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"Excursion Day and the Harvest Home Festival began in 1898 to introduce the work being done at the college to the people of the state of Iowa. Excursion Day was held the last weekend in September or the first weekend in October. The railroads had special excursion trains for the trip to Ames, and the first celebration drew 6,000 people. All departments were open to visitors. The military battalion drilled on central campus, accompanied by the college band. A livestock parade was followed by a program featuring music and speeches by the Governor and other distinguished guests in a large tent on Central Campus. Some years featured a football game and the 1906 program included women' s basketball and field hockey.
"Excursion Day was held from 1898 until 1906. It was dropped for 1907 and 1908, then held again in 1909. After that time, the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad would no longer furnish trains at special rates to come to Ames, and the fall festival was not held again."
Source: Iowa State University, History of Iowa State: Facts and Trivia
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