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 either nearly or formerly popular, and farm animals competing for cash prizes without their knowledge. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. Usually we’re all about the food…
…but when we’re full, or encounter long stretches of walking between food stands, we also get a kick out of visiting the various exhibit halls. Whether it’s handiwork by kids in 4-H, local adult artists, and/or innovative collectives, artists a-plenty have their creations tucked away all throughout the land. Sometimes there’ll also be featured historical collections, which is nice and often incidentally educational.
After going for a year or two without any discernible theme, this year our state fair landed on celebrating The Year of the Circus. A variety of contributors played along with that motif, inspired entirely by the real live circus that planted their Big Top on the north end of the fairgrounds and offered three performances every day for the entirety of the fair, included basically free with the price of fair admission. For anyone who loves the concept, it was a brilliant bit of entertainment synergy.
Too, too brilliant. By the time we got to the Big Top twenty minutes before the first showtime, we discovered the line had already been nearly 2000 long for a seating capacity of 1600. In theory we could’ve come back for the second or third performances, or simply come back to the fair another day altogether. We didn’t feel like waiting. We gave up on the idea and settled for eying all the circus-esque exhibits we could find instead.
One of the annual traditions that always catches our eye is the canned-food sculpture contest. Teams stack thousands of cans into shapes fitting a preselected theme. Naturally this year they aimed for circus iconography, though they had a harder time than usual coming up with visually distinguishable and on-topic ideas.
For value-added circus-based fun, the State Fair in conjunction with the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis also offered a special exhibit called “Celebrating Indiana’s Circus History”, with interactive kiosks, children’s activities, historical artifacts, and a large screen playing random scenes from The Greatest Showman. We haven’t seen it yet, so I had to avert my eyes to prevent spoilers. We had plenty of other colorful items to view in the meantime.
More Indiana State Fair photos now online! Other chapters in this year’s special MCC miniseries: