Indiana State Fair 2016 Photos, Part 4 of 4: The Best of the Rest



Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians that other people love, and farm animals competing for cash prizes and herd bragging rights. My wife and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context.

In Part One we covered this year’s food, both the delicious and the deadly. In Part Two, the Parkour Show starring acrobatic dudes. In Part Three, selections from the great Indiana BISONcentennial herd. In this, the exciting probable conclusion, selections from the dozens of other photos we took during our visit. Other photos may surface when you least expect it, but these were among my favorites of the bunch.

We attended one other show, a presentation by Julie from Chocolate for the Spirit, a local chocolatier whose wares we previously sampled at Fantastic Food Fest in January. The prices aren’t cheap, but neither are the products. Great stuff, especially for fans of dark chocolate in varying degrees of darkness.

Chocolate for the Spirit!

She made a quick ganache while audience volunteers passed free chocolate samples around for everyone. We approved.

The bison in Part 3 weren’t the only Indiana Bicentennial commemorations on hand. This photo-op stand is an ad for the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay, a five-week event kicking off September 9th in which Hoosier runners will carry an Olympic-style torch through all 92 Indiana counties, leading to a grand finale on the grounds of the Indiana Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis on October 15th. Should be fun.


The Indiana Bicentennial is better with jazz hands!

Once again dairy artist Sarah Kaufmann was on hand carving her annual cheese sculpture, this time in honor of our big 200th. We arrived too early in the week to see the finished product, so what you see here is the work in progress, slowed a bit by some distracting interviewer.

Bicentennial Cheese Sculpture!

For the lactose-intolerant, maybe somewhere out there is an enterprising pioneer carving an Indiana Bicentennial diorama out of soybeans.

The Indiana Bicentennial Barn Quilt, a co-production between Indiana Landmarks and the Indiana State Quilt Guild, contains one barn patch for every Indiana county. Presumably their most distinctive barns, and not just the first barns they saw.

Bicentennial Quilt!

If they subdivided into townships instead of counties, this would be such a wreck.

Longtime MCC readers may recall my wife is a fan of smashed penny machines and hunts for them whenever we visit other states. She secretly hoped someone would invent an Indiana Bicentennial smashed penny machine and bring it to the State Fair. Lo and behold, her wish was granted.

Indiana Bicentennial smashed penny machine!

This is what we did instead of carny games, basically.

We don’t visit too many State Fair animal barns, but we found the goat in the lead photo in one of the smaller farming-themed buildings that we entered briefly while searching for more Bicentennial Bison. Of all the animals we got on camera, he was the pushiest.

Just as invasive but not quite as obnoxious, this grasshopper flew at me landed on my stomach while we were sitting and waiting for the parkour show to begin. It perched there for over a minute, just hanging out and disrespecting my personal space before it fluttered away to parts unknown.


If we could’ve stayed put for a few more minutes, we might’ve earned a 4-H Participant ribbon.

Intermission for cool, refreshing air from these delightful electric air blasting miracle machines.

Anne and fan!

Best State Fair ride of all time, 13/10 would spend all day there if other sweaty, dehydrated visitors weren’t also expecting a turn.

Grown-ups who don’t care for carnival rides anymore learn to appreciate the assorted art displays on exhibit all over the fairgrounds. Each year there’s a canned-food sculpture contest in which clever artisans sculpt people, places or things out of tin grocery finds that are later disassembled and given to charity. Best of Show 2016, far as I’m concerned: canned Mario Kart.

Canned Mario Kart!


Some 4-H displays are more about education than about art. Kids who sign up for various learning categories have to make posters showing off something near and dear and/or on-topic, in hopes that just one attendee will look at them and learn something.

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis!

“Hi, I’m Tim Daly, star of TV’s Wings, and I’d like to talk to you about Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis…”

Best diorama in our opinion, free-form division: this loving recreation of War of the Worlds, complete with disturbing victim ash outlines.

War of the Worlds!

Notice Earth’s savior hanging overhead, by which I mean those killer cold germs that save the day.

It wouldn’t be an Indiana State Fair, or an Indiana State Fair photo gallery on MCC, without ambassadors from the wonderful world of Lego. This year’s most original denizen: Lego Kool-Aid Man.

Lego Kool-Aid Man!

Sure, it’s easy to burst through Lego walls and yell, “OH, YEAH!” The hard part is getting the water, sugar, and Legos to mix into something drinkable.

Among the ambitious Lego dioramas on display was this famous scene from Return of the Jedi, in which Lego Harrison Ford is nearly rotisserie-cooked to juicy perfection by misanthropic Lego teddy bears.

Lego Return of the Jedi!

Trendy Ewok is desperate for attention and knows the kids these days just love movies with archers in them.

For now we’ll let Lego Chewbacca have the last word in this year’s Indiana State Fair experience. We’ll likely be back next year and can’t want to see what the future will bring us in Indiana’s Year 201. Until next time…


…though this begs the question of how very different the Star Wars saga might be if someone were kind enough to give Chewie a pencil and pad of paper so the audience can catch all the nuances of his witty bon mots.

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