Indiana State Fair

2011 was a bad year for the Indiana State Fair. Most folks who watch the news have probably already seen reports and footage of the stage collapse that left at least a half-dozen people dead and many others injured.

It was probably the worst event at the Fairgrounds since a 1963 explosion killed 74.

Attendance was down in the aftermath of the tragedy, and Fair officials announced that admission on the last Friday would be free to anyone who showed up. We already had a commitment at the Fairgrounds Friday evening, so we were going anyway. We expected big crowds, but the grounds were rather subdued.

Even under a cloud, there's nothing quite like a big midwestern state fair. You just never know what you might find around the next corner. How about a pumpkin that weighs more than half a ton?

Or maybe A 154 pound watermelon (I wonder if it's any good):

Other oddities include a sculpture of the space shuttle, made from canned goods

How about the world's largest pig?

Or a champion hay bale?

Here's a gigantic model of Lucas Oil Stadium, made of Legos.

I've always thought the stadium looked like a gigantic barn, which is a nice tie-in with the agricultural theme of the State Fair. The far side of this model was cut away, revealing Lego fans in the stands and Lego players on the field.

Or maybe your taste in Lego sculpture runs more toward Alpine villages.

Lots of people go to the Fair for the food. I've met folks who have very specific State Fair food rituals, mostly involving the consumption of vast quantities of deep-fried stuff, some of which was once food, and some of which probably wasn't ever food.

While the deep-fried Twinkies stand was doing a brisk business, that's a phenomenon that's several years old now and somewhat passe. The real action was elsewhere.

Words fail.

(Originally posted 28 August 2011)