May 27, 2005

Faces at the Fair -- the 2005 Indiana State Fair

Story and photo by Mary Ann Wyand

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the faces you’ll see at the Indiana State Fair on Aug. 10-21 at 1202 E. 38th St. in Indianapolis. To see more pictures, click here

Andy Klotz, public relations director for the Indiana State Fairgrounds, said this year’s fair has something for everyone to enjoy as well as unique offerings that you can’t experience anywhere else.

Indiana State Fair Queen Keela Roser, a junior at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., will welcome fairgoers.

You’ll also have a chance to see cartoon characters Spiderman on Aug. 16, Batman on Aug. 18, SpongeBob SquarePants on Aug. 17 and Strawberry Shortcake on Aug. 19 during the Cartoon Corral at the Pfizer Fun Park. The cartoon celebrities will be on hand to sign autographs and pose for photographs.

You’ll also enjoy watching the tigers and elephants during performances by the International Circus Hall of Fame from Peru, Ind., as well as seeing Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey compete during rodeos on Aug. 13-14.

Last year’s fair attracted 900,365 people to the fairgrounds over 12 days, which Klotz said was a new attendance record. But the grounds are large enough to welcome big crowds, even on the busy midway.

Again this year, the state fair theme is “What Would Summer Be Without It?”

“People have told us how much they love that theme,” he said. “It brings back memories.”

If you’ve attended the state fair, you’ll agree with the marketing slogan. And it’s “fair” to say that if you’ve never gone to the fairgrounds, you’ll enjoy all the
attractions, including the pop, rock, country and gospel music concerts, animal judging, llama limbo contest, “world’s largest hog” and midway rides, not to mention the tasty pork chops, steaks, elephant ears and lemon shake-ups.

“We’ve got something for everybody this year,” Klotz said. “We’ve got things that should appeal to the younger audiences and things for Mom and Dad to do. … We think that we’ve got something for absolutely everybody to enjoy on at least one day of the fair.”

Special events this year which are free with the fair admission fee—$6 per person and children age 5 or under free—include a historical sports exhibit called “Baseball—America’s Game” featuring baseball artifacts and related activities, Klotz said, as well as Project Bandaloup, a one-of-a kind dance troupe whose members rappel off buildings and other structures.

“They will be rappelling down from the top of the 4-H Exhibit Hall every night for two performances at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.,” he said. “They use ropes to perform choreographed routines to music. It’s very artistic. I think a lot of people will really enjoy that.”

Alligator shows were a popular attraction at last year’s fair, Klotz said, and shark performances thrilled fairgoers two years ago. This year, tigers are in the spotlight. The International Circus Hall of Fame will welcome children and adults to daily shows in the Big Top set up at the Pfizer Fun Park.

“You’ll be able to experience the circus during three shows every day,” Klotz said. “There will be daily elephant rides, and the tigers will be on display almost constantly with other circus acts. The kids will be awed watching the trainers working with them. It’s all fun to do. The kids will love the circus.”

Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indiana’s first lady, Cheri Daniels, are sponsoring a Sports Spot at the fair to promote physical fitness activities with performances by gymnasts, dancers and jump-rope teams.

“People will be encouraged to take part in physical fitness activities,” Klotz said. “It will show kids how physical fitness can fit into your life, make you a healthier, more productive person, and show you that it’s fun, too. They’ve got jump-roping teams lined up and demonstrations by members of the U.S. Tennis Association.”

Music lovers will enjoy hearing The Procrastinators perform high-energy percussion music, Klotz said, using drums, water bottles and other objects during concerts.

“They make music with all kinds of items,” he said, “that will put a little spice into the other music you hear at the fair.”

Construction of a Pin-framed Living History Barn used in the late 1800s will focus on Indiana’s historical and agricultural roots in Pioneer Village, he said, where old-time farming and agricultural equipment will be on display.

“The animals are always a big part of the fair,” Klotz said. “The fair attracts people for three reasons—the animals, the food and the entertainment, which includes the midway. We’ve been told from other people in the industry—who go to fairs around the country and around the world—that we really highlight agriculture and … the animals, competitions and horse shows here are second to none. They view the Indiana State Fair as a special place.” †


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