Saturday was another gorgeous day at the Indiana State Fair. I’m lucky enough to live only a mile from the Fairgrounds so it’s an easy walk on the Monon Trail.  

My first stop was to the Ag/Hort Building (west side of the Fairgrounds). This is the place to find 4-H agriculture and horticulture projects – vegetables, flowers, and plants — honey and all things bees, ice cold cups of tomato juice, the Purdue Extension, Master Gardeners, the cheese sculpture, the Indiana-Made store, and the Farmer’s Market Café.

I often hear that it is impossible to go to the Fair and not eat fried food. Last week in the Weight Watchers meeting that I attend a woman said that she wasn’t going to attend the Fair because of the food choices.

There is non-fried food several places around the Fair. The Farmer’s Market Café features salad, wraps, and fresh fruit. There is also a stand in front of the cow barn that serves fruit, salads, and yogurt.

I ate a fruit salad (zero Weight Watchers points) and a boneless pork chop, no bun (5 points) and I walked 10,000 steps (4 Weight Watchers Activity Points). - not too bad for the visit. 

I toured the Purdue Extension exhibit and learned so me new things - those Eastern Hellbender Salamanders are aptly named! 

This year’s activities include following the path that your food takes from farm to table. There is a quiz that walks you through the area and you get a prize at the end. 

I was off to watch Hoedown Express, a clogging group from Boone County. My childhood friend, Sandy, was dancing. The Dance Stage is near Centennial Hall, one of the 4-H buildings. You can’t help but smile when you see folks clogging, and I’m sure there was some laughter when I took my two left feet to the stage when they invited people from the audience to join them for a dance - notice that I'm facing the opposite director of all of the other dancers!

Dancing next to Sandy brought back all of the anxiety and giggles from fourth grade gym class. All that was missing was the one-piece blue short, stripped top gym suit.

I sprinted to the Champions Pavilion for the Llama and Alpaca Open Contest Costume Show. It is everything you imagine it would be. Llamas and kids in costumes – what could be be better?

Each llama/kiddo pair paraded around the ring while a story the child wrote explaining their ensembles is read. Cuteness abounded.

The llama dressed as a treasure chest was the crowd favorite and didn’t even place! To quote Evan Finch (who turned me on to the contest a few years ago), “There was much llamenting.” It really was flabbergasting. I don’t know all of the criteria that is used for judging, but people were visibly surprised and still talking about it hours later.

The #SelfieWithAFarmer for the day is with Paul Russell, Delaware Country, a sheep farmer with his wife Diane and son Jeremy. You can read more about them here.

My picks for Sunday: 

3:30 – Domino Sugar “Year of the Farmer” Cupcake Bakeoff [Home and Family Arts Building] 

4:00 – Up Close and Personal Tour [Demonstration Field Pioneer Village]

6:00 – 4-H Horse and Pony Jumping Qualifying [Youth Arena]

Nora Spitznogle is a nonprofit director by day and year-round Indiana State Fair geek. She hasn't missed a single day of the Fair in over a decade. The stack of ribbons from entering baking competitions and ugly lamp contests in the Open Show are among her prized possessions. 


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