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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Fairgrounds’ $10 million Youth Arena makes its debut

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When the Great Indiana State Fair opens Aug. 2, it will unveil a brand new multi-purpose facility that is a key component to the massive $53 million Fairgrounds Coliseum renovation that began last October.

The 30,000 sq. ft. Youth Arena debuts by hosting the 4-H Horse & Pony contesting classes and will then be the site of many other significant events and competitions throughout the fair’s 17-day run.

The Youth Arena’s stylish exterior includes tinted glass and Indiana limestone. Inside, it has an arena floor comparable to the Coliseum’s with easy access for people and livestock. In addition to 4-H Horse & Pony, the building will also host the 4-H Color Guard, livestock shows, Draft Horse competitions and several other events.

“This project hasn’t received nearly the attention that the Coliseum has, but it is just as vital to our operation,” State Fairgrounds Executive Director Cindy Hoye said. “Not only will this be a great venue for a lot of important fair events, but it’s going to be an outstanding facility for many year-round activities, especially our public skating and youth hockey programs.”

The Youth Arena is located in the space previously occupied by the Outdoor Arena between the Coliseum and the South Pavilion. The Youth Arena, however, is an enclosed, climate controlled facility that now joins all three venues together. The building will be officially dedicated during the fair Aug. 10 at 5 p.m.

When the Coliseum renovation is complete in 2014, it will return to hosting many of the events that will be in the Youth Arena this year. It will also become the new site for the fair’s headline concert series.

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