You can't use the excuse that nothing ever changes at the Indiana State Fair as a reason not to change this year. There are lots of changes, notes state fair public relations director Andy Klotz. One of the biggest for farm families may be a complete overhaul of what's been known for years as Our Land Pavilion, sponsored by Pioneer, across from the Beef barn and just diagonally across the street from the gazebo on the main street that circles the fairgrounds.
In the past Purdue University College of Agriculture and Extension has occupied one end, Red Gold has represented presentations including Tom Turpin's cockroach races in the middle section, and a variety of Indiana organizations have manned booths on the east end of the building.
Those groups, except Purdue, will be relocating in other spots on the fairgrounds. Look for more Red Gold activities in the Horticulture Building, where Red Gold already had a large presence. Instead of what you've seen for years, with minor variations year to year, there's a whole new concept, Klotz says,.
The building theme is education people about the food they eat. Purdue University will still be assisting, but their displays and efforts will be dedicated toward how consumers connect with food and the people that produce it.
"We expect to have chefs on hand, preparing food that people can sample," Klotz says. "The cheese lady will be back in her spot- that's one of the things that won't change."
A market that sells Indiana food products will also be part of the building display so people can purchase locally grown foods after learning about the food connection, Klotz notes.
The cheese lady is especially important this year because it's the Year of the Dairy Cow at the fair, he notes. Several special promotional activities are planned, including appearances by Buttercup, official mascot of the American Dairy Association, sponsor of the year's theme, and Cowtown USA in the Fun park on the northeast side of the fairgrounds. Families will get a chance to milk cows by hand and make butter and cheese.
The Indiana State Fair opens August 3 and runs for 17 days through August 19.