People & Places

Organizers announce 2018 FRYfest to honor Nile Kinnick's 100th birthday

Event will feature the Pork Tornadoes, new happy hour

Hawkeye fans listen during the men’s basketball alumni panel during FRYFest at the Coralville Marriott on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Hawkeye fans listen during the men’s basketball alumni panel during FRYFest at the Coralville Marriott on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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IOWA CITY — The 10th FRYfest will the 100th birthday of one of Hawkeye Football’s most famous — Nile Kinnick.

The event, which typically features a trade show, pep rally and block party with fireworks, is scheduled each year the night before the University of Iowa’s first home football game. A concert from the Pork Tornadoes and a panel discussion from the 1983 coaching staff will headline the Aug. 31 event in Coralville’s Iowa River Landing, future home of an arena that will host Hawkeye volleyball matches.

Organizers debuted this year’s theme during a media conference Thursday morning in Kinnick Stadium. Monica Nieves, Director of Special Events & Communication for the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said a new event this year will be a block party happy hour, which will feature games and drink specials.

“It was just yesterday afternoon that most of us in the room I think were at the Iowa River Landing, celebrating the ground breaking for the new arena project,” said Coralville Mayor John Lundell. “I think FRYfest is very similar to the Iowa River Landing and both continue to grow and only get better year after year.”

Last year’s FRYfest drew about 10,000 visitors throughout the day, Nieves said. The concert, which typically sells between 6,000 and 8,000 tickets, will be held in the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center parking lot with the Pianopalooza opening the show.

FRYfest organizers have also planned a Nile Kinnick birthday party in his hometown of Adel on Saturday, July 7. Birthday treats also will be sent to Nile C. Kinnick High School in Yokosuka, Japan.

Concert tickets are scheduled to go on sale June 1 at various locations around Coralville, such as City Hall and Hy-Vee as well as Midwest One locations, among others.

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“Truly when you come to a Hawkeye Football game that weekend it’s more than just a game,” said U of I Athletic Director Gary Barta. “It’s tailgating, it’s riding the Hawkeye Express. It’s Kinnick magic.”

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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