Indiana State Fair attendance topped 900,000 for the second year in a row under the 17-day run system. Officials note it was slightly lower this year and blame the weather. Over half of the 17 days were plagued with 90 degrees or higher temperatures. Many had heat indexes above 100 degrees.
Officials confirm that they will soon be setting dates for the next round of fairs. They also infer the decision has not been made whether to go back to 12 days, or stay with 17 days. We asked readers last week to express their opinion. One person says he missed the cattle and horses not being in the barns when he went on the last day of the fair. That's not appreciably different than before. Most of the showing activity is typically done by the last day of the event.
One person said he liked the way it is now- leave it at 17 days. It gives more opportunities to get to the fair for those who aren't showing, or aren't regular fair goers', he notes. What it also does, state fair officials have noted in the past, is give the fair three weekends instead of two for those who can't attend during the week.
What it doesn't do is help on the problem of conflicts with schools starting earlier and earlier. We heard an unconfirmed report that one district started August 1. For certain, some started August 11, less than half-way through the 17-day run. But this was a problem even when the fair was 12 days.
Only the legislature could address that problem. Legislation was introduced last year that would have required schools to start later, perhaps as late as after Labor Day, to help the tourism industry in the state. The Indiana State Fair would fall under that broad category. However, the bill didn't get much traction.
There's still time to let us know whether you like the new format, would rather see the fair go back to 12 days, or peer and even different schedule. You can send your opinions to: [email protected] We'll see that they get to fair officials in time for them to review before they make their decision, and set dates for the next several Indiana State Fairs coming up in the next few years.