Indiana State Fair II
August 8, 2012
Indiana State Fair II
It is hard to select what is my favorite part of the Indiana State Fair. I sort of like it all. I love the huge midway, with all its crazy carny games and rides like the Himalaya, the huge Ferris Wheel, the bumper cars and more. I have been riding those silly rides for years, attending many a ride as often as you like wristband days over the years. I also love the state fair food. So much wonderful food can be found at the fair, most of it certainly not all that good for you, but yummy nonetheless.
Each year, the fair tries to outdo itself with some sort of crazy food item to get some media attention and garner interest. The past few years have focused on deep-fried items, everything from twinkies, to oreos, to girl scout cookies- even bubble gum. This year’s crazy item was Spaghetti & Meatball flavored ice cream…seriously. I could not bring myself to try it, opting for more traditional state fair goodness such as Elephant Ears, Corn from the Lion’s Club, a Tenderloin sandwich and Sutter’s Salt Water Taffy.
The fair is an awesome way to spend a day (or night), I had a fantastic day taking in everything Hoosier. The fair brings me back in touch not only with a raft of great memories, but it reminds me of my Hoosier heritage, which I really am sort of proud of. It is cool to see the best aspects of my home state so ably represented in the myriad of displays and activities and it also brings so many aspects of my state that have always been largely foreign to me.
I grew up in a city and other than in passing while driving down the highway, I never saw a cow or pig, certainly not up close and here at the fair just inches away was a chance to see the World’s Largest Boar, a massive pig that spends the greater part of its day laying on its side because its legs can barely support its weight. This year, I made a special effort to catch livestock shows, including the fascinating world of pig judging, the llama competition in which the llamas are led through an obstacle course not all that different than in some dog shows and even the cattle competition.
In addition, I had the good fortune to be at the fair for the Monster Truck Jam. Held on the dirt track in front of the main grandstands, where I had witnessed all those concerts, the truck jam was pretty much what you might expect, crazy truck creations driving over derelict cars in displays of crazy daring. I have no idea how it was judged, but one truck was eventually declared the ‘winner’ and fans seemed happy. It was sort of cool to see them hurtling over the mashed up cars, but I could not have cared a less about who won.
It was a little sad being in the Grandstands, no doubt one of the first events held at that location since the tragic stage collapse at the Sugarland concert at last year’s fair that claimed so many lives, it is doubly sad that because of the tragedy- concerts are no longer being held at the Grandstand. The good news is that the fair seems otherwise unaffected by the tragedy, and the crowds were back in full force the day I attended.
One of the coolest things about the fair is the huge midway. There is something enchanting about strolling through the midway, with its crazy rides and carnival games. The freak side shows are a thing of the past that I do miss a little, and the only ride I go on these days is the Ferris Wheel to get a decent view of the fairgrounds, but I still love the atmosphere, especially at night when the ride lights and sounds blend into a mélange that is found nowhere else.