State Fair Gives a Boost to Indianapolis Economy

The 153rd Indiana State Fair is expected to pump millions of dollars into the Circle City’s economy, making summer fun add up for Hoosiers. A new study from Ball State University has shown that cost conscious Indiana residents are taking advantage of this fun thing to do in Indianapolis. With fun right in their own backyard and in lieu of that cross country trip to your in-laws, the Indiana State Fair is proving to be a valuable treat for many.

An economic analysis of the fair reveals that, 1.06 million people are expected to turn out to the Indiana State Fairgrounds, up from 859,600 last year. This increase is perhaps due to the fairs extension from twelve to seventeen days, but the economic downturn is also playing a role in this figure jump.


A history of the Indiana State Fair reveals an interesting fact. During weak economic periods, attendance to the Indiana State Fair has jumped. It is entertainment that makes sense for Indianapolis people looking to save a few dollars. Thousands of people are attracted to the Indiana State capitol city where they spend money on food, lodging, gas, and merchandise. And this year with extra days for people to spend money and time in Indy, the economic boost is expected to make a real difference.

Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at one of Indiana’s best universities, Ball State, estimates that out of town visitors spend roughly $61.40 per person. He also says that 65 percent of these expenditures happen off the fairgrounds. People are literally pouring money into Indianapolis business during the month of August.


This year the Indiana State Fair is expected to generate $61.7 million in revenue for the city of Indianapolis and 861 full-time equivilant jobs. Hicks qualifies his projections saying, “This model does not include weather fluctuations, which cna generate variablity in fair visitation. If we continue to see very nice weather for the next couple of weeks, we could see larger than expected crowds.”