games when Fry was the coach, there was a good chance Iowa was going to win,” he says.
Other tradeshow activities Friday include exhibits, a car show, Hayden Fry look- and sound-a-like contests, a Hayden Fry namesake photo and a Hawkeye pep rally at the Iowa River Landing on corner of Ninth Street and Quarry Road. In recognition of Fry’s 143 victories, 143 Harley-Davidsons will ride down East Ninth Street to kick off the pep rally. After the pep rally country artist Jake Owen will perform, followed by the Outlaws and the Charlie Daniels Band.
Organizers hope FRY Fest will become an annual event. While this year particularly celebrates Fry’s accomplishments, future events will focus more on the Hawkeyes.
— By Angela Holmes, The Gazette
What: FRY Fest
Where: Various locations in Coralville
More information: (319) 337-6592 or http://fryfest.com/
10 a.m.: Dedication of Hayden Fry Way, intersection of First Avenue and East Ninth Street
11 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Tradeshow and tailgate party, Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 300 E. Ninth St.
1:30 p.m.: Hawkeye broadcasters panel, Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
3:30 p.m.: Hayden Fry contests, Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
5 p.m.: Hayden Fry namesake photo opportunity, Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
5:30 to 6:15 p.m.: Hawkeye pep rally, Iowa River Landing, corner of Ninth Street and Quarry Road.
6:30 p.m.: Concerts begin at Iowa River Landing. Features Jake Owen, The Outlaws and The Charlie Daniels Band.