Still plenty to do at the Indiana State Fair as run nears its end – Indianapolis Star
Life has been busy lately for Tracie Ingle and her husband, who work many weekends, and for their children, who started school recently.
So the Greenwood family wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t able to make it out to the Indiana State Fair until Saturday, the day before the fairÃ¢Â€Â™s end.
But Saturday afternoon found them relaxing and eating frozen treats outside the Dairy Barn, while reveling in the fairÃ¢Â€Â™s extended run: Ã¢Â€ÂœOtherwise we wouldnÃ¢Â€Â™t have been able to come,Ã¢Â€Â Ingle, 42, said.
Sarah Becker, 28, had already visited the fair once this year. But that did not stop her from coming back Saturday with her sister, mother, and three nieces and nephews for a GirlsÃ¢Â€Â™ Day Out, while their husbands were on a fishing trip.
Ã¢Â€ÂœItÃ¢Â€Â™s just a nice family day out,Ã¢Â€Â Becker said.
Her 4-year-old twin nephews were eager to share their favorite parts of the fair: the food, said one; the rides, said the other.
When Indiana State Fair spokeswoman Lesley Gordon was asked whether the fair was winding down as its headed into its last day Sunday, Gordon ticks off a long list of whatÃ¢Â€Â™s still on tap: the demolition derby, 4-H dog shows, and the Wild Cherry Pepsi Gospel music extravaganza.
And there are still the regular activities, the kind that you can only find at the fair, like the Peking Acrobats, a watermelon seed spitting contest, and an Elvis impersonator contest. And of course, perennial favorites like Lemon Shake-Ups and the Dairy Barn treats.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI love that weÃ¢Â€Â™re still showing in the hall, still have Grandstand acts, draft horses. We still have (what) a lot of what people are ready to see and come to the fair to see,Ã¢Â€Â Gordon said.
ItÃ¢Â€Â™s too early to get hard numbers on how well the fair has done this year, but Gordon said the fair is Ã¢Â€Âœon trackÃ¢Â€Â with previous years.
Ã¢Â€ÂœFrom what weÃ¢Â€Â™re seeing, from the traffic on our shuttles and how we have had to shift parking, weÃ¢Â€Â™re trending to a normal state fair,Ã¢Â€Â she said. Ã¢Â€ÂœWeÃ¢Â€Â™re not seeing anything drastically low that would concern us.Ã¢Â€Â
Many at the fair Saturday had mostly positive things to say about their experience.
Paul Trapp, 56, hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t been for a few years. But this year, with his two teenage sons showing a terrier poodle and cocker spaniel in the 4-H dog show, the Southern Indiana family hailing from Madison returned.
Trapp was pleasantly surprised by what he found.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIt seems like itÃ¢Â€Â™s easier to get around,Ã¢Â€Â he said, Ã¢Â€Âœto get in and out of everywhere.Ã¢Â€Â
Lonnie Ingle, 43, who has been coming to the State Fair for what he estimates to be 30 to 35 years, agreed that things have only gotten better with time.
Ã¢Â€ÂœEvery year for the last 10 years, thereÃ¢Â€Â™s been only some great improvements,Ã¢Â€Â he said.
The one downside, he said, is that the food has gotten more expensive, but at least the dairy barn remains reasonable.
One of the newer attractions this year involves alcoholic beverages. For 67 years, the strong stuff was banned from the fair. Last year, the fair opened a beer and wine exhibit. This year, the fair started serving alcohol during its concert series and expanded the Grand Hall exhibition.
Although the exhibit is clearly off-limits to minors, Nason Frizzell, 32, and Matt Christian, 35, and their spouses solved that problem. The women went in first, while the two men waited outside with the children. When the women came out, it was the menÃ¢Â€Â™s turn.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIt would be nice if you could grab it and walk, but I understand the implications,Ã¢Â€Â Frizzell said.
Still, his friend Christian, a Noblesville resident, said it makes sense for the State Fair to offer alcohol now. Ã¢Â€ÂœItÃ¢Â€Â™s a huge part of our culture,Ã¢Â€Â he said.
Some might argue that the State Fair is an integral part of the Hoosier culture, but siblings Eric and Jenny DeGraaf, 22, have never attended in the seven years that they have lived in Zionsville.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI love it,Ã¢Â€Â said Eric, 25, from under a wide-brimmed straw hat. Ã¢Â€ÂœI love it. Good food, good rides.Ã¢Â€Â
And next year, they agreed, they would definitely be back.
Call Star reporter Shari Rudavsky at (317) 444-6354. Follow her on Twitter: @srudavsky.