Fairgoers who can't watch draft horse shows, (unless they want to watch them in live feed on a big screen on Main Street), or who can't take in cattle shows in the Coliseum can find plenty to do on the north side of the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
It's a year of transition, and Draft horse shows and hitch competitions are being held in the new Youth arena, built south of the Coliseum and consuming what was once the warm-up ring for horse and pony exhibitors. The problem is that to make enough room for the hitches to operate, there's no room left for spectators.
It's also unclear if as many people as would like to can crowd into the Youth Arena where most livestock shows for beef and dairy will be held. The Swine Barn and Sheep barn will operate fairly close to normal, showing in their normal rings. Since the coliseum can't be used, beef and dairy shows happen in the new arena. Seating is limited.
However, there are new attractions on the north side of Machinery Field. One is the Glass Barn, a contemporary structure paid for by the Indiana Soybean Alliance. Megan Kuhn, communication director, says the goal was to create a facility where they could reach consumers about modern farming through both interactive and static exhibits.
Three farmers are featured in the exhibits. Visitors can watch videos of their operations. Three times daily with the aid of technology, there will also be live chats with one of the farmers. They include Joe Steinkamp, Evansville; Amy Kelsay, Whiteland; and Heather Hill, Greenfield.
One of the neatest features in the exhibit is photo booth. Visitors can have their picture taken automatically, and inserted into a farm background. They can then mail the postcard-style picture to their home computer, and have it waiting for them when they get home.