|By MEGAN KUHN
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — While 4-H and FFA livestock shows at the state fairgrounds started more than a week ago, the Indiana State Fair officially starts today, Wednesday, Aug. 9 and runs until Sunday, Aug. 20.
With the theme A Blue Ribbon Celebration, the fair marks its 150th year with a variety of special events and attractions, including the state’s largest birthday cake, an antique tractor parade through downtown Indianapolis and a historical display of past Indiana State Fairs.
Agriculture is celebrated throughout the 12-day event, but no more than on Wednesday, Aug. 16, which is Purdue Day and Farmers’ Day.
The day starts with the Indiana State Fair Old-fashioned Pancake Breakfast presented by Indiana Farm Bureau. The breakfast is served from 7:30-9:30 a.m. on Biofuels Main Street.
Visitors can also browse through a variety of exhibits from Purdue University throughout the day. The annual Farmers’ Day parade starts at 10 a.m. in the grandstands.
As a special feature to the fair this year, the Indiana Soybean Board, Reynolds Farm Equipment and the Indiana State Fair are sponsoring the Blue Ribbon Celebration Tractor Parade, which takes place on Aug. 16 as well. The parade features 92 tractors, one for each Indiana County, and starts at 1 p.m. on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis and ends at the state fairgrounds.
“We think this one-time event will be a highlight of the 150th Indiana State Fair,” said Maury Williamson, who has managed the Pioneer Village at the fair for many years and is the spokesman for the tractor drive. “If nothing else, we will certainly catch the attention of folks in Indianapolis and maybe encourage them to attend this year’s fair.”
Farmers’ Day comes to an end with the 4-H Sale of Champions at 6 p.m. in the Pepsi Coliseum.
Indiana State Fair highlights
There are a variety of other must-see attractions at this year’s Indiana State Fair, including:
•The new 8,340-square-foot “Fishin’ Pond” and amphitheater behind the Natural Resources Building.
•One-ton cheese sculpture, sponsored by the American Dairy Assoc. of Indiana, by world-renowned sculptor Sarah Kaufmann in the Pioneer Our Land Pavilion.
•The Indiana State Fair Gazebo Gift Show redecorated as a gigantic birthday cake, complete with pink icing and topped with farm animals.
•Deep-fried chocolate-covered strawberries, which were named the 150th Indiana State Fair’s “Signature Food.”
•New permanent art sculpture, which includes a cow, pig, horse, tractor, hot air balloon, Ferris wheel, band member, 4-H clover and an ear of corn, will be unveiled during the fair.
•World’s Largest Drive-thru Breakfast on Friday, Aug. 11 from 6-8 a.m. on Biofuels Main Street.
General admission to the Indiana State Fair is $6 for anyone age 6 or older. For more information about the Indiana State Fair, visit www.indianastatefair.com or call 317-927-7500.
Other state fairs
Indiana is not the only state hosting a fair this summer. The Ohio State Fair at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio started last week and runs until Aug. 13. Visit www.ohiostatefair.com for more information.
The Kentucky State Fair runs Aug. 17-27 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. Call the State Fair Hotline at 502-367-5002 or visit www.kystatefair.org for more information.
The Illinois State Fair is in Springfield, Ill. and starts Aug. 11 and runs until Aug. 20. For information, visit www.agr.state.il.us/isf/ or call 217-782-6661.
At the end of August, the Michigan State Fair kicks off in Detroit. The dates are Aug. 23-Sept. 4. Visit www.michigan.gov/mistatefair/
or call 313-369-8250.
The Tennessee State Fair celebrates its 100th year starting Sept. 8-17 near downtown Nashville. For details, visit www.tennesseestatefair.org/ or call 615-862-8993.
This farm news was published in the August 9, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.