Friday, August 9, 2013

@IndyStateFair - Day 1

I spent a half day at the Indiana State Fair as a guest of Indiana Family of Farmers.  I went without kids and was able to see a lot of stuff before heading in to the office for the afternoon.  It was a great way to whet my appetite for all the rest of the things I want to do at the Fair!!

We started the morning with breakfast at the Dairy Bar.  I had a bagel with cream cheese and chocolate milk.  I love chocolate milk from the Dairy Bar - it's some of the best stuff and I look forward to it all year.

What's really fun about this Indiana Family of Farmers event (I went last year, too) is that I get to rub elbows with some of my favorite bloggers and social media types. Like this guy - @BgKahuna (and his lovely wife @gotchababy and their fun kids).

We were free to go off and enjoy the Fair - as long as we promised to be at the new Glass Barn at 11:00 for a special live interview with a farmer.

I went next door to one of my favorite stops - the DuPont Food Pavilion.

First stop - seeing the cheese sculpture in progress.  I can't wait to see it all done when I go back.  The cool thing is that the cheese doesn't go to waste - it will be used for animal feed when the Fair is over.  And if you're there while it is being worked on, you can get a bite of cheese!

Next stop in the Pavilion was the market - it's stocked with locally made food products.  Last year, I discovered cheesey microwave popcorn from Preferred Popcorn (Palmyra, IN).  This year, I immediately bought 12 bags of it and will most likely buy more each time I go back to the Fair!  I made a recommendation to a fellow blogger (@saraelysecroft) and she has since confirmed the yumminess of this popcorn!

Next up, still in the Pavilion, I headed over to the Red Gold Cooking Stage to enjoy a cooking demo by @beyerbeware.  She talked about meat and marinades and I left hungry!

Thankfully, at a State Fair, there is no shortage of food options.  I went for one of my favorites - roasted corn on the cob.  I added cajun seasoning, mayo, and parmesan cheese to create elote.  So good!

Something unique to the Fair this year is the creation and presentation of The World's Largest Popcorn Ball.

One of my favorite parts of the Fair this year is a special exhibit called Get Animated.  If this exhibit doesn't bring nerds from far and wide to the Fair, I don't know what will.  GenCon is in town next week and every GenCon nerd should swing by the State Fair and check out this Get Animated exhibit, too!!  You can see Turbo and Kung Foo Panda (statues), check out information on how animation is created, take a drawing class, play with legos, video games, create your own animated short film, and shop in a fantastic gift shop (I call it the Nerd Store).

I ended my morning meeting back up with the group at the brand new Glass Barn.  I didn't have a chance to fully explore the Barn and am eager to check it out on a future visit (I have at least 3 more days planned).  I did get a gift from Indiana Family of Farmers - food coupons and a bag and a t-shirt.  And I found a, uh, model for the shirt...


One of the cool things that I did get to experience at the Glass Barn was a live internet chat with an Indiana farmer!  She was in her pig barn and we were able to learn about her farm and the pigs and ask questions.  It was really cool!!

Jeff and I are planning a date this weekend to go to the Fair without the kids.  I want to check out my friend Amy's presentation on the Cooking Stage - and she won't be cooking!  And I want he and I to fully enjoy the Get Animated exhibit!  Then I am taking the kids on Monday - just me and my kids.  It is Kids Day on the Midway and the kids will each get a $15 wristband to go crazy riding rides.  The kid rides are in a separate Midway area this year and I think they're going to love it- it was a big new thing we did last year (we used to avoid the Midway completely).

On Tuesday, we hit the Fair again - and this time my friend Jennifer is coming along.  Over the course of Monday and Tuesday, we will make sure to see and do the following:

- Little Hands on the Farm
- High Dive Show
- Ice Skatnig Show
- Take pictures with giant tractors
- Visit the Dance Stage
- Eat corndogs and drink lemon shake ups
- Ride the tractor tram around the fairgrounds
- visit Goat Mountain
- play on the Playground in the FFA Pavilion and maybe play some free Putt Putt
- visit the animal barns

But the best thing about spending multiple days at the Fair is finding the unusual, the unexpected.  And I know we will have some fun times in the days that we are there!


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