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Indiana Pork BBQ Split at the State Fair @indystatefair @IndianaPork @INporkproducers

July 28, 2019 Leave a comment
indiana-pork-bbq-split

The Indiana Pork BBQ Split is coming to the Indiana State Fair, Aug. 2-18, 2019.
Photo provided by the Indiana Pork Producers Association and used with written permission.

By Jeanette Merritt
Indiana Pork Producers Association

Indiana Pork will showcase a new food item for the 2019 Indiana State Fair “Taste of the Fair” contest.

The Indiana Pork BBQ Split features three delicious items; a scoop of pulled pork, macaroni and cheese and coleslaw.  The BBQ Split resembles a banana split and will be served with a pickle on the side.

“Indiana Pork is excited to promote our Taste of the Fair entry at the 2019 Indiana State Fair,” said Jeanette Merritt, Director of Checkoff Programs for Indiana Pork.  “Fairgoers love our pulled pork!  We think the Pork BBQ Split will delight guests and be easy on their wallets!”
The Indiana Pork BBQ Split will be available for guests to purchase for $9 at the three Indiana Pork tent locations during the Indiana State Fair, August 2-18, 2019.  Indiana Pork tents are located in front of the Swine Barn, in front of the West Pavillion (Cattle Barn) and near Pioneer Village.
For more information, visit https://indianapork.org, or call 317-872-7500.

162nd Indiana State Fair, Aug. 3-19, 2018 @indystatefair #indystatefair

July 29, 2018 Leave a comment
state-fair-logo-2018

Image provided by the Indiana State Fair and used with written permission.

By Bob Burchfield, Editor
AroundIndy.com, LLC

With no disrespect to any other Indiana organization or event, the Indiana State Fair is simply my most favorite event of the year — and has been for more than six decades!

I started attending the Indiana State Fair in 1952. Yes. 1952! I was still in diapers. But my mother was a quilter and loved to visit the quilt display in the Indiana Arts Building. So away we went to the State Fair each summer.

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An impressive quilt at the 2015 Indiana State Fair.

My most vivid memory of the State Fair is the band contest. My brother played trombone in the Anderson High School marching band that won three consecutive state championships in 1957, 1958, and 1959 — and finished 2nd in 1960! I’ll never forget the announcement of 2nd place in 1960: “And 2nd place goes to — (dramatic pause) — A – N – D” and the crowd went wild. Ben Davis won that year.

And so I’ve attended the State Fair almost every year since then, except when I was serving in the military after college and was stationed out of state. 

This year is no exception. 66 years after my first State Fair, you know I’ll be there as “Step Right Up! The Greatest 17 Days of Summer” features a circus theme, August 3-19, 2018.

That’s right! New to the 2018 Indiana State Fair is a single-ring, world-class circus. Located on the north side of the fairgrounds, there will be three shows per day (included with fair admission) showcasing a variety of world-famous performers, including Bello Nock, the International Circus Superstar. The Big Top Circus is presented by Bee Window.

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The Big Top Circus. Photo provided by the Indiana State Fair and used with written permission.

There are a few activities at the State Fair that I simply must observe each year out of family tradition:

  1. The first thing I always do is get on the Shuttle Train and take a ride all the way around the fairgrounds. It’s the best way to get a quick overview of what’s going on and where everything is located, at least IMO.state-fair-shuttle
  1. A stop at the Dairy Barn for a State Fair Milk Shake is mandatory for me. I prefer vanilla, but there’s strawberry and chocolate, too.state-fair-milk-shake
  1. I still like to stop at the Victorian-era Hook’s Drug Store Museum and take a step back in time at the historic soda fountain and pharmacy.hooks-musem
  2. Even though my cardiologist would not approve, a State Fair tenderloin is a must. Nobody makes ‘em like the ones at the State Fair!state-fair-tenderloin
  1. And I always pay homage to my mother, who died in 2011, by visiting the quilt display as previously mentioned. A sentimental and nostalgic tradition.

In the past five years, I’ve even conquered my fear of heights (at least somewhat!) by finally mustering the courage to ride the giant ferris wheel, and last year by riding the Subaru Skyride (which was new in 2017). The Midway is so colorful and full of visual appeal, especially after dark!

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The Midway at the 2015 Indiana State Fair.

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Subaru Skyride. Photo provided by the Indiana State Fair and used with written permission.

I like to go through the DNR Building and view the fish aquariums. I like to go through the Agriculture-Horticulture Building and see the exhibits. I like to go through Pioneer Village and see all the vintage and antique farm equipment. I like to walk through the animal barns—it’s always interesting to look for the world’s largest hog in the Swine Barn. I like to hang around for the daily parade each evening at 6:30 pm. 

And curiously, I like to walk through the underground tunnel from the infield to State Fair Main Street, because that’s my earliest memory and recollection of the fair.

But that shouldn’t dictate YOUR itinerary! There is so much to see and do at the State Fair that you simply can’t take it in all in one day. So I try to get out to the fair at least 3-4 times each year.

The Chevrolet Free Stage has some great entertainment this year, including Rick Springfield, Natalie Stovall, Anthony Hamilton, Tyler Childers, Randy Houser, Kool and the Gang, Hanson, the Happy Together Tour, Grand Funk Railroad, Hunter Hayes, the Gospel Music Festival with Kirk Franklin, and more. See the entire Free Stage schedule on our Web site at https://aroundindy.com/fairgrounds.php.

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The giant hot air balloon race kicks off the fair on Friday, August 3, at sunrise (weather permitting), with the Illuminated Tractor Parade and Balloon Night at 9 PM that night. And the aforementioned State Fair Band Day is Saturday, August 4.

This year’s State Fair Queen is Audrey Campbell from Fountain County. Congratulations, Audrey!

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2018 State Fair Queen Audrey Campbell. Photo provided by the Indiana State Fair and used with written permission.

The gates open daily at 8 am and are open until 9 pm Sunday-Thursday and 9:30 pm on Friday and Saturday. Exhibit and building hours are 9 am to 9 pm.

Onsite parking is $5 until the fairgrounds parking is full. Or you can park at Glendale Mall’s Rural Street lot and ride the Indiana State Fair shuttle for free. There are also $5 lots located south of 38th Street across from the Main Gate and at the Indiana School for the Deaf on 42nd Street. And you can save $1 off fair admission when you bike to the State Fair and use one of the secured bike racks available on the Monon Trail at 38th Street.

General admission is $13 (under 6 free). You can get advance tickets for $8 before August 3. The Chevrolet Free Stage concerts are included with admission. Discount tickets can be purchased online at https://indianastatefair.com and at the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center Box Office, located inside Indiana Farmers Coliseum, now through August 2.

By the way, there are several free admission specials:

  • Monday, August 6: Current and former military, and their families, receive free admission with ID presented at the gate.
  • Monday, August 13: Statewide Firefighters, Police Officers and EMT personnel and their families receive free admission when ID or badge is presented at the gate.
  • Wednesday, August 8 and 15: Free admission with IndyStar ticket.
  • Thursday, August 16: AAA cardholders receive free admission with valid AAA membership card presented at the gate.

And there are discounted admission offers on other days throughout the fair.

It’s almost impossible to write a blog post of any length and cover everything at the fair. So visit the State Fair Web site at https://www.indianastatefair.com/state-fair/ for complete information, or call 317-927-7500.

I hope to see you at the fair this year! And I hope this is the year we crack one million in attendance.

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A view of the State Fairgrounds from the top of the giant ferris wheel. See, I finally did it! [grin]

DISCLOSURE NOTICE: The Indiana State Fair provided AroundIndy.com, LLC with complimentary tickets to the 2012 Indiana State Fair; 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 annual media passes; and media passes to the 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Indiana State Fair.

Potatchoes at the Indiana State Fair, Aug. 3-19, 2018 @indystatefair @indianapork

July 26, 2018 Leave a comment
potatchoes-at-state-fair

Potatchoes at the Indiana State Fair. Photo provided by the Indiana Pork Producers Association and used with written permission.

 
By Jeanette Merritt
Indiana Pork Producers Association
 
Indiana Pork is celebrating 50 years of the Pork Tents serving hungry fairgoers. To celebrate, they will showcase a new food item for the 2018 Indiana State Fair “Taste of Indiana” contest.
 
The Potatchoes (see photo) feature delicious roasted pit potatoes, topped with the famous pulled pork barbecue and covered in sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo and jalapenos.
 
“Indiana Pork is excited to celebrate 50 years of our pork tents at the Indiana State Fair,” said Jeanette Merritt, Director of Checkoff Programs for Indiana Pork. “What better way to celebrate than with our new entry in the 2018 Taste of the Fair competition. Fairgoers love our pulled pork barbecue! We think adding potatoes and covering it in delicious toppings will be a hit with fairgoers.”
 
The Potatchoes will be available for guests to purchase for $7 at the three Indiana Pork tent locations during the Indiana State Fair, August 3-19, 2018.

Tate Fritchley Chosen as Indiana State Fair Queen

January 12, 2016 Leave a comment
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Tate Fritchley, 2016 Indiana State Fair Queen.
Photo provided by the Indiana State Fair and used with written permission.

By Lesley Gordon
Indiana State Fair

Over the past weekend, Miss Vanderburgh County, Tate Fritchley, was crowned the 58th Indiana State Fair Queen. Miss Indiana State Fair 2016 was selected over 86 other contestants after three days of judging.

The Indiana State Fair Queen plays a key role in promoting the Indiana State Fair by traveling nearly 6,500 miles during June and July to approximately 45 counties in preparation for the Indiana State Fair Celebrating Indiana’s Bicentennial, August 5-21, 2016.

The 10 finalists include:

1st Runner Up Miss Whitley County, Alivia Roberts
2nd Runner Up Miss Boone County, Shelby Lamb
3rd Runner Up Miss Putnam County, Kristen Stevens
4th Runner Up Miss Madison County, Courtney Hinton
Miss Fountain County, Tilly Marlatt
Miss Steuben County, Daisy Dallas
Miss Adams County, Jessica Ripley
Miss Johnson County, Samantha Morris
Miss Allen County, Erica Hoot
Miss Congeniality Miss Wells County, Emily Bertsch

Miss Indiana State Fair, Tate Fritchley, is currently a senior at Evansville North High School and a proud 10 year 4-H member of the Horse and Pony Club. Fritchley plans to study Physical Therapy at the University of Evansville this fall. Fritchley is the second representative of Vanderburgh County to be selected Indiana State Fair Queen, preceded by Karen Koester in 1974.

This year’s judges included Adam Kallick, of Centaur Gaming, Kimberly Swabsin, Indiana State Fair Queen 1988, and Beth Vaughn, RTV6 Good Morning Indiana.

Also, the 2016 State Fair theme, “Celebrating Indiana’s Bicentennial,” was announced at the Indiana Association of Fairs (INAF) Convention. As the State of Indiana prepares to celebrate 200 years of Hoosier heritage the 2016 Indiana State Fair will also join in the festivities. Fairgoers can look forward to several exhibits and special features that highlight our state’s history, art and tradition.

To learn more about the 58th Indiana State Fair Queen visit the website, indianastatefair.com.

Ten Great Indiana Events: Number 3 Might Surprise You

October 3, 2015 Leave a comment

By Bob Burchfield, Editor
AroundIndy.com, LLC

Once again this week a reader asked, via email, “What are the best events in Indiana?” Hmmm…talk about a loaded question! That’s kind of like trying to name Indy’s best burger (which is sure to provoke an argument) or trying to answer the eternal question: “What is Hip?” (sometimes hipness is what it ain’t). One person’s pleasure is another’s poison.

Nevertheless, in an attempt to address the question, I’m going to offer ten of my personal favorite events in Indianapolis and Indiana. I’m well aware that others would likely choose an entirely different list, because we all have our own likes and dislikes.

Also, if I lived in South Bend or Fort Wayne or Evansville or elsewhere, I’m certain my list might be different. So please don’t send vehement text messages or emails saying something like, “I can’t believe you left the Three Rivers Festival off your list,” or “Why didn’t you include the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival?” or “Where’s the Covered Bridge Festival on your list?” (But I would like to hear your choices in the comments section below.)

Having made those disclaimers, here goes!

#10. Christmas City Walkway of Lights

Christmas City Walkway of Lights

Christmas City Walkway of Lights in Marion, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2014, all rights reserved.

Matter Park in Marion, Indiana, about 90 minutes north of Indianapolis, presents the Christmas City Walkway of Lights every November/December. For $5 you can drive your car load of passengers through the park and see a huge variety of colorful and visually-appealing holiday light displays, with millions of lights, featuring everything from the IU logo to the 12 days of Christmas. Be sure to time your visit so you arrive just after dark. It’s even cooler if you park your car and walk through the park. Your kids will love it. See http://www.walkwayoflights.org/

#9. St. Joan of Arc French Market

St. Joan of Arc French Market

French Market at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church at 46th and Central Avenue in Indianapolis holds its parish festival every summer in August. I finally made it to the French Market in 2015 and was enthralled by the laid-back, easy-going setting, the big crowd, the variety of French cuisine, and the many vendors and activities in a beautiful neighborhood setting. Admission is free, but parking in the neighborhood can be a challenge. See http://www.sjoa.org/frenchmarket/

#8. Mid-Summer Festival

St. Christopher Mid-Summer Festival

Mid-Summer Festival at St. Christopher Catholic Church in Speedway, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

St. Christopher Catholic Church conducts an annual parish festival each summer in July. I love this festival for its neighborhood setting in Speedway on Indy’s west side at 16th and Lynhurst, plus its excellent variety of cuisine and carnival rides. Admission is free, but finding parking in the neighborhood can be a challenge. It’s pay-as-you-go at the food booths and rides. See http://indyfestival.com/

#7. Indianapolis Indians

Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana

Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

The Indians are the AAA minor league baseball team in Indianapolis. They play their home games at Victory Field, 501 West Maryland Street, in downtown Indy. I love to go out to the ball park because the action is up close and personal, tickets are reasonably priced in the $10-15 range, and the skyline of Indianapolis presents a beautiful backdrop for a baseball game. Monday Dollar Nights offer hot dogs, peanuts, potato chips, Cracker Jack and popcorn for just $1 each. See http://indyindians.com/

#6. Indy Greek Festival

Middle Eastern dancing at the Greek Festival in Carmel, Indiana

Middle Eastern dancing at the Greek Festival in Carmel, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

This is a colorful event held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Carmel, Indiana each summer in August. The Greek food is plentiful, the Middle Eastern dancing and music is so enjoyable, and the sanctuary inside the church is breathtaking. Be prepared for long lines in the food court, and you may have to park at Marsh Supermarket more than a mile away on Michigan Road and wait for a shuttle bus to transport you to the church. See http://indygreekfest.org/

#5. Italian Street Festival

Italian Street Festival at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

Italian Street Festival at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

I love the Italian Street Festival at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 520 Stevens Street in Indianapolis, across the street from the Eli Lilly Company. The food is terrific (the four-layer carrot cake is unforgettable), the neighborhood atmosphere is enjoyable, admission is free, and I can usually find free parking across the street from the church. By now you are probably thinking that I’m a devout Catholic based on my selections thus far, but I’m not. I just love a good festival. See http://www.indyitalianfest.org/

#4. Indiana Flower and Patio Show

Indiana Flower and Patio Show at the State Fairgrounds

Indiana Flower and Patio Show at the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2012, all rights reserved.

This show is held each spring at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 East 38th Street, in Indianapolis. It’s a great event with colorful displays, lots of good ideas for decorating and home improvement projects, and a photographer’s delight. See http://hsishows.com/wp/indianaflowerandpatioshow/

#3. Feast of Lanterns

Feast of Lanterns at Spades Park in Indianapolis, Indiana

Feast of Lanterns at Spades Park in Indianapolis, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

This one-day festival doesn’t always get a lot of media coverage, but when they turn on the lanterns after dark, this is one of the most beautiful and colorful events in the city, in my opinion, held at Spades Park on Indy’s near east side in August. Food trucks, lots of vendors, a beer garden, and a neighborhood setting combine to make this event so enjoyable. Admission is free, but parking in the neighborhood can be a real challenge. Take your own chair and enjoy a lovely evening (opting for acoustic music would further improve this event, IMO). See https://www.facebook.com/IndyFeast

#2. Circle of Lights Celebration

Circle of Lights as viewed from the Skyline Club.

Circle of Lights on Monument Circle as viewed from the Skyline Club. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2009, all rights reserved.

Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis transforms into a holiday showplace with the lighting of “the world’s tallest Christmas tree,” free live entertainment, and a festive atmosphere. Admission is free, so join me and 100,000 of my closest friends for this annual holiday tradition. See http://www.downtownindy.org/happening-downtown/hot/circle-of-lights/

#1. Indiana State Fair

Indiana State Fair midway.

Indiana State Fair midway in Indianapolis. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

I’ve been going to the Indiana State Fair since 1953 when I was still in diapers. It’s unquestionably my number one favorite event of the year. There is so much to see and do. You can’t really see it all in one day, but it’s fun to try! I like to ride the shuttle train all the way around the fairgrounds at least once just to see what’s new, then jump off the shuttle and work my way around the fairgrounds on foot.

My mom’s favorite was the quilt display in the Family Arts Building, so I always stop by and view the quilts to honor her memory. My brother played trombone in the Anderson High School marching band that won three consecutive state championships in the late 1950’s. So our family has a long and enjoyable history at the fair. The food is unbeatable, the midway is lively and colorful, the concerts feature national recording artists, the hot air balloon launch is inspirational, and a stop at the Dairy Bar for an official State Fair milk shake is a must. There’s something for everyone. See http://www.in.gov/statefair/

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Dig IN: A Taste of Indiana at White River State Park in Indianapolis
  2. Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival on Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis
  3. Indy Irish Fest at Military Park in Indianapolis
  4. Freedom Blast Fireworks Show on July 4 in downtown Indianapolis
  5. St. George Festival at St. George Orthodox Christian Church in Fishers, Indiana

How did I do? What are YOUR favorite Indianapolis and Indiana events of the year? Let me know in the comments because I try to cover as many Indianapolis and Indiana events as possible each year, and I’ll try to get to as many of them as I can.

DISCLOSURE NOTICE: AroundIndy.com, LLC received a Media Pass to the 2011 Indiana State Fair, complimentary tickets to the 2012 Indiana State Fair, a 2015 Media Pass, and a media pass to the 2015 Indiana State Fair. You may think I’m biased as a result, but I was going to the fair decades before these complimentary passes were offered.