Sunday, August 7, 2011

Indiana State Fair: Day One

Saturday, I took the kids for our first visit to the Indiana State Fair!  It opened on Friday, Aug 5 and I was very excited to spend some time there with my kids.  It's very funny to me that I used to feel such anxiety at the idea of taking both kids by myself on this kind of an outing and now I'm eager for it! 

We were greeted by the motorcross guys warming up- it was cool to see the bikes doing wheelies and practicing jumps.  We didn't go to the big show because it was just too loud for Zach but I'd love to add this to our list to do in future years because it was really cool!! 

The kids surprised me by asking to go see the pigs first.  Teagan was eager to see the World's Largest Male Hog- Reggie.  Reggie weighs in at 1,305 lb and beat out last year's winner of the title by 18 lb.  Most fun was seeing the prize winning litter of baby piglets.  It was feeding time and these guys were not going to chill out until they'd had their fill.  The grunting and squealing was adorable and hilarious.

Next we made our way up to the Riley Fun Park area- lots of kid friendly stuff and close by Pioneer Village (celebrating its 50th year this year!).  My kids love doing Little Hands On The Farm every year- they do kid friendly versions of farm chores, "sell" their products at the market, get paid, and get to then spend the "money" in a little snack bar.  Teagan was worried she would be too big to ride the toy tractors this year- officially, she probably was- but she squeaked through.

The Circus Hall of Fame show had already started up so we went to check it out.  I've never seen goats in the circus before!  It wasn't the greatest show on earth but it was still impressive in its own way.

Next stop was lunch.  Had to indulge in traditional Fair food- corn dogs and lemon shake ups!!  One of my favorite things to do at the Fair is get 2 large lemon shake ups- one for me, one for the kids to share- and then get refills from various vendors around the Fairgrounds.  A large is usually around $5 and refills are $2 at the best places and $3 at others. 

We visited a special event going on that day- a Kindergarten prep group that was also teaching about healthy living habits.  The tooth fairy was there and the kids did exercises and learned about healthy lunch options.  The group also had a school bus there and taught kids how to safely get on the bus, get into their seats, and how to safely get off the bus.  I most enjoyed the displays about healthy foods - and the work required to burn off the calories of those Fair food treats!  I also really liked all the healthy packed lunch ideas they offered.

We passed through a barn where we enjoyed seeing a baby lamb and a cow that was very people friendly.  We walked through Pioneer Village and sampled maple syrup and learned about leather working.  I love the old machines that are up and running at the various mills and such.

We visited the greenhouses and enjoyed some beautiful flowers and a lily pad pond and were very excited to see a pineapple growing!  I have to admit that I've never seen a pineapple growing before!!

Up next was a favorite from last year- the Peking Acrobats!  This is an amazingly talented and hardworking group of Chinese acrobats that demonstrate amazing feats of strength and grace and balance.  We only caught the last 10 minutes of the show so I will definitely be going back to see it again!

There was more to our day but I didn't capture a lot more pictures.  We just got busy and hot and sweaty and tired.  Still fun, of course!  We visited and fed carrots to the goats.  We watched the fish in the Department of Natural Resources building.  We tasted honey (and I bought jalapeno whipped honey- yum!) and enjoyed a little down time in the Ball State Backyard (a project done each year by Ball State students who are in fields like landscaping architecture).  We walked through the Expo Hall and through the Cattle Barn.  Zach fell asleep for the end of our trip but woke up for cotton candy. 

I'm going back by myself this Teusday- I will meet up with some friends there.  But it will be MY day at the Fair and I look forward to exploring with my camera and taking in shows that the kids might not have enjoyed as much.  It's also $2 Tuesday which means many vendors are offering smaller portions of food for just $2.  I'm taking the kids back the following Tuesday- we'll take the train down, ride the ferris wheel, eat and enjoy our last day of summer (Teagan starts school the next day).

So that's my Sunday (or Saturday) in my city!

Unknown Mami



Keetha Broyles said...

Oh my goodness! That looks like a great State Fair.

We lived in Indiana for 25 years and NEVER ONCE took in the state fair - - - what WERE we thinkin'???

Alison said...

Wow, you packed a lot in--no wonder Zach fell asleep! Love the way he eats his corn dog. :D

Your picture of the water lily flower is beautiful.

Garret said...

I noticed Zach's corn dog eating too. Did he ever eat the hot dog or just the breading?

I liked the acrobats on the bike.

Other favs: Zach with the apples. Teagan and her corn dog. She just gets prettier every time I see her. You and Jeff make nice babies.

Call Me Cate said...

What a great experience! Our State Fair is literally one mile from our house - we can watch the fireworks from our yard. However, I wonder if I've been doing it wrong, so to speak. Ours probably has some similar types of attractions but when I think of our fair, the first things that come to mind are rides that look unsafe, overpriced games, and fried food. Not that fried food is doing it wrong, because you have to have those fair treats (even if they DO take 10 hours to walk off).

Anyways, I love your enthusiasm for your fair. Maybe we'll visit ours this fall with a different approach.

Unknown said...

I have never experienced a state fair. They seem to be most popular in the midwest, a part of the country I have never vistied, except through wonderful blogs like this. I am glad I went to the state fair, via your blog.

Momza said...

I want a poster of the man with the goat on his shoulders. That's just how I feel somedays!!! lol

Mellodee said...

Elephants! Your Fair had elephants!!! I love elephants! I pretty darned sure the Texas Fair doesn't have elephants! Bulls, yes. Horses, yes. Maybe even armadillos....but elephants?? Not a chance.

The Midwest knows how to throw a Fair!

Kristin - The Goat said...

I've only been to a couple of State Fairs and they are always so incredibly interesting. You are making me want to go to one right now LOL

I love that your fair had so many goats :)

Claudya Martinez said...

I wish I could go with you. The images you captured are wonderful. The kids are gorgeous.