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Information for Exhibitors

People looking at the UI exhibit.

Why does the University exhibit at the Fair?

The Iowa State Fair offers a great opportunity to showcase University programs that connect Iowans to their university.

How many exhibits will be selected and when will they run during the fair?

We usually feature about 15-20 exhibits—one or two for each day of the Fair, August 7-17, 2014.

What criteria should be used when considering proposals?

Is your exhibit interactive?
Is it visually appealing?
Will it engage audience members?
Does it showcase partnership with Iowans or for Iowans?
Does it tell an interesting story about the University that would interest Iowans?

Who is the target audience for the exhibits?

Alumni of the University of Iowa, current and prospective students of the University of Iowa, parents and family of current and prospective students, Hawkeye athletics fans, children and general fairgoers.

How many people will pass through the UI booth?

Approximately a million people attended the 2013 Iowa State Fair. The University of Iowa booth is in the Varied Industries Building, a high traffic area at the fair. It is safe to say that more than 400,000 will be exposed to the UI booth during the 11-day run, although exact figures are impossible to project.

A book preservationist shows kids how to save a book that's been through a flood.

How many people will the exhibitors interact with during their time slots?

This certainly depends on the day and weather. For example, weekends have a higher attendance than weekdays and hot, hot weather brings them inside to the air-conditioned Varied Industries Building.  Past exhibitors have estimated that they will have direct interaction with 500-800 people during their six-hour exhibit.  

What type of interaction should we anticipate?

Most interactions will vary between the curious (30 seconds) to the inquisitive
(3-5 minutes). Since it’s the fair, don’t expect lengthy interaction with everyone. Most will peek in to see what you are doing as they pass by the booth. Others will stop to see what you’re doing and glance at the visual materials you have on display. This is where interactive engagement is most helpful in you effort to captivate the audience.  It’s always good to play to the curiosity of the children, as parents will stop when their kids are entertained.

Are the exhibits the only features within the UI State Fair booth?

No. The Hawk Shop, Athletics Hall of Fame, Admissions and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics all have prominent space within the booth. In fact, more than 40,000 people will stop in to pick up Hawkeye football posters and nearly as many will get the requisite state fair Hawkeye temporary tattoo. The exhibitors’ space offers a unique way for other departments and programs to be represented at the fair in a way that is most appropriate to budget and staff limitations.

How much space do exhibitors have to work with?

The exhibitors' area is about 8' x10'. For a layout of the UI State Fair exhibit and the presentation area, click here. The dimensions of the display panel are here.

Is there multi-media accessibility within the exhibit area?

Yes.  Wireless Internet access is available in the booth.  We will have a display monitor linked to a dedicated computer that has standard presentation needs (PowerPoint, DVD player, etc.). Special programs can installed as needed.

Are there any restrictions on prizes or give-aways?

Stickers and balloons are prohibited, but otherwise feel free to hand out any freebies you’d like.

Is there any funding available to exhibitors?

University Relations will pay for entrance tickets and parking for four people staffing your exhibit, but other costs associated with your exhibit—including printing, photography, travel, meals, etc.—are your responsibility. In some cases deans or department chairs may be able to provide financial support.

Kids looking over the UI exhibit.

Is there support for creating visual display materials?

The University of Iowa Center for Media Production is an excellent resource for creating high quality visual images and storyboards for display purposes.  Also, your collegiate external relations director may be able to suggest additional resources of support.

Will you be available to offer advice to new exhibitors?

Of course! University Relations and Center for Media Production staff will gladly field your questions about the exhibit space and discuss ideas for a compelling exhibit. As there is limited space on campus, we will not be able to set up the exhibit or offer an opportunity view it before the fair.

Additional questions?

General Questions

Steve Parrott, State Fair Booth Coordinator, 319-384-0037

Questions about audio-visual/graphics

Todd Erickson, 319-335-2551