The first weekend of the Indiana State Fair saw ideal weather, new attractions, and large crowds. On opening day, Governor Mike Pence predicted this could be the best State Fair ever. This is not the Governor’s first time at the State Fair and First Lady Karen Pence grew up in the shadow of the fairgrounds, but coming to the fair for the first time as Governor is a bit different, “It is very different and very humbling for Mrs. Pence and I to be here to celebrate what I think will be the best State Fair ever.” Pence stressed that more than ever the State Fair is helping to deliver the message of agriculture to Hoosiers who have never been on a farm, “I think that making sure that the 98% of the people of our state that don’t work directly around agriculture understand where our food comes from.” He added it is also important people understand what kind of good stewards of the land and the environment farm families are. Pence said this kind of public understanding is vital to maintaining the public support and trust that agriculture has enjoyed in Indiana.
The Governor was the keynote speaker at the Pork Producers Ham breakfast which preceded the opening of the Fair. He pledged his continued support for the pork industry and for agriculture in general. The Governor and First Lady Karen Pence participated in the opening ceremonies, kicking off the Year of Popcorn at the 2013 State Fair. He said the Glass Barn and the many popcorn exhibits are telling ag’s story in a unique and powerful way. It is a message that is not only about our heritage but about the reality that agriculture is a 38 billion dollar part of the Hoosier economy.
Of course, 4-H is at the heart of the Fair, and Pence said the 4-H competition is one of his favorite parts of the Fair, “I really enjoy going to the livestock competitions and seeing the great accomplishments of these talented 4-Hers and their families.” He also admitted he has a special place in his heart for the Midway.
A number of special agricultural events are scheduled this week at the Fair including the awarding of Hoosier Homestead Awards by Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann on Wednesday morning, the unveiling of the cheese sculpture on Wednesday at noon, an ag issues discussion on Thursday, and the World’s Largest Drive Through Breakfast on Friday. Watch for coverage of all these events by Hoosier Ag Today.