5 Must-Sees at the Indiana State Fair

Indiana State Fair arch

I love the Indiana State Fair! I went a few times as a child. It was such a treat to search out my 4-H projects and see all the unusual things you didn’t find just anywhere.

As an adult, I go almost every year. Why not? The fair is an affordable treat (check out $2 Tuesdays and other deals), and it’s just fun. Since it’s in Indianapolis, the fair is accessible within a couple of hours from anywhere in the state.

Here are my top 5 must-sees at the Indiana State Fair:

1. Animals

Indiana State Fair dogs

The fair is an animal lover’s paradise. There are cows, pigs, rabbits, and more in the 4-H animals buildings. But the furry friends don’t end there. There’s a butterfly garden, and a petting area with baby goats you can feed. I found these friendly dogs in the Angie’s List State Fair Gardens.

2. Old Stuff

Indiana State Fair Normandy Barn

Things are changing fast in today’s world — too fast for my tastes, and I expect for a few others’ as well. Sometimes it’s refreshing to just step back a few decades and enjoy the charms of a simpler time. You’ll find vintage life in spades at the Indiana State Fair. The Normandy Barn is charming …

Indiana State Fair 1930s kitchen

… as is a 1930s kitchen.

Indiana State Fair farmers

You can even watch farmers out working, using old-time equipment. It’s fun  to hop into a time machine for an hour or so.

3. Hoosier Goods

Indiana State Fair giant pumpkin

Maybe some other states have giant pumpkin contests, but it does seem to be a Hoosier hallmark.

Indiana State Fair

Be sure to check out the Farm Bureau Building for a great selection of made/baked-in-Indiana goods. They make wonderful gifts for out-of-state friends.

4. Free Stuff

Indiana State Fair Turkey Hill Ice Cream

Everybody loves getting a deal, or coming across freebies. You’ll not be let down on that score at the Indiana State Fair! I found free ice cream given out courtesy of Turkey Hill, just southeast of the Grandstand.

At Dow AgroSciences Celebration Park, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market offered a tented area full of fresh fruit, free for the taking (I snagged a delicious apple). Next door to that, my sister signed up for a $10 subscription to the Indianapolis Star — and got a $10 grocery gift card for doing it. What a deal!

5. Amazing Food

Indiana State Fair strawberry shortcake

Of course, no state fair is complete without an amazing array of foods. My favorite, and the item I’ve purchased for years, is shown here — the strawberry shortcake from the Purdue Extension Ag/Horticulture Building. Ice cream, biscuit, strawberries — it’s totally delicious!

Indiana State Fair Dairy Bar

My sister enjoyed a “shake” at the Dairy Bar, where you can get a huge amount of refreshing soft serve for just $3. No wonder the lines are long!

Indiana State Fair Fried Oreos

If you really feel like livin’ on the edge, take advantage of Deep Fried Oreos, Deep Fried Reese’s, or maybe a Doughnut Burger.

What’s your favorite thing about the Indiana State Fair?


7 thoughts on “5 Must-Sees at the Indiana State Fair

  1. It’s been eons since I’ve been there, but I’m sure I would enjoy some of the same things you did. That kitchen brought back many memories of our kitchen on the farm. And the strawberry/biscuit/ice cream or the soft serve would have been wonderful. Glad you and your sister got to go.

  2. Looks like a really fun day at Indiana State Fair! Haven’t been there in years, but many of the places and events/venues you shared in pictures make it look much improved over my very few visits there.

  3. Love the Indiana State Fair. I saw a cow have a calf this year!

  4. That looks like so much fun!! I love the kitchen….I want mine to look like that! I so miss having a fair. We have one about 1 hour away from us, but it’s mostly just rodeo and pig contests….small town. 🙁

  5. As a young girl I saw a colored television for the first time at a manufacturers’ building at the Indiana State Fair. I was chosen to attend State Fair School/4-H but I declined. I think it was about the time I went to Girls’ State. I really wish I could still go to the State Fair. I remember when we went up as a family and you did the demonstration about making a pink gingham shoebag which resulted in you winning a trip to Washington D. C. (or was it some other city?) When I was dating Dad he went up with his folks I guess and I went up with somebody different. All day we searched for each other, and it was in vain. For those active in 4-H it is a great place to garner ideas for future projects that could do well.

  6. What am amazing looking state fair. I wish Tennessee’s state fair would be held at a larger and more up to date venue because it pales in comparison to some state fairs I’ve attended. Great photos Susan! It makes me want to add your state fair to my bucket list.

  7. I’ve been to Indiana a couple of times, but haven’t been to a fair. I am an animal lover, so the critters would make me happy to see. However, above all else – I am a foodie and enjoy trying new things.

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