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. At least, normally we attend every year. You can guess why there was no 2020 edition…
Anne and I are at that age when we’re more interested in visiting the exhibit halls than we are in discomforting or injuring ourselves on the Midway rides. We enjoy seeing what new works of paint, photography, building blocks, and science have been offered up for the various competitions. The State Fair holds its massive celebrations on behalf of our farmers, but Indiana has no shortage of artists, either. They come from all demographics, work in multiple media, bring ideas from pop culture as well as from their own home life, and all contribute in their own ways to the Hoosier State hometown legacy.
Sometimes too many 4-H posters in a row start to blend together, especially when they’re forced to use the same titles. If you’re persistent enough to get past the repetition, the handwriting worse than my own, and the projects that were just PowerPoint slides printed and glued to poster board, you can appreciate a few educational gems.
A recurring feature at the State Fair and in our resultant photo galleries is the canned-food sculpture contest over at the Agricultural/Horticultural Building. Each year teams build a recognizable person, place or thing entirely from canned foods and win prizes; then the cans are donated to charity. While the needy receive kindly assistance, the sculptures live on only in photos. This year’s competition seemed slimmer than usual, but a few rose to the challenge.
One new feature I don’t recall seeing before: giant, upright-piano-sized paintings at the Indiana Arts Building. When I was a kid, it was called the Home & Family Arts Building. At some point when we weren’t looking, they changed the name so it doesn’t sound like one big home economics classroom. For all I know, it may once have been exactly that. Now it’s all about the artwork, and fewer cooking demos.
To be concluded! Other chapters in this very special MCC miniseries: