FAIR. Just like a superhero should be!
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…
Each year they used to celebrate a specific food theme. For 2019 they took a different direction and declared the fair’s overall theme “Heroes in the Heartland”. In the Midwest “hero” can mean many things, though first responders come immediately to mind for many. Being that this is a Midwest state fair, the definition had to have enough latitude to include farmers. As explained further on the official site:
“This year we will pay serious tribute to the heroism of everyday Hoosiers whose exceptional commitment and caring enrich our lives without the benefit of capes, costumes or superpowers. They are our nurturers, protectors, guardians, and guides –- our support and our strength. They grow our food. They feed our minds. They keep us safe and free.
“Here’s to our Hoosier farmers, first responders, teachers, law officers, firefighters, and Armed Forces members past and present — our Heroes in the Heartland!”
Many participants approached the theme with a different idea in mind: superheroes!
In particular, an interactive exhibit at (bear with me) the Corteva Agroscience Harvest Pavilion let kids try out a number of activities connected to the heroes of Marvel and DC Comics in some fashion. Some setups weren’t in place when we walked in Tuesday morning, but chances are we would’ve been too big for them anyway.
To the right of the entrance, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
To his left, one of the classic Superman merchandising images drawn by either Carmine Infantino, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and/or Dick Giordano.
The primary imagery for the “Heroes in the Heartland” theme, starring hundreds of Hoosiers.
Kids could have photo ops of their favorite heroes trumpeting their popular catchphrases. Spidey’s is easy to guess.
Comics fans know the Hulk’s catchphrase by heart. He needs to say it in the movies way more often, though.
Cinematic superstar Black Panther follows suit…which is extremely cool, though now that I overthink about it, shouting “Wakanda forever!” before every fight is like having Captain America charging into battle yelling “USA! USA! USA!” or Captain Marvel singing, “Hip hip hooray for the whole Milky Way!”
The Flash offers words of encouragement because his catchphrase reveals his secret identity: “My name is Barry Allen and I’m the fastest man alive!” This would be a stupid thing to yell in a fight. He might as well pass out copies of his driver’s license to every bad guy…which, really, is very nearly what he does in every other episode of his TV show.
Superman has wisdom to share with all, not mere mortal catchphrases. It’s still weird seeing their New 52 costumes on ancillary products.
Among the activity and puzzle are scavenger-hunt prompts, such as this one for Wonder Woman that might’ve raised my eyebrows a little less if they’d used the classic term “bracelets” or even the more militarily accurate “bracers” instead of, um, more directly invoking the spirit of William Moulton Marston.
In a side room, Lego Batman presided over a superhero diorama that appeared to be a work in progress.
Also a work in progress, over at the AgHort Building was the State Fair’s official cheese sculpture, naturally superhero-themed. This should be finished later into the fair’s run, which ends August 18th.
The fruit-‘n’-vegetable competition sections had their own superhero guardian. At last, a hero with pockets!
On the north end of the fairgrounds, a Bumblebee cosplayer entertained kids and parents.
Over at the Indiana Arts Building (formerly the Home & Family Arts Building when I was a kid), a pretty cool cake celebrates some of the more down-to-earth heroes within the theme’s scope.
Meanwhile at the 4-H Centennial Hall, this Avengers cake caught my eye and wouldn’t let go.
(These won’t be the last cakes you see in this miniseries…)
More to come! Other chapters in this very special miniseries:
Part 1: Our Year in Food
Part 3: The Marvel/DC CAN-ematic Universe
Part 4: Cake Bosses
Part 5: The Art of the Fair
Part 6: Random Acts of State Fairing
Encore Part 1: 2 Fair 2 Food
Encore Part 2: Another Ace Art Assemblage
Encore Part 3: Last Day, Last Call