Thursday, July 21, 2016

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 13 no 15

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette
Can you believe that it is almost Indiana State Fair time? My intention is to attend all 17 days of the Fair again. I’m giving you the rundown on insider tips and the headlining concerts early so you’ll have plenty of time to plan. I’ll see you there!  

Indiana State Fair
August 5 – 21, 2016
Indiana State Fairgrounds
1202 E. 38th Street
all-ages, $12 at the gate (several presale promotions available) + $5 parking

I am an Indiana State Fair geek – I’ve attended every single day of the Fair for years. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned along the way.  

Admission: There are tons of deals to be had. There will be a coupon in Monday, August 8th Indianapolis Star for free admission on Wednesday, August 10. For Meijer Family Day on Monday, August 15 gate admission is only $20 for up to 10 people. There are also discounts for bringing Pepsi product cans, AAA member’s day, college students, military personnel and families, and much more. Check out for more information.

Parking: It is $5.00 to park in Fairgrounds and around the Fairgrounds. If I’m driving, I find it easiest to park at the Indiana School for the Deaf at 52nd Street and the Monon Trail. The charge is the same, and it is an easy walk across the street. There is also handicapped parking there and you don’t have to down and up the steps under the track. I find it easier to exit also, be prepared, everyone has to exit onto 46th Street, but there is you get to see all of the trailers and fun stuff of the folks that are working at the Fair.

Free State Fair Park & Ride: When you park at Glendale Mall’s Rural Street lot, you can ride the Indiana State Fair on the free shuttle. The shuttle runs every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. each day of the fair.

Walking: The Monon Trail leads right to the Fairgrounds. You can hop off at 42nd or 38th Street and there is a gate between the two that leads into the Midway.

Pedal & Park: The secured bicycle parking is right on the trail, north of 38th Street. And you receive a coupon for $1 off of your admission. Be mindful that you need to retrieve your bike by 8:00 PM.

IndyGo: Routes 4 and 39 stop just steps away from the main entrance on 38th St. Fare is $1.75 per ride or $4 for an all-day pass. Youth 18 and under and people 65 and older are eligible for reduced fare with proper ID. Plan you public transit trip to the Fair at

Once you’re there:  The Tractor Shuttle is my favorite way to get around. It is a great way to see the Fairgrounds and meet people. I couldn’t confirm this year’s price; it was a dollar per ride last year. You can take a full turn around the Fairgrounds while sitting in the shade (or out the rain). Seniors can purchase a daily unlimited ride wrist band for $3 – and it is free for seniors on both Tuesdays of the Fair.

Food: On both Tuesdays of the Fair there are $2 Taste of the Fair specials. All concessionaires will offer a $2 special. It’s a great way to sample it all!

Balloon Launch and Light Up the Night: Friday, August 5 (Opening Day). The balloons will launch at sunrise (about 6:15 AM) and that evening (9:00 PM) there will be an Illuminated Tractor Parade and Hot Air Balloon Glow, presented by Reynolds Farm Equipment. The Illuminated Tractor Parade was great fun last year – nothing like tractors outlined by lights to get you in the State Fair Spirit.

In honor of Indiana’s bicentennial all of the concerts are included in the price of admission.  You read that right – FREE!

On the aptly-named Free Stage (northwest corner of the Fairgrounds, in front of the 4-H buildings)

Night Ranger – Friday, August 5, 7:30 pm

Neal McCoy – Saturday, August 6. 7:30 pm

Hispanic/Latino Music Festival featuring El Dasa – Sunday, August 7, 3 – 8 pm

Aaron Tippin, with the Hunter Smith Band  - Monday, August 8, 6 pm

Granger Smith featuring Earl Dibbles Jr.– Tuesday, August 9, 7:30 pm 

Susan Cowsill and Flo

Happy Together Tour starring The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, Chuck Negron, Mark Lindsay, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Cowsills, and The Spencer Davis Group Wednesday, August 10, 7:30 pm

The Fray– Thursday, August 11. 7:30 pm 

38 Special– Friday, August 12, 7:30 pm 

The Bacon Brothers– Saturday, August 13, 7:30 pm 

Contemporary Christian Music Festival starring Jason Gray, Zealand Worship, SHINEBRIGHT, The Lasting Hope, and The Dave Chisham Band –Sunday, August 14, 2-8 pm 

Blues Traveler – Monday, August 15, 7:30 pm

Maddie & Tae – Tuesday, August 16, 7:30 pm

Lauren Alaina – Wednesday, August 17, 7:30 pm

Anthony Hamilton – Thursday, August 18, 7:30 pm 

ABBA The Concert (A Tribute to ABBA) – Friday, August 19, 7:30 pm 

Laura Marano– Saturday, August 20, 1 and 3:30pm

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band– Saturday, August 20, 7:30pm

Gospel Music Festival starring Karen Clark, Sheard, and Chicago Mass Choir – Sunday, August 21. 3 – 9 pm

I was hoping to be able to tell you the schedule for the Main Street Stage and the Pioneer Village Stage, but I only had bits and pieces of those schedules by press time. I’ll highlight some of the acts in the next issue.

I can’t wait!



Kassie said...

The elephant ear, jug bands, clogging and pork burger countdown begins!!

Kaye said...

I really enjoyed your column (saw it in the Broad Ripple Gazette), as I'm also a big fan of the Indiana State Fair. One thing I've always wished for, however, is a detailed map showing the locations of ALL the food vendors. I know the regular fair map includes the larger, well-established vendors, but the smaller ones are hard to find and know about (and there are so many of them!). I remember being surprised to discover a few years ago that there's a place that offers stir-fry on the south side of the fair, and a place that sells scrumptious walleye hiding on the north side, but neither of these appear on maps. Also, there have been some years when there was lots of attention given to the winning "signature" foods and the kooky and creative fried stuff and something-on-a-stick, but I can't always find them. So, I was wondering if you have ever seen a map like that. I think it would be very helpful!

Kaye McSpadden said...

I just downloaded the State Fair app. It's not exactly what I was looking for, but it does have a list of all the food vendors. No index by food, though -- you have to know the name of the vendor. For example, if you want a deep-fried Oreo, you have to know that the place that sells them is "C&E Concessions."