New at the state fair: Fan food award, Bison-tennial Field exhibit

By Ashley Steeb

INDIANAPOLIS — Starting Friday amusement rides, exhibits and deep-fried food return to the Indiana State Fair along with some new highlights.

“The fair draws so many different people,” said Lesley Gordon, media and community relations manager for the fair. “Friends and family come together that you haven’t seen in a while and enjoy some fun. Enjoy some food. Enjoy the great weather and history of our state.”

This year, fairgoers can vote for their favorite fair food to win the Taste of the Fair contest. Previously, a panel that consisted of the fair queen, promotional partners and foodies determined the winner. Fairgoers can vote using the Indiana State Fair app. The food dish that receives the most votes by August 17 will win the Grand Champion award.

Fairgoers can also use the free app to check the day’s schedule, make a sharable itinerary to help plan out your day and rate favorite vendors.

The fair has some free activities for the whole family. Every night, with general fair admission, fairgoers can attend a free concert at the Free Stage and see artists like The Fray and country duo Maddie and Tae. They can also view First Lady Karen Pence’s water color paintings or attend the Knights of Valor jousting competition.

According to June Steiner, who attends the fair nearly every year, food and family is the most important aspect to her.

“It’s just a nice gathering of people from all over the state,” said Steiner. “It’s just fun.”

Every year the fair has a special theme and this year’s it is Celebrating Indiana’s Bicentennial. Fairgoers can visit the Bison-tennial Field exhibit. The exhibit is an art display of painted bison created by different counties across the state. They can also explore the Indiana Bicentennial Pavilion and visit the Bicentennial train exhibit.

Gordon said the whole purpose of this year’s fair is to learn about Indiana and have fun at the same time.

“The goal of the fair now, is to bring consumers close to Indiana agriculture,” said Gordon. “So, they get an understanding of what that means, where their food comes from and put an entertainment spin on it. We want people to enjoy themselves and be able to celebrate Indiana.”

The Indiana State Fair starts Friday and runs until Aug. 21.

Ashley Steeb is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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