An Indiana State Fair to Remember

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Indiana State Fair

This year, Indiana turns 200 years old. And what better way to celebrate than at the Indiana State Fair? This year’s theme is “Celebrating Indiana’s Bicentennial” – a celebration that will last for 17 fun-filled days.

The state fair is a summertime staple, offering a little bit of something for everyone, so plan a visit this year. Here are our best suggestions for reasons to attend the state fair, no matter if you’re interested in history, family, food or entertainment.

Indiana State Fair

Get Back to Your Indiana Roots

Situated on the northeast side of the Fairgrounds & Event Center in the Family Fun Park, the Indiana Bicentennial Train is a train museum and Indiana history lesson on wheels and tracks.

Livestock shows happen daily at the fairgrounds, and a variety of animals are shown. You could watch a cattle or swine show, or opt for something a little bit more exotic such as rabbits, llamas or cats. Livestock barns are also a good bet for seeing farm animals up close.

Indiana Bicentennial Train

Bring some quarters for Goat Mountain because who doesn’t love feeding animals? Several varieties of goats are happy to take food right from your hand at this exhibit, located just east of the DNR building.

If you’ve never visited Pioneer Village, this is the year to go. Step back in time and see how Hoosiers lived before the state had ever celebrated a birthday. You can check out antique farm machinery and watch demonstrations that include music, blacksmithing and corn grinding, among many other things. Bonus: Learn how to churn butter by hand, buy old-time candy and sample Indiana maple syrup.

The Glass Barn features daily video chats with Indiana farmers and information on Indiana corn and soybeans, making it a must-do on your state fair itinerary.

Indiana State Fair

For the Whole Family

If you want to see what creatures live in Indiana lakes and forests, go inside the DNR building. Kids can enjoy fishing lessons (pre-registration required), wildlife and naturalism talks and up-close looks at Indiana wildlife.

The smaller Kiddie Land Midway offers rides for younger fairgoers who aren’t yet ready for the thrills of the Tilt-O-Whirl.

Located on the northeast side of the fairgrounds, the Family Fun Park offers shows and entertainment for kids (and kids at heart). Highlights include Little Hands on the Farm, a hands-on farming experience for kids, and live shows.

Indiana State Fair

The Tractor Supply FFA Pavillion offers a free indoor playground, free miniature golf, and reasonably priced food and drinks in the Indiana Market.

A watermelon seed spitting contest happens daily on the Indiana Arts Main Stage.

Need we say more?

Fair Food

Head to the Indiana Farm Bureau building for free popcorn every day. If you want even more free food, visit the Farm Bureau building Aug. 16-18 for “A Taste from Indiana Farms,” which offers fairgoers samples of Indiana food products from around the state.

Inside the Indiana Pork Producers tent, find pork burgers and pork chops, an Indiana tradition. Nearby, the Indiana Beef Cattle Tent is famous for its rib-eye sandwiches.

If You Go...

The Indiana State Fair celebrating Indiana’s Bicentennial takes place Aug. 5-21, 2016, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center in Indianapolis. For a full schedule of events, ticket information and other details, visit

If you need a cold milkshake or a scoop of ice cream on a hot summer day, the Dairy Bar is your best bet. It also offers several kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches.

For fairgoers 21 and older, the Indiana Beer and Wine Exhibition invites adults to sample some of Indiana’s best craft beers and wines.

Of course, we can’t forget the usual suspects. You can never go wrong with corn dogs, elephant ears, funnel cakes, lemon shake-ups or deep-fried cookie dough.

Indiana State Fair

Entertainment & Thrills

Whether you’re a fan of a relaxing Ferris wheel ride or you prefer stomach-in-your-throat thrills, there’s a ride for you on the Midway. You can also try your hand at games of skill (or luck) to win a giant stuffed animal or goldfish.

There’s a pretty good chance you’ll be able to find some famous names on the Free Stage at the fair. See them now, so you don’t have to pay to see them later! Visit the Indiana State Fair website for a schedule of shows.

Indiana State Fair

From monster trucks to rodeos, the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand offers a variety of entertainment for your family. Again, check out the state fair’s website and mobile app presented by WGU Indiana for the most up-to-date artist announcements and ticket information.

The Indiana State Fair is an Indiana tradition and a place to make memories that last a lifetime. Bring your family for the fun, food and thrills, and celebrate 200 years of Indiana history.

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