State Fair fare

Food, fun and 4-H

Posted on Jul 26 2017 in Features, General

Indiana State Fairgoers may want to bring much bigger appetites to the annual event this month. The 2017 theme is the “Wonderful World of Food.”

We all love food. We grow it, sell it, cook it and eat it! And at the 2017 Indiana State Fair we will celebrate it with a featured food each day from Aug. 4-20.

All the featured foods will include a spotlight on Indiana farmers who produce the various items. Fairgoers will be able to enjoy samples, cooking demonstrations, food eating contests, fun recipes to share and so much more.

Of course, food is just part of the annual affair. The usual fair fare of midway rides, high school bands, 4-H projects and exhibitions and all the amazing farm animals and music help make sure “happy happens” on the near northeast side Indianapolis for all Hoosiers.


17 foods to celebrate 17 days of the ’17 fair

Each day at the fair this year celebrates a different kind of food and the Indiana farmers/growers/producers that help make it possible. Here’s the run down for all 17 days, along with some of the day’s highlights:



State Fair assorted nuts & nuggets


The Indiana State Fair is located on the corner
of East 38th Street and Fall Creek Pkwy,
Indianapolis, IN 46205. For specific directions,
visit or call 317-927-7500.


Fairgrounds Parking: Available on a first-come basis inside the State Fairgrounds for $5 per vehicle. Enter through Gate 1 off 38th Street, Gate 6 off Fall Creek Parkway or Gate 10 off 42nd Street.

State Fair E-Z Park: These $5 lots are located south of 38th Street across from the Main Gate and at the Indiana School for the Deaf on 42nd Street.

Accessible Parking: Accessible parking can be found just inside Gate 6, Gate 1, the southwest corner of the infield adjacent to the ADA accessible walk tunnel, Gate 16 and the South Lot of the Indiana School for the Deaf.


Gate Hours: Sunday-Thursday — 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday — 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Gate admission tickets will not be sold
or accepted after the gates close.

Building & Exhibit Hours:  Daily — 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Midway Hours: Monday-Friday — noon-11 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday — 11 a.m.-11 p.m.


General Admission: $12 (after Aug. 3)
Children (5 years of age and younger): FREE.


Go to the Indiana State Fair’s website to learn more:

The roaring flames and beauty of the annual hot air balloon glow at twilight and the shear size of the balloons can cast wondrous spells on visitors. File photo by Richard G. Biever

Hot-air balloon race is no ‘race’ at all

The Giant Hot-Air Balloon Race, which traditionally launches the fair at sunrise of opening day, is not a “race,” per se. It’s rather a test of piloting skill. A “hare” balloon launches first and sets down at a random location. A bit later, the other balloons start taking off tasked with dropping a marker as close as possible to a target set by the hare balloon. The race is Aug. 4, 6-7:15 a.m.; the balloon glow is that evening at 9 p.m.

Skyride: New bird’s-eye view of the fair

Visitors to this year’s fair can see the sights from high above with the addition of the NEW Subaru Skyride.

The attraction is similar to a ski chairlift. Rising approximately 35 feet above the ground over the span of 1,400 feet, the 90-chair aerial lift will travel east and west in a continuous loop down Main Street.

Cost: $5 for a one-way ride down Main Street (or 4 Midway tickets).

A ‘Willie’ good time was had 50 years ago

Indiana’s electric co-ops maintained a highly visible presence at the State Fair in the 1960s. Visitors 50 years ago would be greeted at the entrance to the REMC building by mascot Willie Wiredhand. As folks approached, a “man behind the curtain” nearby would speak like the Wizard of Oz into a microphone that would come out of Willie’s mouth from a speaker and allow Willie to carry on a conversation with delighted visitors.