Iowa State exhibit at state fair to showcase student innovation

Jake Webster

This year’s iteration of the Iowa State Fair will include contributions from Iowa State, along with a litany of other attractions and the quadrennial visit to the fair by a multitude of presidential candidates.

The fair will feature “more than 150” Iowa State entrepreneurs upon its opening Thursday, continuing until Aug. 18.

Iowa State’s exhibit at the fair, “The Great Iowa State Pitch Off: STANDING InnOVATION!,” will highlight Iowa State innovation and entrepreneurship.

Carole Custer, director of the Office of University Marketing, said in a news release they are “showcasing the energy and creativity of [Iowa State] students.”

“We are showcasing the energy and creativity of our students, and how that results in innovation and entrepreneurial projects that impact Iowa communities and businesses,” said Carole Custer, director of the Office of University Marketing. “Iowa State has never before had daily events of this magnitude at the state fair.”

More than 150 students and alumni from all colleges at the university will compete in “pitch-offs.” They will give a brief presentation on their pitch and then answer questions from the audience.

The news release said fairgoers visiting the Iowa State exhibit will vote whether participants should move on to semifinals by dropping a soybean in a jar.

There will be seven winning pitches announced on the last day of the fair, with Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen and Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert presenting awards to the winners, with the “best in show” receiving a $5,000 award.

Beyond Iowa State the fair will feature the storied butter cow, a bovine sculpture made from “wood, metal, wire and steel mesh frame and about 600 lbs. of low moisture, pure cream Iowa butter,” according to the fair’s website.

The amusement park-style rides at the fair include a “jaw-dropping” roller coaster amid a “clean and family friendly atmosphere.” The fair also features the usual fairground carnivalesque attractions, with dart and ring toss games.

With the Iowa caucuses less than six months away, the fair will host more than 20 presidential candidates, with the candidates set to wander the grounds and scheduled to speak at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox.

The fair is held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Tickets are $12 for anyone over 12 and $6 for children ages 6-11.