Change is the name of the game this year for an institution where change typically comes slowly. The Indiana State Fair will open on Friday, not Wednesday. And there won't be a giant balloon race to open the fair. However, don't despair. The balloon race is scheduled later during the fair.
And the fair will run for 17 days, not 12, as it has in the past. Officials originally said it was because many events are already underway, such as some livestock judging, and they wanted to make it more like the fair, but the schedule has been reshuffled so that it's farm more change than just charging five days earlier and having concessions and rides available five days sooner.
It's a year to get a state fair premium book o check the Website carefully. It's likely your favorite event is still happening, but it's also likely, if not probable, that most activities will be on different days than in the past. There's still a Farmers Day and a parade. You will just have to consult schedules to know when these events happen.
In the swine barn for example, pigs came in Saturday and Sunday for the past several years. This year they can arrive Wednesday and Thursday morning. On the first day of the actual fair, Friday, Aug, 7, the 4-H swine showmanship contests will be held. Just started recently, this 'anyone can enter' showmanship gives even kids who can't afford expensive animals a chance to come to the state fair and show that they still understand how to show an animal, and make it look as good as possible. Until the last few years, showmen for showmanship rounds were selected by individuals assigned to do so while the judge picked his winning animals. Now, everyone gets their one shot at showing what they can do with their animal in the show ring.
During last year's fair, the idea was tossed around quite heavily that barrow and gilt shows for 4-H'ers would be on different weekends. In fact, it was listed on the draft schedule outside of the swine barn that way, and was presented that way to exhibitors by fair officials during last year's fair. Many countered that it would hurt the show, since it would make many families choose between showing pigs and showing barrows.
The new schedule this year does instead have both barrows and gilts coming at the same time. When the shows will occur has changed, but the way in which they will be conducted hasn't. A family from Evansville in southwestern Indiana or Fremont in northeastern Indiana can bring both barrows and gilts one weekend, and enjoy the experience of showing both sexes at the state fair.
See you at the fair!