As the Indiana State Fair reopens Friday, widespread efforts to make it a great fair coming off a pandemic will be unveiled. The fair board, Indiana 4-H, FFA, livestock and commodity groups, Indiana Farm Bureau and many others have faced the challenges to bring the fair back to life.
“It has a been a challenge, but it has been a good challenge for us,” says Isabella Chism, INFB 2nd vice president and chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee. “Coming off of definitely a very different year and looking at the state fair not being able to go, to be together and who doesn’t miss state fair food, coming back together this year has us all excited. So, no matter what the challenges, we have had a very positive attitude about it. How can we make this work? How can make this better? How can we do this differently?”
The Women’s Leadership Committee’s Taste from Indiana Farms is one feature that is changing, moving to the opposite side of the fairgrounds from the Farm Bureau building. It will be held in the Purdue Ag/Hort building.
“That allows us the opportunity to be on the side where the fair animals are, where the youth are participating, close to the rides too, but it gives us a new way to talk to more people,” Chism explained. “Not everybody comes to all sides of the state fair.”
And what is Indiana Farm Bureau hoping to do with this event?
“To get you to come talk to us,” she said. “You walk around a path that is going to expose you to six different products that have ingredients or they are fully grown in Indiana, so our consumers, the grocery shoppers, that families that come through, can see that agriculture is all around them.”
Chism describes one of the Indiana food items that must be featured.
“We all know that Indiana has a new state snack, popcorn, so we will have and highlight popcorn because we grow a lot of popcorn in Indiana as well.”
There is another new feature this year.
“It’s a station where we’re going to have some cooking demos and food experiments. Kids are going to love those,” Chism told HAT. “The cooking demo is focusing on the air fryer toaster oven and things that we can use to make good meals quickly, at home.”
Taste from Indiana Farms is all free and runs the last five days of the fair, Wednesday, Aug. 18 through Sunday, Aug. 22 in the Ag/Hort Building from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Covid protocols dictate that the samples will be pre-packaged, another challenge they’ve met for the 2021 Indiana State Fair.
The INFB Women’s Leadership Committee is dedicated to educating the public through programs and events that promote agriculture.
The Indiana State Fair is Friday, July 30 through Sunday, August 22 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The fair will be closed every Monday and Tuesday during its run.