ABC57 Road Trip: Celebrating Hoosiers at the 2023 Indiana State Fair
Welcome to the 166th year of the Indiana State Fair. You might have guessed the theme already...it’s basketball. They’ve got new food and events so it’s time to jump right in.
The Indiana state Fair is celebrating basketball ahead of the 2024 All-star Game set to be played right in the Hoosier state next year.
On top of an indoor interactive exhibit space curated with Pacers sports and entertainment, this year’s fair also tips off with an outdoor basketball-themed amusement park, rides, food vendors, and unique displays, along with some major upgrades.
“The Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion is our century-old swine barn that just underwent a $50 million renovation,” said Anna Whelchel, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer. “It was our last outdoor livestock barn that had not been renovated into a multipurpose, multi-use facility that we can use outside of those 18 days of the Indiana State Fair.”
Since we attended the fair before it officially opened, we weren’t able to see any of the animals or ride any rides, but we were able to indulge in a much-anticipated fair favorite...the food!
But before that, we decided to start off with some adult beverages, like the ice cream sandwich beer and cherry and lemon shake ups (with a twist).
And while the drinks were great, it was time to taste the actual food.
The food definitely packed a punch, from Wicked Chicken N Waffles topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to Hoosier nachos, this years’ taste of the fair features 30 one-of-kind vendors, including Black Leaf Vegan, a black-owned business becoming the first to ever debut an all-vegan menu at the fair.
“We have a debut of what's called the Hoosier burger, in celebration of our Hoosier state, a Hoosier spirit,” said Derrick and Taria Slack, owners of Black Leaf Vegan. “And since it's an agricultural state, it just makes sense that veganism should be highlighted this year.”
And whether it's through food or fun, the biggest goal of the fair this year is to bring people together again.
“We bring businesses together, we're employing people,” said Whelchel. “So really, it is all about allowing people to bring their products here to the great Indiana State Fair, showcase their products at the Indiana State Fair. And then we'd like to tie that all back to agriculture.”
The Indiana State Fair runs through August 20th.
There are also new safety measures in place this year.