It’s that time of year again, when the smell of roasted corn on the cob and hot dogs permeates the summer air, and high-pitched screams and laughter can be heard from the midway. Yes, we are talking about the Indiana State Fair, and it’s happening now through August 18 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
This year’s theme is “Fun at Every Turn.” A blue ribbon bearing these words hands from a building close to the Midway. Attendance has been very strong thus far as thousands have come to experience all that this year’s fair has to offer.
Getting to the Fair
With so many people making the trip by car, parking can be scarce at times. The FairTrain is a nice alternative to driving yourself by car. The train departs from the Indiana Transportation Museum at 116th & and Municipal Drive in Fishers for a round trip journey to the Fair.
Fortunately, for anyone coming to ride the train, parking at the Indiana Transportation Museum is free at a specially designated lot. Riding the FairTrain is fun for kids who’ve never been on a train, and takes the hassle out of finding a parking space at the fairgrounds for adults.
There is quite simply so much to do at this year’s fair that it would be next-to-impossible to sum up in a brief article. Here are a few highlights…
What’s any celebration without food? Expect to encounter over 139 different food stands, spread throughout the 250 acre facility. Guests will receive free popcorn by simply visiting the Farm Bureau Building.
Grilled steaks and even roasted corn on the cob hand-dipped in butter sauce are among the many mouth watering choices that are available at the fair.
One unique food option, the “U-Do-It Slush Factory,” allows guests to design their own thirst quenching slushies.
Some of the industry’s top names will perform free concerts, including Styx, Joe Nichols, Kevin Costner and the Modern West Band to name just a few. But not every act at the fair is a national act. This horn ensemble may not be a big name, but they sure are fun to watch.
“The Dazzling Mills Family” is a talented and funny act that features talented jugglers, unicyclists, and acrobats. They have appeared on the Discovery Channel, Crook and Chase and Penn and Teller to name a few. The above video clip demonstrates the performer’s fire-juggling skills, not to mention comedy.
Midway for the Kids
There’s something special about the wide-eyed look on a child’s face on a fun ride. This year’s fair features the Kiddie Land Midway, which was designed specifically for young guests. It’s a chance for parents to make lasting memories with the young ones.
“Little Toot” is just one of several fun rides that very young kids can enjoy at the Indiana State Fair.
The Fun Slide is an exciting 3-lane slide for the little ones. It is a not a water slide, so you don’t have to worry about wet clothes. Instead, kids slide from the top to bottom on a protective cloth layer. Other kids rides include Wacky Worm, Bumble Bee Bop, Speedway and Lollipop Swing to name only a few.
Rides for “Big Kids” on the Midway
Other Fun Stuff to Do and See…
Feeling competitive? There will be several fun games to test both your individual skills, and your ability to compete with friends. These include “Water Gun Fun,” “Whac-A-Mole” and popular machine gun game called “Shoot Out The Star.”
Visitors can also explore a new interactive attraction called “Get Animated.” The exhibit looks at the history of animation and follows it’s progression from the early, hand drawn celluloid animations to the most modern approaches utilized by companies like Pixar, DreamWorks, Sony and Disney.
Sinbad High Dive Show (Aug. 3, 4, 7, 10, 14 and 17)
This amazing show features the slapstick antics of the fictional Sinbad and his crew of pirates who will go to almost any lengths to find the fabled Golden Pineapple. The Orlando-based group is made up of a highly skilled group of divers and gymnasts who perform acrobatic feats and fiery stunts to tell a classic story.
Power of 2 Payoff
Canadian IZOD IndyCar Series driver Alex Tagliani will done a beaver costume as he rides a tricycle around the fairgrounds. The embarrassing act is to payoff of a bet to Indianapolis 500 champion Scott Dixon, who managed to raise more than Tagliani in a recent fund-raising event. As he completes his circuit around the fairgrounds he will make stops along the way. He will have his photo taken with the world’s largest male hog at the Swine Barn, try to chug a milkshake at the Dairy Bar, try to ring the bell at the “Strong Man” game at the midway and even Milk a dairy cow in the Livestock Nursery in the Family Fun Park.
It you’re anywhere near the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand, chances are you’ll be able to hear the entertainment before you see it—things like high school marching bands and monster trucks aren’t quiet after all! Here’s a list of this year’s grandstand events:
- The “Music Travel Consultants” Band Day Contest (Aug. 2) features the top high school marching bands in the state, each competing pride and bragging rights.
- The Lucas Oil Monster Truck Nationals (Aug. 3) showcases the talents of extreme monster truck drivers who will compete in side-by-side drags, wheelie shootouts and freestyle competitions.
- The Lucas Oil Indy Super Pull (Aug. 4) will pit drivers against one another in six different competition classes during two different pulls.
- The “World’s Toughest Rodeo” (Aug. 5-6) will test the courage of 12 cowboys as the try to hang on to some downright rambunctious steers.
- The Fearless Flores Thrill Show (Aug. 7) is a motorcycle event which features a human cannonball, a motorcycle raceway suspended 50 feet above the ground and other dare-devilish stunts.
- A Cheerleading Competition (Aug. 10) will feature Varsity and Jr. Varsity squads from throughout the state.
- Some of the world’s top BMX athletes will launch themselves over 70 feet in the air as they compete in the Freestyle Madness BMX (Aug. 11-12).
- Indiana State Fair Horse Pulls (Aug. 13) will demonstrate the power of horses as the drag weighted sleds down the track.
- Indiana and Grand Circuit horses compete in the Harness Racing (Aug. 14-15).
- The Lucas Oil Indy Mile AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Motorcycle Race (Aug. 17) takes place on a 1-mile track and features racers who will reach speeds up to 120 mph.
- The Lucas Oil Demolition Derby (Aug. 18) is always a fun time as drivers do their best to not drive safely.