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Indiana State Fair Uncertainty Drags On Into Fall

Indiana State Fair Uncertainty Drags On Into Fall
Indiana statute about state fair doesn't make the issue clear.

Informed sources say the disagreement between the Indiana State Fair Commission and the Indiana State Fair Board is more than rumor – it's real. Both the Indiana State Fair Board and Indiana State Fair Commission have held meetings recently. Sources in the Indiana State Department of Agriculture say those meetings are public.

A joint meeting of both groups is scheduled for October 16 at 10:30 a.m. in Discovery Hall located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. It's located on the north side of the grounds northeast of the main 4-H projects display building.

Related: Sneak Behind the Scenes at the 2014 Indiana State Fair

Who is responsible to hold state fair? Even Indiana code is unclear about whose responsibility it is to hold a fair. It is clear, however, that it should be an agricultural fair emphasizing agriculture and agribusiness.

The only thing that's known for sure is that Indiana statute passed by the legislature lays out how the state fairgrounds and state fair is to be operated. The only problem is the document is not clear. As passed into law and now as part of Indiana code, it says two distinct things about who shall put on the state fair each year.

On page 9 of the 31 pages of statute related to the state fair, in IC 15-13-3-3, it states: 'The commission is responsible for holding the fair. Holding the fair shall be given priority over all other activities by the commission during the period the fair is held.'

Related: Controversy Surrounding Future of Indiana State Fair Board Far From Over

That seems reasonably clear until you get to page 19 in the Indiana code related to establishment of the Commission and operation and relationship to the Indiana State Fair Board. Under IC-13-7, Annual Agricultural Fair', the law states: 'The board shall hold one (1) state agricultural fair each year. The fair must emphasize agriculture and agribusiness.'

To be fair, IC 15-13-7-3, Policies of the commission, does say 'Sec. 2 In holding the fair, the board is subject to the policies of the commission.'

Some are already suggesting that this issue between the commission and fair board over roles and responsibilities won't be resolved until the legislature revisits and clarifies the language in the statute concerning the fair. It's fairly easy to see why that might seem like an appropriate solution.

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