So a few years back my great friend Chris decided to take me to the state fair as a birthday present. I had never been to one before, so it was going to be a real treat. I didn’t know what I was in for. I’d heard Jeff Foxworthy and others talk about the bountiful amount of rednecks there. I’d heard about the deep fat fried twinkies and candy bars. But unfortunately fate was not on my side. On the road trip there, Chris’ car broke down. He had a 4-H buddy nearby that he called who helped to patch up the car enough to get it back home. We did have a nice time talking on the way to the fair and back, but we never actually got there.
Now shortly after moving to Indiana I find out that we live very near the state fair. I suggest to my wonderful wife that we go, and she agrees. Like me, she had not been to a state fair before. But I’ll let her tell her story later this week…
We head to the fair with my mother and grandmother in the car with us. It still takes about 45 minutes to drive there. The parking was much easier than I imagined. The fairground has this huge ring in the middle that is open for parking during the day, with the buildings and stands of the fair situated around the ring. All around the ring were countless booths selling the same fair fare. There were corndogs, tenderloins, lemon shake-ups, sno-cones, burgers, dogs, brats, some barbecue, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Since most of the fair was on the concrete, it felt hotter and I didn’t really want to eat a lot of hot foods. I got a corn dog, an Italian Ice, a tenderloin and fries for lunch, and I had some pancakes for breakfast when we first got there. I look forward to going back in future years. I simply MUST eat a fried twinkie or fried oreo or fried kool-aid.
On the south side of the fairgrounds they had a lot of buildings full of animals. We saw goats, sheep, horses, chickens, ducks, geese, and rabbits. Since the fair goes on for so many days, a lot of the families that bring animals get extra stalls and basically move in for the weeks that they stay. For the most part, they kept the animal buildings well ventilated so the smell couldn’t build up. I was appreciative of that.
We had hopes to see a lot more shows than we did make. We got to see a Tap Dancing group composed of retirees. That was neat. Even if they’re not the best at what they’re doing, the energy it takes is astounding. You could see the joy on their faces too; at least on the faces of the ones not counting their steps. Then we went with mom & grandma to see the Weiner 100. They had this small track and they brought out three adorable small dogs at a time (predominantly dachshunds) and they’d zoom around the track to some treats kept on the other side. I worried a little that they might starve the animals to make them want the treats so bad. Then I remembered my parents’ dog Oki, and her boundless energy when she was a puppy. Even if she’d just eaten a huge bowl of food, she’d still want a treat and still beg at the table for scraps. So they probably treat all their dogs just fine.
I have two complaints to lodge, but I don’t think there’s anyone I can lodge them with. Having never been to the fair, the website led me to believe that certain food items would be available at certain times. There was going to be a big breakfast with pancakes, veal bacon, juice and coffee for just $4. Well when we got to the fair we looked around and saw a number of booths open selling different breakfast stuff. The first one we went to was $4, so I figured that was where I needed to be. All they had was pancakes though; no meat! Then I’d heard they were having a BBQ contest later sponsored by Shoup’s (a local BBQ sauce brand, I guess). I was figuring there’d be all manner of delicious edibles being sold from that competition. Sadly, there wasn’t. The contestants all had their own tent and weren’t selling the food they were working on, and the Shoup’s people had small samples and sauce for sale. We had to walk halfway across the fairgrounds to find a place that sold BBQ, and the line for it was insane. Overall I felt this could have been better described on their website.
I also checked out the Indiana State Fair Android application on my phone. That had a decent map and listed showtimes of different things going on. I think they could have improved this as well. It didn’t show my location on the fair map, even though I had data and GPS on. Also if I selected a show I wanted to watch, it could have offered to set a reminder for me to make that show. These are minor things, but would have made their app much more useful to me during the day.
Overall a fun and tiring time was had by all. We did a LOT of walking, even though we took advantage of the trolleys they had set up.