It isn’t Anne’s first time posing next to an “NDY” sign, but it’s our first shot with one that also includes a Ferris wheel and a duck hat.
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…
It all comes down to this: all the other stuff and things we encountered that didn’t receive their own chapters. A few of these subsections could’ve been expanded into individual entries, but the State Fair ended last weekend and is now well past its internet shelf date. Let’s wrap this up before Anne and I embark on our next potentially exciting endeavor later this very week, what say?
One State Fair component we’ve been holding back: animals! Yes, they had some, both real and imaginary, live and stuffed, existent and extinct.
Billed on the fair map as Goat Mountain, this enclosed knoll met one promise in its name.
Not every goat was invited to the mountain. Some were penned in one of the nearby farm-themed, non-barn buildings. (We rarely enter the actual barns.)
A neighborly sheep in the same building, anticipating snacks.
Don’t like farm animals? Consider the alternative, an animatronic T-Rex roaring at passersby and the funnel cake booth across the street.
The T-Rex and this baby triceratops were on hand to promote a dinosaur-themed event coming to the fairgrounds in September.
Red topiary wildlife on the way to the Midway rides.
A taxidermy’d buffalo isn’t quite the same as the real thing we saw out west this summer. (Someday we’ll get to those photos.)
Over at the Department of Natural Resources Building, a park ranger offers introductions to a live snake.
Most Hoosiers our age remember the DNR Building as the home of a bunch of dingy fish tanks and this old, old diorama that demonstrates the effects of flooding and/or water tables on everyday life. Every so often, a recorded narrator would drone on while tiny rivers overflow and make everything sightly float or slide over an inch.
At some point, little additions were made to the water diorama, such as this dramatic scene in which Godzilla threatens a local Dairy Barn.
Over at the Indiana Arts Building, the annual “Look, Ma, I Found Antiques” contest featured displays filled with old objects, such as Tinktertoys and a Cinderella sweeper tailor-made for fans who thought Our Heroine was better off in the story’s first half.
Of course I brake for old comics. This trio celebrates cover subjects that used to sell millions: puppies, John Romita art, and shirtless Michael Landon.
Shoved off to one side unfairly in the same vitrine is Little Lulu #69, March 1954, with cover art by the great John Stanley.
In the days after I took this Ouija Board photo, we’ve had one relative in the hospital with COVID,. two more test positive, yet another relative total their car, our clothes dryer broke, AND Ed Asner died. Coincidence?
New features at this year’s fair included this double-decker carousel over by the Grandstand.
Also new: a bubble tower! It spouts bubbles! It’s kind of a tower! BUBBLE TOWER!
Timid parents are welcome to sit in plastic chairs and watch the bubbles at a safe distance.
Miserable grown-ups who hate bubbles could walk a whole block north of the Bubble Tower and watch a tractor belching smoke instead. It’s a lot less fun to swat at smoke with your hands, though.
While searching the food booths around the northwest corner of the fairgrounds, the daily Indiana State Fair Parade passed by, featuring tractors.
Also in the parade: special guest farmers!
Claudia Duncan, Miss Indiana State Fair 2021, waves to her subjects and plots her future conquests.
To this day I cannot look at green John Deere equipment without remembering that one Mad Men episode.
The lightest tractor in the parade. But hey, whatever gets the job done.
I saw someone I knew and was about to introduce Anne to them, but then I turned and saw she was lagging 60 feet behind because she’d stopped to photograph this Minion tank attached to a buffalo wing stand.
The happy couple taking a selfie on a free shuttle ride.
…and that’s the Indiana State Fair that was. Then we went home and collapsed because our pandemic-era bodies aren’t used to long, sunny walks anymore. So it’s a good thing our next potentially exciting endeavor later this very week will require exactly lots more of that but possibly twice as much of it.
The End. Thanks for reading! Lord willing, we’ll see you again next year unless COVID Omega comes after us all.
Other chapters in this very special MCC miniseries:
Part 1: Our Year in Food
Part 2: The Darling of the Duck Dash
Part 3: The Year in Lego
Part 4: The Year in Art