I have to first say that I only went to the Fair 2 days this year. For some, it’s unbelievable that I could do all I wanted to do in just 2 days. For others, it’s hard to fathom ONLY going 2 days!
As of the trip yesterday, one of the friends I was with, Anne, had been there 4 times. Christy had been 3 times. Today is day 4 for Christy, day 5 for Anne if she comes along. 2 days is a little on the short side for me. I usually do 2 adult only days and 1 family day.
The short version- for those who think they have no interest in learning about all the Indiana State Fair has to offer- is that Christy and I spent the morning at the Fair on Tuesday. Jeff and kids joined us in the afternoon. Christy and I then spent the full day, Anne joining us later in the morning, there on Wednesday.
For those who want as much detail as I can remember… sit back and relax!
We arrived on the Fairgrounds around 9:00, I think. We first headed to the Pepsi Coliseum to see some judging of the Clydesdales. We watched a few rounds of different aged horses. They were beautiful. Giant, gentle creatures. Hard workers. And such funny personalities as you watch them. One kept insisting, while waiting his turn to show off, that he wanted to nibble on the rope attached to his halter. It was also interesting to watch the humans who were showing these giant horses. They generally were in teams of 2. One had hold of the horse and would guide the horse out to be judged and run them back and forth. The other held the whip thingee. I can’t remember the name of it, dangit. But what we most enjoyed was seeing how that 2nd person handled that responsibility. For some, they never did anything with that device. We heard it crack once on the run into the coliseum- a young horse that wouldn’t stop tossing his head about. Other than that, mostly used visually. Some hung back a good distance from the horse and would waggle it to get their attention. Some kept close by, seemingly ready to pounce. We also learned that there is a National Clydesdale Queen. This year’s queen hails from Ohio. We observed these 4 guys- and if you looked at the photo album on Facebook, you already know about these guys- who had the unfortunate task of being the pooper scoopers. The thing that cracked me up was how they taunted each other with shovelfuls of horse poop… and that the buckets where they dumped the poop were located directly behind their chairs and didn’t have lids. Phew-eeee!!
From the Clydesdales, we headed over to the Clarian Healthy Lifestyles Pavilion. Here we got our blood pressure checked, cholesterol checked, blood sugar checked. I won’t get into it much because I don’t trust their readings… but I already know that I’ve got some work to do in the diet and exercise area and this really helped that sink in a little further. Christy got checked for mouth cancer. This doctor guy took her behind these little curtain divider things- but they were completely open in the front so it provided no actual confidentiality. So I got to watch as he poked and prodded around her mouth. She seems to be in the clear. Learned about a lot of health related resources offered through the Clarian medical groups in Indiana.
Next we hit the Expo Hall. I didn’t anticipate spending a lot of time here (and yet- we did) but I did want to find the booth selling the JR Watkins products. Next year, I will stick with buying the Watkins products from the Pioneer Village because I’d prefer to support the Pioneer Village. But I loooove the onion soup base. And I picked up the cream base to play with, too. I also found someone selling those little dip kits. A little pouch of seasoning that you mix in with a cup of sour cream and a cup of mayo. I picked up the Fiesta and the Veggie. There was also a divine key lime that you make with sour cream and cool whip or cream cheese… it was YUMMY. Bought 2 of those. We sampled fudge and met a woman with amazingly long hair that she braided and also pinned the braids into loops. Sat and watched part of one of those cooking demos- enjoyed a fresh, raw veggie salad for free. My big find in the Expo Hall was a group of Asian people doing massages. They had those funky massage chairs that you sit in and they have the little place to put your face. I had a 15 minute massage that went deep into my neck, shoulders, and back and even my arms, hands, fingers and a smidgen down my legs. I felt so good after that brief massage. I almost want to go back to the Fair just for that!
Something else cool that I’ve supported at the Fair are the Lactation Stations. Clarian has a Milk Bank where people can donate breastmilk. Clarian has also set up tents around the Fairgrounds- it started with just one a few years back and has now grown to 4 locations- where nursing moms can comfortably nurse their babies, change diapers, cool off. Rocking chairs, bottled water, changing stations. And oodles of info about the benefits of breastfeeding and about the support services provided by Clarian. And what I really like is that if a mom wants privacy, she can have it. But the tents are mostly set up in such a fashion that the nursing mom doesn’t have to hide and can (and, IMO, should) be seen. Upping the normalcy factor of breastfeeding.
After the Expo Hall, we did our first food run. We happened to be there on a special and new event day… $2 Tuesday. It was a $2 Taste of the State Fair event. Vendors could offer a smaller portion of an item for $2. And a smaller portion of a Fair food is still a good sized portion! We shared a gyro, fried veggie combo (broccoli, cauliflower, mushroom, onion, zucchini in tempura), and each got a fruit slushie (that was made with actual fruit). Also tried the $2 portion of tomato balls- kind of like a hush puppy but with a cheesy, marinara-y-ness to it and a yogurt dipping sauce. Sounded weird but tasted so good!! And we never would have tried it if wasn't $2!!
Headed up to the Our Land Pavilion. Enjoyed seeing the Cheese Sculpture. And was really impressed with the sand sculpture. Spent some time visiting with the weavers… watched a woman take wool and turn it into yarn. Watched a woman working the loom where they are knitting, throughout the Fair, this huge roll of woven fabric that will be cut into scarves and donated to a homeless shelter. They select a different shelter every year. Way cool. Also learned about using a gourd to weave and Christy and I each had friendship yarn bracelets made for us- as we listened to a great little yarn about friendship!
Next, we hit the Dairy Bar for a glass of chocolate milk and then waited for my family to arrive. Jeff arrived with the kids and Teagan immediately wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel. I hadn’t anticipated that at all! I figured we’d avoid seeing the Midway and just head up to the kid area but she already had her mind set on that Ferris Wheel! Christy and I rode with her. She loved it!
We then walked through the Ag/Hort building. Christy, Teagan and I each got a cold glass of tomato juice. Teagan didn’t like it so I got to have hers, too. I like to doctor mine up with all they offer- Worcester sauce, Tabasco, salt, pepper, celery salt. Yum! Love the zing from the few drops of Tabasco!! Christy and Teagan learned about bee hives and honey and a bee man spent a good few minutes showing Teagan a fake beekeeper hive set up that shows how the production process works. Next, we toured the canned food structures. Teams built the structures on 8/7 and were judged on 8/8. There was a ferris wheel, a pagoda, a hippo from the children’s classic game “Hungry, Hungry Hippos,” and Jeff’s favorite "Can-ship Enterprise." Altogether, I think there were 6 or 7 structures? Weight of the total cans used ranged anywhere from 1000 to 5000+ pounds. And all those canned and boxed goods will be donated to Gleaner’s Food Bank at the end of the Fair!
At this point, Teagan is begging and begging for food. We stop for some roasted corn on the cob and she and Zach gobble it up. But she’s craving a corn dog and won’t stop until she gets one! We get juice slushies- that’s nice but she wants a corn dog. We visit the goats and even feed them carrot slices- which she enjoys but she wants a corn dog. We stop so I can buy my Mudflap Jones seasoning and I get each kid a hard candy stick- enjoyed and nice but she wants a corn dog! So we stop and get corn dogs and she relaxes on the side of the road in the shade… and chows down on the corn dog. She never even stopped to ask for ketchup!
We stopped in Crane Builders because Jeff and Christy were interested in learning more about concrete home construction. The structure was air conditioned, had a place for me to sit, and had a chalk board painted wall and all kinds of colorful chalk. The kids had a blast and they loved the little plastic construction hats the sales guy gave them.
Finally, we headed into Pioneer Village. Went directly to the Coppersmith to get our order placed for the kids’ copper cookie cutter hand prints that we have done for my mom every year. Christy and Teagan spent some time visiting the Potter as he made a vase of some sort on his wheel.
And that brought Day One to a close for my clan. Christy and Anne stayed for a while longer. Jeff and Zach went to get ribeye sandwiches and Teagan and I went to catch the tram (large tractor that pulls these bench things around to get you from one side of the Fair to the other). As Teagan and I were walking to the car, we passed the Indiana State Fair Queen. Teagan noticed her large tiara and sash... I told her that the young woman was the Indiana State Fair Queen and Teagan responded, with eyes wide and smile big, "Wooow! I bet she knows EVERYTHING about the State Fair!"
Tomorrow… our Day Two adventures!