Opening Friday for a 17-day run, the Indiana State Fair will celebrate agriculture, youth and education while showcasing mouthwatering food and topnotch entertainment.
Opening day will continue with tradition and start with the hot air balloon launch at sunrise. The Calgary Stampede Show Band will follow with shows at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
To kick off the first night, patrons for the first time can enjoy an illuminated tractor parade in the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand and a hot air balloon night glow.
The fair’s theme – “Year of the Farmer” – pays recognition to farmers who provide everyone with food, fiber and fuel.
Each day of the fair will feature a farmer from a different commodity group showcasing what they do. That will include an Indianapolis urban farmer, corn and soybean growers, livestock farmers and even fish producers.
The beer and wine exhibition, which allows patrons to try alcohol from around the state, will be expanding because of the positive feedback received in its debut last year.
“That was both from vendors and visitors, so yeah, we’re adding a few breweries and wineries and including some meads this year,” said fair spokeswoman Lesley Gordon.
The exhibit attracted more than 48,000 people, and it marked the first time in nearly 70 years that alcohol was sold at the fair, after being banned in 1947.
The Shane Co. Concert Series at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum will feature Meghan Trainor, Aug. 11; Garrison Keillor, Aug. 12; Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, Aug. 13; Jake Owen, Aug. 14; and The Beat Summer Jam, Aug. 15. Admission to the fair is not included in the price of concert tickets.
What’s better than a free concert? A lot of free concerts.
And that’s what the fair has in store for patrons.
From the funky beats of Morris Day & The Time to the disco hits of KC & The Sunshine Band and the Village People to the cherished tunes of The Association, The Grass Roots and The Cowsills, fans will be singing aloud and tapping their feet.
The line-up of free music is:
Aug. 7: Indigo Girls.
Aug. 8: Morris Day & The Time.
Aug. 9: Hispanic/Latino music festival, featuring Los Caminantes de Humberto Navarro.
Aug. 10: Rodney Atkins.
Aug. 12: “Happy Together Tour” with The Turtles, The Association, Mark Lindsay, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams and The Cowsills.
Aug. 13: Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
Aug. 14: Return of the Dukes: John Schneider & Tom Wopat.
Aug. 16: Contemporary Christian music fest with Colton Dixon.
Aug. 17: Village People.
Aug. 18: Big & Rich.
Aug. 19: Craig Morgan.
Aug. 20: KC & The Sunshine Band.
Aug. 21: “Nashville” stars Lennon and Maisy, The Henningsens.
Aug. 22: Rusted Root.
Aug. 23: Gospel music with LaShun Pace of the Pace Sisters.
Most concerts start at 7:30 p.m.
In addition to the concerts, the Knights of Valour will perform free shows Aug. 13. The group has been entertaining audiences with exciting shows of jousting, horsemanship, bravery and chivalry for nearly 20 years.
The Great American Wild West Show will return for free shows Aug. 16 and 17, and the Peking Acrobats and the Xpogo Stunt Team will perform complimentary shows daily.
The midway rides – open daily until 11 p.m. except for 10 p.m. Aug. 23 – come second only to the fair’s food.
A complete schedule of shows and attractions is listed at www.in.gov/statefair/fair/.
Hoosiers will have to pay a little more for admission this year as the cost has been increased from $10 to $12.