The Indiana State Fair has brought good crowds. Whether it's good, cool weather or new attractions is hard to say. As expected, the new coliseum is garnering a lot of interest. After all, it's the $63 million showcase of the fairgrounds.
There have been a few hiccups and fairgoers, especially on the agriculture side, have a few questions. However, the fair chugs along nicely.
Here are some views of the fair that are noteworthy if you haven't yet attended. Even if you did, you may have missed them. It's tough to see everything in one day.
Also check out our previous coverage of the fair this week:
• 2014 Indiana State Fair Open for Business!
• Focus of Indiana State Fair Coliseum: Livestock Shows
• Indiana State Fair Organizers Take 'Year of the Coliseum' Seriously
• Indiana State Fair: What if the Site Was Moved 40 Years Ago?
The hot air balloon race returned to the opening day of the fair after being held mid-fair for the past few years. First Lady Karen Pence commented that she remembered seeing the balloons as a kid growing up, and new it was the first day of the fair. She's glad to see them back on opening day.
A "who's who of ag people" gathered for the annual ham breakfast held just before opening ceremonies teach year. This year, it was held in the coliseum. And by the way, in case you attended and wondered where the ham was, it was in the egg casserole!
Off and running
The opening ceremonies occurred in the Coliseum after the Indiana Pork ham breakfast concluded. Governor Pence, wife Karen and others poured tiny bottles of dirt into old-fashioned milk cans to celebrate blending of the old with the new. Fair executive director Cindy Hoye said some of the bottles contained dirt form the previous floor, some from the new floor.
This fair is about livestock!
That's what Indiana State Department of Agriculture director Ted McKinney says. Here 4-H members show Duroc barrows in the west ring of the Swine Barn.
Extra costs >>
You want how much?
Here's one of the minor hiccups which was more than minor to livestock exhibitors. For the first time in memory sheep exhibitors were charged to bring a trimming stand into the barn. Based on this sing it's unclear if the charge was $10 or $20 each. The market show can crowd the barn. Breeding shows typically don't- however, the charge applied to everyone.
How do I get in there?
Not everyone found their way into the new Coliseum easily. Some access points were locked during at least certain days of the fair. Security was tighter on controlling who could and couldn't get to the coliseum floor during the grand drive.
What, I have to pay?
We promised we would go behind the scenes! In the past judges of all kinds who evaluate 4-H and open class projects could reenter the fair on other days for free by showing their judge's pin. That policy was stopped this year. It did, however, get the judges free shuttle rides during the fair. Judges who questioned the policy, saying they often brought more people back on other days but might not now, were first told it was a State Fair Board decision. Later, that was clarified. It was not a State Fair Board decision.
Rumors squelched, or not?
Rumors circulated early on that the Indiana State Fair Board would be revamped and the directors would no longer be working directors after the fair this year. Andre Lacy, chairman of the Indiana State Fair Commission, vehemently denied these rumors to Indiana Prairie Farmer, as noted in our Web story on August 4. However, the rumors persist and actually grow stronger. Here, Jim Lankford, director from Martinsville, in charge of the sheep barn, speaks at the 4-H Grand Drive
FFA Pavilion is a busy place
People with young families like the FFA Pavilion because they can let their kids play. The Indiana FFA state officers design all the exhibits inside the building.
Back in business
The Indiana FFA Country Market was in full swing, despite needing emergency repairs shortly before the fair opened. Apparently a fork lift driver employed by the fair damaged the sales stand well before the fair opened. Doug Walker and members of his Delphi FFA Chapter came to the rescue, rebuilding the counter area. His chapter has also built many other structures within the display.
Grand Drive back!
The 4-H Grand Drive crowned seven champions on Monday, August 4. The remodeled Coliseum made an excellent backdrop as judges picked the top animals in each division.
Ag's legacy >>
Agriculture's past lives at Pioneer Village
Demonstrations of all types, including threshing machines powered by early tractors, gave visitors a glimpse of the past. When Pioneer Village fist started these demonstrations, threshing was only about 20 years out of date. Now it's been nearly seven decades since threshing rings were in their hey-day.