Indiana State Fair
August 22, 2015
Indiana State Fair
One of my all-time favorite events in the world is the Indiana State Fair. It is something that I have been attending regularly since I was a small child, growing up with-in about a mile or so from the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, I was able to ride my bike over to the fair often and usually went multiple times throughout the course of the event. Kathy, our friend Dakota and I were able to attend last year, but I thought I was probably out of luck for this year until I learned that my friends Jody and Deron would be getting married in Indianapolis during the time of the fair.
Of course I would not miss their wedding under any circumstances, but having them schedule it during fair time was an added bonus, so I headed up a couple of days early to be able to take advantage of the fair.
The Indiana State Fair has been an ongoing annual occurrence since 1852 and has been held at the fairgrounds every year since 1892. The fair is the third largest state fair in the US and attracts close to a million visitors annually. It has been host to many famous musical acts including the Beatles and has also been the site of a couple of disasters as well. In 1963 a propane tank exploded at the Coliseum which killed 74 people in the worst disaster in Indianapolis history.
More recently, in 2011, high winds caused the collapse of the grandstand stage during a Sugarland concert killing 7 people and ended the long standing practice of outdoor concerts at the racetrack grandstands. But in spite of these tragedies, the fair has been host to way, way more happy memories. It has something for everyone and just about everyone shows up to check it out.
One of the things that I like most about the fair is the great diversity of people who show up to take it in. Thousands of farmers and rural folk show up to show their prize livestock and enter all the 4H competitions, but also since the fairgrounds is located in the heart of a very urban neighborhood, city folk who may have never even seen a cow show up in droves as well.
You might think this mix might be a cause of some tension, but just the opposite seems to be true as the diverse crowds interact and enjoy the fair together. Everyone seems to love the fair. I know I do. Whether the tacky carnies on the midway, the crazy food vendors offering up the latest fried concoction or the farmers showing their swine, cattle, and other farm animals, it is a glorious mix of traditional and tacky.
Erika & Michael
Last year, for the first time ever, the fair began allowing limited alcohol sales in a special section honoring the state’s Craft Beer and Wine industry and once again I was back to enjoy this wonderful new pavilion. Here I could taste a variety of Hoosier beers just like I could sample tomato juice or local honey in the agricultural building. It is a great new addition to the fair.
I was so happy to be able to attend the fair again this year, in fact I am going to try and return before heading home, as I was only able to spend the day on this visit and the fair at night is an entirely different animal.