The 75-year-old Fairgrounds Coliseum will reopen for business in April and then be the center of attention in August as the Indiana State Fair has declared 2014 the “Year of the Coliseum.” The renovated Coliseum, which has been closed since October, 2012 to undergo a $63 million renovation, will host Draft horse competitions, livestock shows, the Champion Drive, Celebration Awards and a full line-up of headline concerts during the fair, Aug. 1 – 17. “This is such a monumental occasion in the long history of the Indiana State Fairgrounds that we wanted to celebrate it in the most visible way we could,” State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye said. “Visitors will be overwhelmed when they see the transformation. We couldn’t be prouder to show Hoosiers their new Coliseum.”
When it reopens in April, the Coliseum will boast a number of new features like:
- A double-tiered seating bowl
- An overhead LED video scoreboard with a matching video ribbon board
- A modern sound system
- A second-floor bar area that allows visibility into the arena
- Full ADA accessibility
- A curtain system that allows for natural or artificial lighting
- A variety of other amenities
The iconic exterior of the Coliseum has been rejuvenated with tuck-pointing and new windows, but remains otherwise unchanged. Many other design elements will also remind fairgoers of the original Coliseum. These include the terrazzo floor in the expanded front lobby; the original ticket window grills used as decoration in the lobby; and an entire lower arena section of seats that have been restored to their original condition.
“People will be amazed by the renovation,” Hoye said. “It retains the building’s historic, iconic feel, and the natural lighting inside the arena is incredible just like it was when it originally opened in 1939.”
This is the eighth year the fair has had a “Year of” celebration. The previous seven fairs have focused on important Hoosier agricultural products, including corn, soybeans, pigs and Dairy Cows.
National Belgian Show
The reopening of the Coliseum means the return of the fair’s popular Draft Horse hitch competitions to the arena and one special event in particular. After 54 years in Iowa, the National Belgian Draft Horse Show will take place at the Indiana State Fair Aug. 14 – 16. The Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America, the premier Draft horse breed registry in the country, decided to bring the show to Indianapolis due in large part to the renovation of the Coliseum.
“We are proud to continue our show’s tradition at the 2014 Indiana State Fair,” organization President Dr. Michael Stone, DVM, said. “The Indiana State Fair Draft Horse Show has become one of the best shows in the country and we’re excited to showcase the Belgian horse at this year’s fair where we will also award the Don Schneckloth Premier Halter Exhibitor award.”
The National Belgian Show joins two other national Draft Horse shows that take place at the Indiana State Fair. The National Clydesdale Show, supported by the Clydesdale Breeders of the USA, and the National Haflinger Show both return to Indianapolis for the second consecutive year.