The Indiana State Fair began its new, 17-day run last Friday. Miss America, Katie Stam, was there, returning to Indiana for a second appearance within two weeks. She helped open the state fair. But there were no hot air balloons. That race, which has traditionally started the fair for many years, comes later.
There was the traditional Indiana Pork ham breakfast, and the annual band day. But something seemed awkward to fairgoers who realized it was a Friday, not a Wednesday, traditional opening day for many years.
That hasn't stopped fairgoers from coming out in droves, however. By noon on opening day, the infied was full of cars, except for a space left for bands to practice, and cars were parked on the track surrounding the infield. That's allowed on days when the track isn't being used.
Livestock shows were in full swing. The swine showmanship contests were conducted on Friday, first day of the fair. Every exhibitor had an opportunity to exhibit one animal in showmanship. Honor groups were named in each breed, with a champion and reserve champion showman also picked from that breed. The showmanship contest has been held on Monday in years past, two days before the fair officially begins.
The Indiana FFA pavilion was buzzing with fairgoers, especially those with kids, on the first day. The 18-hole golf course was a hit. This year's mini-golf course featured a miniature wind turbine, courtesy of the South Newton FFA. Newton County is on the edge of the explosion in wind-powered electric generating windmills in northwest Indiana.
The real test for the 17-day run, expanded from 12 days, may come after the fair has went on for several days. Will people come during the last week, especially on week days, with kids in school? However, the fair has faced that problem in recent years, since many schools open in mid-August. This year, a large number of schools are opening this week.
Visit the state fair's Web site to keep abreast of daily events on the calendar. Just because a traditional favorite event was always on a certain day before, doesn't mean it is this year. It's likely still occurring, plus a few new events that could become favorites- just not on the same day.