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Fall in Iowa isn’t just a season — it’s a way of life. As summer rolls out and the crisp September air takes over the state, fans of both the Cyclones and Hawkeyes prepare to watch their team head into battle, hoping tirelessly for a victory. Yes, college football in Iowa is a tradition, it’s a ritual...and it’s even better with a good tailgating party.

Put on your team’s colors, light up the grill and cheer as loud as you can as the Cyclones and Hawkeyes head into another season of football. After all, this could be the year the Cyclones finally return to a bowl game and the Hawks climb to the top of the Big 10 — crazier things have happened.

Here’s a few ways to tailgate, prepare for and enjoy the game.

PLUSFour bars where you can watch the Iowa vs. Iowa State game | Tailgate recipe

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Make sure to check out DesMoinesRegister.com for all the game coverage, action photos and post-game analysis as the University of Iowa takes on Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

The pre-game crawl: Bars where you can kick back before the big game

Dublin Bay: This Irish pub offers up $1 off hard cider on its Cider Saturday. Sometimes drinking only beer can get boring so mix it up by spending a tailing session on the Dublin Bay patio — it’s right down the street from Jack Trice.

320 S 16th St., Ames

Brick City Grill: This north side bar and grill is the must-try spot for before the game. The bar will be serving up $3.50 Bloody Marys and screwdrivers on Saturdays, giving tailgaters a chance to start the party early with these early-morning options.

2704 Stange Road, Ames

Es Tas Bar and Grill: This Campustown staple offers up some of the best food and drink in all of Ames. Stop in for a plate of nachos and choose from over 100 beers available before heading down to the stadium.

216 Stanton Ave., Ames

West Towne Pub: Getting together for Cyclone football doesn’t need to just happen in downtown or Campustown. Ames’ go-to west side bar celebrates Cyclone football season by having a $11 buckets of domestic beer special on Saturdays.

4518 Mortensen Road #108, Ames

DG’s Taphouse: For the football-loving beer nerd, DG’s offers over 50 beers on tap. Stop in on Saturday for the $2.50 tallboy special.

125 Main St., Ames

Play some games: Get your competitive spirit up before kickoff

Cornhole: It’s not a tailgating session without a game of cornhole. You try to toss beanbags into a hole in a slanted board on the ground some feet in front of you. It’s like basketball, with beanbags and no dribbling and more beer. So, it’s not really like basketball at all. It’s just fun.

Beer pong: Because drinking beer out of a cup someone probably stuck his or her hand in is only sanitary in tailgating situations.

500: This family-friendly game revolves around one person tossing a football into the air toward a group of people and yelling out a point number — like 100 — and whoever catches the ball gets 100 points. Whoever is the first to 500 then becomes the person who tosses the ball into the crowd of people. It’s like the easiest way to knock down the sibling you’re mad at without getting in trouble.

Washer toss: Keeping up with the theme of throwing things, washer toss is kind of like the mixture of beer pong and cornhole. You place the washer box down— which contains a cylinder to which you want to land the washer in — 10 or so feet from where you’ll be tossing in hopes of landing as many washers as possible in the cylinder. Drinking optional with this game.

KanJam: This game — another where things are thrown — requires two cans and a flying disc, like a frisbee. The objective is to deflect the disc into the can for points, the first to 21 wins.

Class it up: Other places to try while you are in Ames

The Cafe

With a rotating menu of fresh ingredients, The Cafe is Ames dining at its finest. The produce comes straight from local farmers and creates a flavorful meal with each plate. Dinner offers up dishes like fire roasted pork loin and wood grilled salmon, with lighter options ready to serve for lunch like the veggie burger or big green salad. Finish the meal with one of the restaurant's fresh pastries to go.

2616 Northridge Pkwy, Ames

+39

Located just around the corner from the Cafe — in Ames’ Somerset subdivision — is a little slice of Italy with +39. Everything at +39 is traditional Italian themed while being prepared and served fresh. The pizza comes on a crisp, thin crust and the flavors melt together with every bite. Pair the pie with a glass of wine for an ideal dinner. Not into going out? The best part of +39: There’s also a delivery option.

2640 Stange Road, Ames

Battle’s Bar-B-Que

Iowa BBQ doesn’t get much better than Battle’s. The Campustown bar-b-que spot offers up savory meats ranging from ham to sliced chicken to even a vegan burger. Don’t sleep on the spare ribs — one plate could have you hooked for a lifetime.

218 Welch Ave., Ames

Della Viti

Downtown Ames is home to Della Viti — a self-serve wine bar. Looking for a classier way to catch the game than a sports bar? Try one of the array of wines ready to pour straight into your glass at Della Viti. There’s local and regional options ranging from the sweetest white to tingling red. And for the folks into into wine — there’s also a steady rotation of craft beer as well as cheese and fruit plates.

323 Main St., Ames

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