Some 25 pounds of corn have been planted throughout the State Fairgrounds this year to serve as “frequent visual reminders that this is the Year of Corn.” But even without the corn stalks, it seems unlikely that fairgoers will be able to forget the theme given a number of corresponding events and exhibits, like a “corn-related chalk mural,” a celebrity corn shucking contest and a redecorated gift shop made to look like a large basket of corn with a blue ribbon. This marks the beginning of a new program for the fair in which every year an agricultural product will be featured.
But, even those fairgoers who are less enthusiastic about the corn theme should find a few things that interest them at this year’s fair, from big-name performances at the Grandstand to showcases of local color and talent throughout the fair’s stages and exhibit halls to the latest culinary trends in the world of deep-fried foods.
The Pork Chop Review featuring Oink the Singing Pig
Three times daily
Riley Fun Park
You can normally expect to see acrobats or talented performers at state fairs, but you might be surprised they can come in the swine variety. Visitors can expect to be dazzled by Les Kimes, or “Cousin Grumpy,” and his touring performing pigs act that has been family-owned and running for over 50 years. The talented pigs of the Pork Chop Revue will dance, leap hurdles, roll barrels and perform other stunts in the Riley Fun Park. The star hog, “Oink,” will then amaze the audience by singing on cue. Don’t you bet he brings home the bacon … well … in a monetary sense?
Blue Monkey Sideshow
Saturday, Aug. 11, 8:30-10 p.m.
On Saturday night, the amazingly and freakishly talented performers of the Blue Monkey Sideshow will take the main stage. Expect performances mesmerizing and excruciating as traditional Blue Monkey stunts include cringe-inducing physical feats like performers lying on a bed of nails, sword swallowing, breaking a cinderblock with his or her head, as well as some less traditional sideshow fare like a man swinging around a chair that is tied to chains that are hooked to his nipple piercings.
Throughout the fair at various locations
In addition to foods that will pertain to the Year of Corn theme, fairgoers will be able to try one of the fair’s most interesting (perhaps most terrifying) culinary innovations yet: deep-fried Pepsi, which features deep-fried Pepsi-flavored batter balls drizzled with Pepsi syrup and Pepsi-flavored icing and topped off with whipped cream.
Throughout the fair
Old National Grand Hall
The new and aptly named “Indiana Curiosities: A Walk Thru the Wacky Side of Hoosier Life” exhibit celebrates some of the state’s strangest claims to fame: the world’s largest rocking chair in Amity, a pumpkin launcher built by an Ellettsville man, a car covered in AstroTurf and a 7,000-square-foot house in Pendleton called the “The Giant” that is known for being environmentally friendly and efficient.
Tapestry of Color, Artists of Brown County
Throughout the ISF
Third floor of the Home & Family Arts Building
This beautiful exhibit features the work of artists inspired by Brown County, Ind. A few of the artists whose works are showcased in this collection are T.C. Steele, Adolf R. Shulz, Gustave Baumann, L.O. Griffith and Carl Graf. The fair has been given the opportunity to display these paintings by a temporary loan from Flanner & Buchanan Funeral Centers. Visitors can enjoy these “scenery on site” pieces all 12 days of the fair.
WHAT: Indiana State Fair
WHEN: Aug. 8-19
TICKETS: General admission $8, free for children age 5 and under Round Trip Fair Train: $11, $8 children ages 3-12, free for children ages 3 and under
By Audra Irvin, Joe O’Gara and Cami Ward