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Indiana State Fair

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Indiana State Fair
Indiana State Fair.jpg
Entrance to the Midway at the Indiana State Fair
GenreState fair
VenueIndiana State Fairgrounds
Location(s)Indianapolis, Indiana
Years active1852–1860; 1865–1916; 1919–1941; 1945–2019; 2021–
InauguratedOctober 20–22, 1852
Most recentAugust 2–18, 2019
Next eventAugust 6–22, 2021
Attendance878,857 (2019)[1]
WebsiteOfficial website
A view of some of the fair grounds
A view of some of the fair grounds
A portion of the midway on the fair grounds
A portion of the midway on the fair grounds
A building designed as a birthday cake in honor of the 150th anniversary of the fair in 2006
A building designed as a birthday cake in honor of the 150th anniversary of the fair in 2006

The Indiana State Fair is an annual fair held in Indianapolis, Indiana, usually in August. The first fair was held in October 1852, on the grounds of what became known as Military Park. The first Indiana State Fair on its present site along East 38th Street was held in 1892.

The state fair buildings and grounds are used for a variety of other shows when the fair is not being held. The largest building at the fairgrounds is the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The fairgrounds are at the northwest corner of 38th Street and Fall Creek Parkway.



In February 1851, at the urging of agricultural promoter Governor Wright, the Indiana General Assembly passed an act intended "to encourage agriculture" growth in the state, which also included the formation of a State Board of Agriculture. A primary goal of the Board was to organize an Indiana State Fair. On October 20–22, 1852, Indiana's first state fair was held on the grounds of what became known as Military Park, west of downtown Indianapolis. In 1860 a new location for the fairgrounds was established on approximately 38 acres (15 ha) along Alabama Street, north of the city.[2][3] Indiana became the sixth state to begin holding an annual statewide agricultural fair.[citation needed]

During the American Civil War, the county fairgrounds was converted into Camp Morton, a prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. During the war years no state fair was held, but it was resumed again in 1865 and held in Fort Wayne. The gates opened at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on East 38th Street for the first time on September 19, 1892. Since then, the fair has continually been held in Indianapolis.

The State Fair has been held in Indianapolis for the majority of its existence but other Indiana cities hosted the event during the mid-19th century:[4]

20th Century

There was no fair held in 1917–18 because of World War I nor from 1942 to 1944 because of World War II.

On October 31, 1963, a propane tank exploded in the Indiana State Fair Coliseum, killing 54 at the scene; another 20 died due to their injuries, with a total of 74 people killed. Around another 400 were injured. It is the deadliest disaster in Indianapolis history.[5]

21st century

On August 13, 2011, high winds from an approaching thunderstorm collapsed the roof over the grandstand stage just before Sugarland was about to perform, killing seven people and injuring 58.[6] Concerts were moved indoors to the Fairgrounds Coliseum, and, during that building's renovation in 2013,events were moved to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium.[7] The coliseum reopened in 2014.[8]

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the 2020 fair.


During each annual run of the Indiana State Fair, several competitions take place. The 4-H has a large participation in the fair and competitions are held in numerous areas for 4-H youth members. 4-H winners at county fairs can progress to the state fair with their live-stock, crafts, gardening, or other exhibits. The winner at the state fair can, in some cases, advance to a national competition. The winners receive scholarships and other awards.

Other competitions also occur including art contests, a hot air balloon race, and a high school marching band contest, the Indiana State Fair Band Day on "Band Day". Adult competitions also occur in various farm related categories.[9]

The Indiana State Fairgrounds mile-long oval track has hosted auto races for over a century. The AAA National Championship and USAC National Championship have hosted Indy car races in 1946 and from 1953 to 1970, traditionally under the name Hoosier Hundred. The USAC Silver Crown Series has been contesting the event since 1971. However, after the 2019 race, the track will be converted to a harness racing facility with an all-weather surface of crushed limestone. The half-mile dirt track in the infield will also be eliminated to allow more parking for the State Fair and other events.[10]



The Midway is the area of amusement park rides and games. Fairgoers can either buy single-ride tickets or unlimited ride wristbands.[11] Midway rides operate from noon till 10 or 11 p.m depending on the day.[12]


Numerous nationally known entertainers have performed at the Indiana State Fair.

In 1964, The Beatles performed two sold-out shows to nearly 30,000 audience members September 3[13] and, in 1989, New Kids on the Block set a Grandstand attendance record with 18,509 audience members.[citation needed]

The fair also presents Latino/Hispanic entertainment for Indiana's Hispanic population.

Famous visitors

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech to a crowd of 40,000 on a day known as "Big Thursday." Over the years, President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, President John F. Kennedy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Barack Obama, and President Donald Trump have all made appearances at the Fairgrounds.

See also


  1. ^ "Most Popular Indianapolis-Area Attractions". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  2. ^ David J. Bodenhamer and Robert G. Barrows, eds. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. p. 1481. ISBN 978-0-253-31222-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link); Ignatius Brown (1868). Logan's History of Indianapolis from 1818. Indianapolis: Logan and Company. p. 64.; and Holloway, W. R. (1870). Indianapolis: A Historical and Statistical Sketch of the Railroad City, A Chronicle of its Social, Municipal, Commercial and Manufacturing Progress with Full Statistical Tables. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Journal. p. 112. OL 7229155M.
  3. ^ "Indiana State Fair History". Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  4. ^ "2011 Indiana State Fair". Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  5. ^ "StarFiles: The 1963 Colliseum explosion". Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  6. ^ Wall Street Journal. Jack Nicas, "Faulty Planning, Stage Cited in Fair Collapse". April 12, 2012.
  7. ^ "Indiana fair concerts going to expanded coliseum". The Herald Bulletin. January 13, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  8. ^ Rader, Kevin (April 25, 2014). "Open house shows off newly renovated State Fairgrounds Coliseum". WTHR. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  9. ^ "Introduction" (PDF). Indiana State Fair Board. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  10. ^ Brown, Alex. "'Hoosier Hundred' to Leave State Fair After Track Conversion". Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  11. ^ "Indiana State Fair".
  12. ^ "Midway". Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center.
  13. ^ "1964: Hoosiers recall Beatles at Indiana State Fair". USA Today. July 31, 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 November 2020, at 18:43
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