IOWA CITY

FRYfest to recognize 2004 championship team, Kinnick traditions

Annual celebration now in its 11th year

Former Iowa football coach Hayden Fry points to a member of the audience after the unveiling of his bronze statue at the Sept. 2, 2016, FRYfest in Coralville. The annual festival — held the day before Iowa’s first football game of the season — will be Aug. 30 and celebrate the 2004 University of Iowa football team that won the Capital One Bowl. (The Gazette)
Former Iowa football coach Hayden Fry points to a member of the audience after the unveiling of his bronze statue at the Sept. 2, 2016, FRYfest in Coralville. The annual festival — held the day before Iowa’s first football game of the season — will be Aug. 30 and celebrate the 2004 University of Iowa football team that won the Capital One Bowl. (The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The 2004 University of Iowa football season didn’t start off as a particularly memorable one.

After opening the season with wins over Kent State and Iowa State, the team suffered a 44-7 loss at Arizona State.

“We went down to Tempe, Ariz., and got throttled,” recalls Brian Ferentz, a member of the 2004 squad and the Hawkeye’s current offensive coordinator.

But, after finishing the month of September at 2-2, Iowa won its remaining games, culminating with a win over Louisiana State University in the closing seconds of the Capital One Bowl with a play Hawkeye fans simply refer to as “The Catch.”

That 2004 team will be recognized at this year’s FRYfest in Coralville on Aug. 30, the day before the Hawkeye’s first game of the reason against the Miami, Ohio, Redhawks.

The annual festival will feature a panel of players from the 2004 Big Ten championship team, including Matt Roth, Warren Holloway, Chad Greenway and others.

As in years past, the celebration of the Hawkeyes — named for former head football coach Hayden Fry — will feature the world’s largest Hawkeye trade show, a pep rally, a concert and fireworks, as well as a panel discussion and autograph session with the 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame class, which was announced Tuesday during the FRYfest news conference.

This year’s FRYfest also will celebrate 90 years of Kinnick Stadium, which opened in 1929.

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“The 11th annual FRYfest will be a celebration of Kinnick traditions,” said Monica Nieves, vice president of special events and communications with the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Nieves said those traditions — ranging from the first-quarter wave to children in the UI Children’s Hospital to the pink locker room for visiting teams — will be showcased in a “museum-like exhibit” at FRYfest.

Since kicking off in 2009, FRYfest has seen the renaming of First Avenue in Coralville to Hayden Fry Way, the unveiling of the Hayden Fry statute and the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people dancing the hokey pokey and the longest recorded game of bags.

This year’s concert will feature ’80s cover band, The Spazmatics. A local act, City Park, will open the concert. Concert tickets go on sale June 19. The remainder of the events are free.

Josh Schamberger, president of the visitors bureau, said it’s hard to believe FRYfest is turning 11 this year. The event, he said, started off as a “simple celebration” of Fry.

“Then 20,000 Hawkeye fans showed up, and we realized we might be onto something,” Schamberger said. “Here we are 11 years later.”

• Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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