The Indiana State Fair officially kicks off Friday, Aug. 4, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 20. That means there are 17 fun-packed days to visit the 2017 fair. If you haven’t visited recently, you don’t know what you’ve been missing.
Some highlights worth seeing are there almost every year. You can check out daily schedules so you can plan your trip at indianastatefair.com.
Here are seven things we enjoy seeing at the fair every year. You owe it to yourself to check them out.
1. Play miniature golf and more at the Indiana FFA Pavilion. Play with your kids for free and learn fun farm facts at the same time. You can also shop in the FFA Country Store, stocked primarily with items grown or produced in Indiana. You may want to take your kids to the petting zoo, which is also part of the FFA Pavilion.
2. See agriculture as it once was at Pioneer Village. Spirits will run high as volunteers dressed in the garb of the early and mid-20th century make this the best Pioneer Village event ever, all in honor of Mauri Williamson, who founded Pioneer Village some 50 years ago. Williamson passed away earlier this year. You can watch threshing demonstrations, log sawing and much more. Rare tractors are on display both in the demonstration area and in the antique tractor tent.
3. Relax in the shade of the Pathways to Water Quality exhibit. The trees weren’t very big when this exhibit first opened more than 20 years ago. Located on the northeast side of the track, it’s a virtual model conservation farm in action. Those trees have grown up, so there’s plenty of shade now. There are also plenty of exhibits that show what the Indiana Conservation Partnership accomplishes in Indiana.
4. Watch livestock shows or walk the aisles of barns and see the animals. A full complement of livestock shows are back this year, including 4-H and open shows. You can catch shows in the West Pavilion if you’re into beef or dairy cattle, in the air-conditioned sheep barn, or in the swine barn on the east end of the south side of the track. Consult the fair schedule at the state fair website for show times.
5. View draft horses in action in hitch-team competitions. Grab something to eat and visit the remodeled Coliseum. Sit and watch horse teams in various hitch competitions. If you’ve never seen the Belgians, Haflingers and many other breeds that put on these shows, you’re really missing out on seeing some of God’s creatures executing precise movements.
6. Eat early and often! It’s not a state fair without state fair food, especially this year. This is the year of food! A different food item will be featured each day, along with the farmer host of the day. The farm family host program sponsored by Dow AgroSciences is back for the third year in a row. Both the Indiana Beef Cattle Association and Indiana Pork are featuring a new menu item this year, too.
7. Marvel at the giant cheese sculpture. Sarah Kaufman is back yet again to sculpt nearly a ton of cheese into an exciting scene that depicts Indiana agriculture. She will be fine-tuning her sculpture in the Purdue University Ag Horticulture building on the southwest corner of the track.