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Indiana State Fair: 1990 vs. 2015

Indiana State Fair: 1990 vs. 2015

Thursday Throwback: Before we review the Indiana State Fair of years past, let's First solve the mystery of the young ladies in our 1953 time machine visit to Morgan County.

Last week the Thursday Throwback blog featured a time machine stop in the September 5, 1953, Indiana edition of Prairie Farmer. Specifically, it stopped on a story about Morgan County.

It featured two young girls. Here's the picture again, this time with the caption. The girl with the hammer was Marjorie Brown. Her sister, Lynn, held a dog. They were the daughters of Orzo Brown and his wife in Ashland Township.

If you know anything about this family, email tbechman@farmprogress.com.

Names revealed: Here is the original caption that ran with this article in 1953. Come back next week to learn more about the history of state fair organization.

Meanwhile, the Time Machine moves to August 15, 1990. According to the Aug. 7 issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer, the Indiana State Fair opened Aug. 15. This year it opened Aug. 7. It would run for 11 days through Aug. 26. This year, it runs 17 days through Aug. 23.

4-H grand champions were to be selected on Aug. 17. The sale of champions was to be held three nights later on Aug. 20. There is no longer a sale of champions. There's a 4-H celebration in which 4-Hers with champions are presented with scholarships. It's been moved this year toward the end of the fair.

Scholarships are awarded if animals pass drug tests. In 2014, it's reported that 10 didn't pass drug tests. Six were lambs.

Perhaps cheating went on then, but there was no mention of drugs in the August 7, 1990, article.

And, oddly enough, politics and the Indiana State Fair were an issue in 1990, just as they are today. Last week's blog about different duties for state fair board members addressed it.

Here's an excerpt from an article by Carl Eiche, then senior editor, entitled 'Realigned state fair leadership blends old with new.' Read carefully and you may get a hint of why confusion is bubbling up again.

"There is no longer a state fair board that runs the fair, takes care of financial matters and manages the buildings and grounds. Instead, there is a new state fair commission that is charged with these last two functions. There is also a state fair committee, and its' sole function is to operate the fair."

~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

Tell us more, Carl.

"During this 1990 state fair, the people who serve on the state fair committee will be the same people who have been on the state fair board. It's not just a name change. The new law also changes the committee's balance of power because of the way it is chosen.

"In the past, eleven members of the state fair board were elected, five were appointed by the governor and there were three ex-officio members (governor, lt. governor and Purdue Extension director.)

"This September seven members of the state fair committee will be elected from new districts, each created to have approximately the same population. In addition, another seven members will be appointed by the governor and the same three ex-officio members who served on the old state fair board will serve on the committee. "

The first chairman of the new state fair commission, charged with finances and management of the grounds, was David Miers, Greensburg, named a Master Farmer in 2007. Governor Bayh asked him to take the positon and leave his post as deputy commissioner of agriculture. He had sat on the Indiana State Fair Board representing the lt. governor. There was no Indiana State Department of Agriculture in 1990.

Who else was on the Commission? What else did Miers say that sheds light on the original intent of the change in 1990?

Travel back with us again next Thursday and we'll reveal more of what Carl Eiche reported on the last big shake-up in state fair organization – before 2015.

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