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It’s fair time!Indiana State Fair runs Aug. 6 – 17

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“I’m looking forward to it this year! There are some food items that are only available there that I’m eager to try. I also want to check out the outdoor entertainment,” said Micaela Coleman.

It’s here – the Indiana State Fair! As one of the highlights of the summer, this year’s fair promises to meet and exceed expectations.

The fair’s main purpose hasn’t really changed since it began in 1852. It still showcases agriculture and youth, both of which are in abundance at the fair. But this year Andy Klotz, public relations manager for the Indiana State Fair Commission, said there’s lots of new exhibits and items all can enjoy.

One of the highlights of this year’s fair is the “God Bless America” exhibit, a 25-foot sculpture of Grant Wood’s famous “American Gothic” portrait depicting traditional farming life. The “Bridges to Japan” exhibit is charged with educating Hoosiers about Japanese culture.

For the first time, fairgoers will get a chance to see a 5-bedroom Habitat for Humanity home being built on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The house will be transported to its permanent location after the fair, where it will be the new home of an Indianapolis woman and her five children.

The Boy Scouts of America will be doing some building of their own by constructing a bridge that stretches across the drive tunnel on the east side of the Fairgrounds. Year-round, the group will use the bridge and encampment area as a gathering site for Indiana Boy Scouts.

For the last four years, the fair has focused on a special agricultural commodity. This year, it showcases pigs. The Year of Pigs celebrates Indiana’s pork industry with pig-themed entertainment throughout the fair, special pork barbeque contests and events honoring the state’s $3 billion industry.

Other new features include the Nap Town Roller Girls night, the Rowdy Rooster puppet show, the Blue Monkey Side Show and a traveling bear show, among others.

Exhibits are nice, but many people go to the fair for the food! Ribeye and pork tenderloin sandwiches, turkey legs, elephant ears, corn dogs, pineapple whips – you name it, the fair’s got it.

Hoosiers and out-of-towners also come to the fair for specialty food items.

“The winner of our signature food contest was the garbage burger,” said Klotz. “It’s actually very tasty.”

The garbage burger consists of a pork burger patty topped with pulled pork doused with Shoup’s Country Foods’ barbecue sauce.

Two other items fairgoers might be interested in is the deep fried butter, similar to a cinnamon roll, and the doughnut burger, a dressed hamburger in between two Krispy Kreme donuts.

Other “heart-stopping” treats include country-fried bacon, thick-cut bacon strips with a crispy, country-fried breading served with a side of peppercorn country gravy for dipping; Delia’s pulled-pork tacos, slow-roasted, shredded BBQ pork tacos, seasoned and served in a hard or soft taco shell, topped with cheese, salsa and jalapenos; and Delia’s Root Beer Ribs, hickory-smoked, baby-back ribs, marinated in root beer for 24-hours and seasoned with Delia’s BBQ sauce.

For those who like to eat on the lighter side, the fair offers the Farmers’ Market Café. The market features fresh fruit, salads and sandwiches made with local produce throughout the fair.

“This is a chance for people to get off of the traditional fair food path and find some healthier choices,” said Klotz. The Clarian Healthy Zone will also provide exhibits and health screenings all 17 days of the fair.

The Indiana State Fair is known for it’s food, rides and carnival games, but the Indiana tradition wishes to be primarily known for celebrating Indiana agriculture and youth. Fairgoers are also encouraged to use those 17 days to enjoy what Indiana has to offer.

“The fairgrounds are so big, it’s really hard to do it in one day. People have their different rituals, but we encourage people to come several times. It’s always a great time, but if you pick the right day for what your interests are, it may be an especially great time.”

About the Indiana State Fair

The Indiana State Fair is the state’s largest multi-day event, attracting more than 900,000 people annually. Nationally recognized for offering the best in entertainment, showcasing youth, interactive agriculture education programs, premiere facilities and a variety of unique, fun foods, the Indiana State Fair is an annual tradition for generations of Hoosiers. Admission is $7 in advance, $8 at the gate, and children 5 and younger are free.

For more information, check out the Indiana State Fair’s free Smartphone app available in the iPhone application store, iTunes for the iTouch and the Android marketplace; call (317) 927-7500 or visit www.indianastatefair.com.

Drake is coming

to the fair!

Audiences can see Drake with New Boyz and Iyaz Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, $35 and $45.

The New York Times calls Drake “The new face of hip-hop” and says his music doesn’t cover “violence or drugs or street-corner bravado. Instead, emotions are what fuel Drake.”

The Canadian rapper dropped his debut album, “Thank Me Later,” on June 15 and is, for the first time, headlining a tour with an opening act.

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