FRYfest was created in 2009 as a collaborative effort between the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the City of Coralville, and the University of Iowa Athletics to kick-off the Hawkeye football season. The event is named after one of the greatest Hawkeyes of all time and the man who is responsible for bringing the Tigerhawk to the University of Iowa: Hayden Fry.
The event also serves as a fundraiser for the City of Coralville with proceeds of the concert and beverage garden funding Coralville’s Fourth of July Celebrations.
Its first seven years have included the honoring of Hayden Fry, Forest Evashevski, Dan Gable, the renewal of the 35th Anniversary of the Iowa versus Iowa State football rivalry, a tribute to the fans, a tribute to the quarterbacks from the Hayden Fry era, and a tribute to the 30th anniversary of the “America Needs Farmers” movement. The event has also involved street renaming ceremonies, “The World’s Largest Hawkeye Tradeshow,” a show and shine car show, autograph sessions with coaches and former athletes, outdoor concerts, and a fully-staged, live production honoring Dan Gable. The festival’s most popular accomplishment was breaking the Guinness World Record for the Largest Hokey Pokey Dance with 7,384 participants in 2010. One record, though, wasn’t enough. FRYfest added another Guinness World Record to its name in 2014 by hosting the Longest Marathon Corn Hole (bags) Game of 26 hours, 12 minutes, and 44 seconds.