10 Reasons the Indiana State Fair is the Best of Indiana

Earlier this week, the Indiana State Fair was named one of the Top 10 State Fairs in the country by Fodor’s, the travel authority. Anyone who’s been to the Indiana State Fair knows that it deserves the honor, but newcomers to the fair might not understand. The Indiana State Fair opens on August 1, 2014 for seventeen days of Hoosier fun. Of the top ten mentioned in Fodor’s it’s the longest fair in the Midwest, and only the fairs in Texas and Arizona run longer.

Indiana_State_Fair-Midway__FCFThe Indiana State Fair tradition dates back to 1852, with the current Fairgrounds opening in 1892. It’s the sixth oldest fair in the nation.  This year marks the 157th Indiana State Fair, which shows that this is not a fly-by-night kind of event. Here are 10 reasons, some traditional, some not, that the Indiana State Fair is the best state fair around.

1) Headlining Concerts- every year, there are amazing, current acts playing a headliners at the State Fair. The Beatles played in 1964, the Jackson Five played in 1973. New Kids on the Block played in 1989, and this year, Pitbull  and Phillip Phillips take the stage. Huge concerts at the Fair are part of the fun.

2) The 4H Exhibitors- Take a walk through the animal exposition hall, and you will see engaged youth everywhere. Several years ago, my very young daughter was enamored by the rabbits. A teen spent probably 15 minutes answering her questions. That scene has repeated itself in assorted barns around the fairgrounds. I’m always impressed with the amount of knowledge the exhibitors share.


3) The Midway- Oh the midway, lit up at night. If you haven’t seen, mark your calendars to go after sundown one night. It’s the best.

4) Indiana Beef and Pork tents- There’s no better way to eat local at the fair than to have lunch at the Indiana Beef or Indiana Pork tents. YUM.


5) The Beer and Wine Exhibition- This is new this year at the Fair, I’m assuming it’s going to be a good addition to all of the food and beverage offerings there.

6) Little Hands on the Farm- this tradition is a favorite among the preschool set. Little ones can experience plantings, feeding animals and then selling their crops in exchange for a treat. Even not-so-little ones enjoy this ritual.

Catching=Fish-State-Fair-FCF7) DNR building and activities- the DNR building features a lot of Indiana’s aquatic life, and around the back, kids can learn how to fish. How fun and unexpected is that?


8) Climbing on the Tractors- Reynolds Farm equipment has an enormous number of tractors on display, and kids are welcome to climb all over them.

9) The cheese sculpture- I only learned about this a couple of years ago. An cheese artist carves a scene out of cheese. You kind of have to see it to believe it.


10) The hot air balloon launch- This year the hot air balloon launch will happen on opening day. What a wonderful way to kick off 17 days of what Indiana is all about at the Indiana State Fair.

Curious to see what other fairs ranked up there with Indiana? Check out the Fodor’s article.