Supporters of the University of Iowa and Northern Iowa will be able to get a temporary tattoo from their school at this year’s state fair — but Iowa State University fans won’t get a freebie symbol to show support for their school. I.S.U. marketing director Carole Custer says the budget is to blame.

“We will not this year, in order to cut costs, be handing out the popular Cyclone tattoos….and we won’t be doing the Cyclone headbands, the Cy headbands,” Custer says, “we really felt this was one year where we really needed to preserve funds, the university needed to preserve funds for educating our students.”

Custer says she hopes fans will understand why the aren’t giving the traditional free items this year. She says they estimate they’ll save about $30,000 with she says is a “substantial portion” of their Iowa State Fair exhibit costs. Custer says the cost for the exhibit in the Varied Industries Building at the fair is “not cheap,” and she says they’re fair budget was “drastically cut.”

Custer says the lack of the free give aways is the only thing that will change at their fair setup. Custer says the university is very committed to having a presence at the fair and she says the 4-H exhibits and all the others will be there, as she says they believe they have a good message to tell people about the economic contributions the university makes to the state of Iowa. Custer says they will still give away posters from the athletic department and also have a drawing for free football tickets to the season opener.

University of Northern Iowa director of marketing, Mary Taylor, says the Cedar Falls school will operate the same as they have in past years. “We’re not really scaling back this year,” Taylor, “we feel that the fair is a great place for U.N.I. to connect with Iowans that we don’t get to see at other times of the year, and we always have a really positive and great response from our alumni and others that visit the booth, and we felt it was important to maintain that presence and continue to be in front of our friends and alumni in the state of Iowa.”

Taylor says free Panther tattoos will be a big part of their display. “We’re gonna do tattoos again this year, they’re incredibly popular with the younger crowd, as anyone who as been at the fair has seen,” Taylor says. She says they also will be giving out a keepsake pendant that is geared toward recruiting students and their parents to U.N.I.

Taylor says their budget is around $30,000 for the fair and says volunteers help keep the costs down. She says they have around 250 alumni volunteers that help in the booth and 30 or 40 staff volunteers that take a day off and help out. Taylor says the fair is a unique opportunity to reach a lot of people.

Taylor says they do about 30,000 tattoos for the fair and says they estimate around 100,000 people pass by the booth and are exposed to U.N.I. “We can’t buy that type of exposure for any better deal than we get at the fair,” Taylor says.

University of Iowa director of  the university news services, Stephen Pradarelli, says they have done what they can to hold costs in check at the fair. But that doesn’t include cutting the Hawkeye tattoos. “That’s pretty much what draws them, we’d like to think…that its the staff there, their pretty faces, but its the tattoos, the rub on tattoos and the posters,” Pradarelli says.

Pradarelli says they are grateful to the athletic department for providing the free posters. He says they will look to hold down costs in other ways. Pradarelli says they made a conscious choice to not change the layout of their exhibit, as that costs money. He says they also will use wireless instead of wired internet, and will be conservative about the number of passes they give to volunteers and exhibitors. Pradarelli agrees with his counterparts that the fair is a great place to reach a lot of people.

Pradarelli says it’s a “one of a kind” event and a great place to connect and talk up Hawkeye sports, and the academic programs of the university. He says they get a lot of parents who come by and ask questions about various programs. Pradarelli says the U-I will spend about $35,000 on its fair exhibit this year, and it is almost unchanged from last year. The Iowa State Fair runs from August 13th through the 23rd.