Friday, August 7, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 6, no. 16

Indiana State Fair
August 7 – 23, 2009

Indiana State Fairgrounds

As you long time readers know, I’m a State Fair junkie. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around the State Fair. I still can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to live close enough to walk to the Fair. I enter projects in the open-class in the Home and Family Arts Building. I thought you might enjoy some State Fair history and fun facts.

- The first Indiana State Fair in 1852 had an entrance fee of 20 cents and had 30,000 visitors over three days.
- In 1916, a 2,000-foot high-speed roller coaster was erected on the
- In the 1930s, State Fair officials allowed people to bring items such as a
bag of grain in exchange for a ticket.
- Beer was sold at the State Fair from 1933 to 1947.
- Approximately 70,000 feet of ribbon is used in State Fair awards…
enough to circle the 1-mile Track of Champions more than 13 times.
- The West Pavilion (Cattle Barn) is the one of the largest of its kind in
the world. There are approximately 4.5 acres under its roof.

I love a theme and no one does it better than the Indiana State Fair. 2009 is the Year of Tomatoes. There are hundreds of tomatoes planted all over the Fairgrounds. The gazebo is decorated as a giant tomato patch. This is also a good time to ketchup on your tomato knowledge. Did you know that Indiana ranks second in production of tomatoes used for processing in the country? 294,000 tons of processed tomatoes and 255,000 hundredweight (that’s 112 pounds per hundredweight for us non-commodities folks) of fresh tomatoes were harvested last year. 

There will be several tomato-y events. In the Ag/Hort building check out the giant structures that will be constructed with cans of food (to be donated to Gleaners food bank). Build day is August 7, winners announced on August 8. Have you grown a tomato over 5 pounds? Enter it on August 8 by 10:00 am in the Ag/Hort building for the largest tomato contest. Red Gold is sponsoring a salsa contest on August 20 and The Jazz Kitchen is sponsoring a Salsa dance contest on August 9.
Please check the Indiana State Fair Web site for specific contest details-

Remember all of the cool retro candy that Wendy Reed used to stock at Artzy Phartzy? Wendy did the purchasing this year for the Hook’s Soda Shop (State Fair Boulevard – southwest corner of the Fairgrounds). She has stocked the shelves with Whirlipops larger than your head and other nostalgic candy--wax lips, Necco wafers,  Valomilk and more.

Entertainment has been a staple in the Grandstand since the State Fair since moved to the current location in 1892. Here are the Grandstand highlights for this year. Check or call the State Fair box office at 317-927-7901 for ticket prices and details.

Band Day Competition
Friday, August 7

The Band Day competition started in 1947. Last year’s champions, Muncie Southside High School will be defending their title.

Tractor Pulls
August 8 and 9.  

For the first time in nearly two decades, tractor pulls are returning to the State Fair. Drivers will compete in six different classes during three different pulls in the Grandstand.

Demi Lovato
August 10

Demi Lovato has come a long way since her days on “Barney & Friends” when she was just 10 years old. She starred in the Disney Channel original movie “Camp
Rock” and now has her own TV series, “Sonny with a Chance.” Her debut album, “Don’t Forget,” was released last September with her Top 10 Radio Disney hit, “La La Land.” Sounds like a good time to take your niece to a concert.

Sandi Patty’s Broadway with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
August 11

Anderson’s Sandi Patty is the most award-winning female artist in Christian music history. Her show will feature Broadway numbers along with songs from her 30th recording, “Songs for the Journey.” The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will be supporting Sandi.

MercyMe with Jeremy Camp
August 12

The band, MercyMe, is a regular on the Top 40, Adult Contemporary and Christian chart.

Indiana MusicFest with Jon McLaughlin, The Why Store and The Elms August 13

I’m really looking forward to this free show of Indiana musicians. Jon McLaughlin has recently released his secondalbum, “OK NOW,” to follow-up his highly successful debut album, “Indiana.” The Elms just released a highly anticipated new album. The Why Store, with frontman Chris Shaffer, is still going strong after 15 years and five albums.

Kelly Clarkson
August 14

The winner of the original “American Idol” show  made Billboard magazine history for the largest leap to No. 1 by going from No. 97 .

Keith Urban
August 15

Keith Urban has recorded seven No. 1 songs and another seven Top 5 country hits. I wonder if he’ll be traveling with his wife, Nicole Kidman?

Journey and Heart
August 16

The two iconic bands will share the bill. The grandstand is sure to be loaded with folks who were fans the first time around and youngsters just discovering them. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is the top selling track in iTunes history.

Jason Mraz with G.Love & Special Sauce and K’Naan
August 18

Known for his fun, folksy style, Jason Mraz always puts on a good show.

Oak Ridge Boys with special guest Larry Gatlin
August 19

The Oak Ridge Boys are returning to their gospel roots after decades of turning out country hits.

Demolition Derby & Fireworks
August 23

An old-fashioned, “drive it ‘til it dies” demolition derby returns to the fairgrounds. The free show will end with fireworks. 

The big name acts that play the Grandstand, but there is a giant turkey leg’s worth of free music throughout the Fairgrounds.  The Main Street stage next to the Grandstand the features everything from bluegrass to the Blue Monkey Side Show. FYI, your dad will be extra-horrified that the guy who lifts things with his nipples knows your name. The Celebrations Park stage near the 4-H buildings leans to the country and world music side of the spectrum.

I love the old-timey music on the state in the Pioneer Village building. You’ll find lots of familiar folks playing there, including Cara Jean Wahlers and LuAnn Lancton.   There are some changes in Pioneer Village this year.  The Antique Tractor Barn is
no longer a tractor barn. It was converted into an Opry House, and will be the home of
several new and different activities in addition to the ever popular Farm Toy Show and Old Time Auction. Some of the new activities planned include a tribute to the WLS National Barn Dance, the Traditional Arts Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest, and a Liar’s Contest.

WLS National Barn Dance
Possum Holler Opera House
Pioneer Village
August 15, 8 pm.

Several of my friends have been working on this great show and I’ve seen some intriguing photos of rehearsal. Remember Red Foley, Lulubelle and Scotty? Do you miss hearing the Hoosier Hotshots or Patsy Montana? The WLS National Barn Dance is your change to rekindle the memories.

Charlie Ballantine
Thursday evenings

1134 E 54th St

The musical apple did not fall far from the tree. Charlie Ballantine is the very talented son of guitar hero, Scott Ballantine. Charlie will play every Thursday evening until he starts back at the IU School of Music. You need to go see him now, so you can tell your friends in a few years, “I saw Charlie Ballantine play at a little cafĂ© on the Monon Trail. I knew he was going to make it big.” I’ve enjoyed a couple of Thursday evenings sitting on the patio, enjoying a delicious Zest salad and listening to Charlie play. Good stuff.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nora goes to the Indiana State Fair.

I'm a State Fair junkie. I have my dream assignment -- NUVO is letting me write about the Indiana State Fair this year. Here are my Top Ten picks:  Nora's Top 10 Indiana State Fair.