Joe Rust greeted me form half way across the Indiana FFA pavilion on the north side of the Indiana State Fairgrounds when I stopped by midway during the fair. Rust, Seymour, is a state FFA officer, and weeks of pre-fair preparation plus 10 days of the fair hadn't slowed him down or dampened his jovial spirit when he greeted me.
The Indiana FFA Pavilion is a mainstay on the north side of the track at the fair, both because of its size and the crowd it draws. And why wouldn't it draw a crowd- it's family friendly, with the traditional petting zoo of farm animals which made the FFA display hit even before it was enlarged several years ago, and a full, 18-hole mini-putt golf course, where visitors can play golf and learn a thing or two about agriculture at the same time.
Here are more memories from the 2009 Indiana State Fair
- Is this really free? The Indiana FFA state officers say they fielded this question many times form parents whose kids wouldn't to play on the pavilions mini-golf course. Much of it is located inside, with a few holes outside. It was free, but donations were accepted. The officers were amazed at the number of people who would donate. Dollars mounted quickly most days.
- Oak Ridge swooners- Susan Hayhurst, Terre Haute, a member of the Indiana State Fair Commission, was in awe after the Oak Ridge Boys showed up at a special dinner Wednesday evening, Aug. 19, before their concert, to sing in person to state fair officials and others at Pioneer Village. "They're getting older, but they can still sing and move," she says.
- Smartest call of the fair- Whoever had the guts to start the Oak Ridge Boys Concert 15 minutes early and try to squeeze it in between a shower and projected heavy weather was a true genius. Many times there are so many layers of authority that good decisions get set aside until it's too late. As it turns out, heavy rain hit just minutes after the concert concluded.
- Twenty-first century fireflies- Supposedly the Oak Ridge Boys drew an older crowd. But when severe weather threatened, there were so many cell phones out all through the crowed, either trained on radar sites through Internet connections, or bearing messages from friends at home with access to the weather, that the grandstands looked like it was invaded by fireflies on a warm summer's evening.
- Elvira! – Maybe a fourth of the crowd let their cell phone information get the best of them, and left before the Oak Ridge Boys sang their patented hit. Finally, just as the wind shifted, they broke out into strains of 'Elvira!' As the song concluded, people left, not even waiting to see if there was more to come or not.