Around Indy: The Indiana State Fair

State Fair Midway
One of the best things about the end of summer in Indy is the Indiana State Fair. Year after year, it just never gets old.

Like any other fair, it’s got your typical fair rides, games, food, animals, and rides, but what sets this one apart from other fairs is the sheer amount of space available at the fairgrounds that allows for a lot of different activities and many food and drink vendors. It’s a good idea to either plan for a full weekend day or a couple of half days if you want to fully experience everything the fair has to offer. Usually, I like to spend one fair trip mainly focused on food, and a second trip on exhibits, rides, and games with a little bit of food sprinkled in there.

The first thing to do when you get to the fair is get any rides out of the way — you don’t want to have anything sloshing around in your stomach before then. I tend to stick to the tamer rides, like the Ferris wheel, but they do have some more exciting rides if that’s what you’re into. This year’s fair also featured a new ride called the Subaru Skyride, which gave riders a great birds-eye view of the entire fair and made for some nice photo ops, but lines were too long to bother with that one.

On to the main reason I go to the fair… the food! I like to start with “real” food, usually either the sausage & peppers or a tenderloin sandwich. This year, I chose a tenderloin sandwich and shared some spiral potatoes with the friends I went with. After that, I went for my usual Dole Whip, but the attendant recommended something called “The Bomb” and I tried that instead. It was amazing, though it melted ridiculously fast. Last on the list was the beignets, which I wait an entire year for since I haven’t found good beignets anywhere else in Indy.

Indiana State Fair Food
Tenderloin sandwich + spiral potatoes + orange shakeup
"The Bomb"
“The Bomb”

Though I didn’t have enough of an appetite to eat anymore, I’d recommend the Sati Babi (pork kebabs) and any of the flavors of funnel cake. Last year, I split one of these Reese funnel cakes with a friend and it was delicious.

Reese cup funnel cake
Reese cup funnel cake

A good tip for eating at the fair: go with a group of at least four people! With that group of that size or larger, you can split food into smaller portions and try more things. If you’re going it alone or with a smaller group, I’d recommend aiming to go on one of the $2 Tuesdays. The majority of the vendors sell items for $2 in smaller portions that night, though you will have to deal with larger crowds and longer lines due to the popularity of those nights.

Whatever you do, don’t miss the fair! It only comes once a year and it’s more than worth a visit.

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