University of Iowa Hawkeye fans celebrate start of football season at FRYfest

Basketball alumni panels top lineup at ninth-annual event

Michael Hunt of Omaha (right) competes against Sean McGrath of Cedar Rapids in the bags tournament during Friday’s FRYfest at Iowa River Landing in Coralville. t
Michael Hunt of Omaha (right) competes against Sean McGrath of Cedar Rapids in the bags tournament during Friday’s FRYfest at Iowa River Landing in Coralville. t

CORALVILLE — Ady Edwards will be attending her first Iowa Hawkeyes football game on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

On Friday, she and her sister, Sydney, were among the thousands who attended the annual FRYfest at Iowa River Landing in Coralville.

Ady, 2, and Sydney, 4, were at the celebration of University of Iowa athletics — held the day before the first home football game of the season — with their parents, Ben and Kerri Edwards, from the northwest Iowa town of Akron.

“I’m a born and raised Hawkeye, so we try to come every year to the home opener,” said Kerri Edwards, adding she’s also a big fan of FRYfest.

“We like seeing all the different stuff inside. We can do it as a family,” she said.

The Hawkeyes take on Wyoming with kickoff set for 11 a.m.

This year’s FRYfest — named in honor of legendary Iowa coach Hayden Fry — offered Hawkeye fans a trade show, concert, pep rally and panel discussions, among other activities.

Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitor Bureau, said the daylong event sees about 10,000 people through the door on average, and he expected this year’s attendance to be the same.

He expected the marquee event to be the men’s and women’s alumni basketball panels, which featured members of the 1980 men’s basketball team, as well as athletes from the 1993 and 2015 women’s basketball teams.

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“The whole goal really is to get all of Hawkeye Nation here 24 hours earlier, eating, drinking, spending the night in the hotel Thursday night, be ready Friday morning,” Schamberger said. “And obviously that adds more money to the local economy.”

Daryl Lutz, 74, and his friend Bernie Prybil, 73, both originally from Lone Tree, said they have attended FRYfest every year since its inception nine years ago. Lutz said he has been going to Iowa games since he graduated from high school.

“(It’s) something to do for this area. I like the coach, I think. I think they run a pretty clean program,” Lutz said. “I enjoy that Iowa football. I always have.”

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

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