Indiana State Fair 2022 Photos, Part 6 of 6: Random Acts of Fairness

State Fair logo!

Special thanks to the trio of young strangers who made these jazz hands possible after Anne took their group photo for them first.

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…

It all comes down to this: all the other scintillating sights and poorly aged horrors from our State Fair walkabout that didn’t need their own chapters.

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Indiana State Fair 2022 Photos, Part 5 of 6: The Expo Hall Baby Farm Animal Takeover

piggies napping!

These little piggies went “zzzz zzzz zzzz” all the way home!

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…

When I was a kid, Expo Hall was one of the most interesting buildings to visit at the fairgrounds. Back in those days, various small businesses (indie shops, booksellers, home repair services, satellite TV providers, educational toys, and so on) lined up booths in the hall and gave out tons of promotional freebies — free pencils and pens, free stickers, free candy, free rulers, free flimsy coloring books, and so on. As an adult I lost enthusiasm when company reps stopped the freebies and focused their energies on annoyingly intrusive huckstering and hard sales pitches for boring products, with one or two exceptions. Last year the booths were noticeably sparser, longtime welcome participants like the great South Bend Chocolate Company were nowhere in sight, and those who did show up seemed more desperate and/or shady than ever. The childhood charm was next to nonexistent, and the place was probably about 1-2 years away from takeover by NFT shills.

It’s therefore hard to blame State Fair officials for shaking up the status quo and trying something completely different this year. All the salespeople were ejected from Expo Hall and replaced with a different kind of spectacle: baby farm animals!

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Indiana State Fair 2022 Photos, Part 4 of 6: The Year in Lego and Other Arts

corn truck mural couch!

Someone prettied up a truck and set up an outdoor living room in front of it.

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…

Anne and I are at that age when we’re more interested in visiting the exhibit halls than we are in rattling our bones 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.

In this case the largest artwork on the fairgrounds was an entire truck turned into a stationary mural. It was supposed to draw attention to an entire exhibit of tricked-out vehicles called the Mural Derby, but all the other participants were parked away from the main thoroughfare and out of sight behind the giant Ferris wheel, where we had no idea they existed till I looked it up just now, days after the fact. But at least we witnessed the one truck, which was nifty.

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Indiana State Fair 2022 Photos, Part 3 of 6: The Year in Canned Food Art

canned Baby Yoda!

Canned Grogu for the win!

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…

One of the many creative events each year is the Canstruction contest, which isn’t necessarily exclusive to local 4-H youngsters. Canstruction is a charitable organization that holds nationwide events in which engineers and other clever planners compete against each other in building the best sculpture made entirely from canned goods, preferably in recognizable shapes and not ordinary stacks with boring titles like “The Can-Can”. After the judging and the public displaying are over, all those meticulously planned figures are torn down and the components are donated to local hunger relief charities, who in turn forward them to needy families totally unaware their next few meals used to be Art.

Possibly in keeping with this year’s “Fun at the Speed of Summer” theme, each team of contestants made vehicles or vehicular acccessories out of cans, starting with the floating space crib in our lead photo. Some machines were built for more speed than others.

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Indiana State Fair 2022 Photos, Part 2 of 6: The Year of Speed

ECTO-1!

Sure, we’ve seen the Ghostbusters’ car at numerous conventions over the years…but this was our first time seeing one in mood lighting.

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…

For years every State Fair had a special food theme — the Year of Popcorn! The Year of the Tomato! The Year of the Soybean! The Year of Dairy! And so on. After they ran out of major Indiana crops to spotlight, management switched to selecting inedible themes, unrelated to food and often more intangible. This year’s logline was “Fun at the Speed of Summer”, a combined celebration of the Indianapolis 500 and the various automotive companies who’ve had factories and other major presences in the Hoosier State over the past century or more. In other words: hooray for cars!

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Indiana State Fair 2022 Photos, Part 1 of 6: Our Year in Food

pickle pizza and me!

Presenting the winner of this year’s Taste of the Fair competition. No, not me.

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. On Thursdays they have “$3 Thursday” specials, for which every food vendor joins in the sale with at least one item for that price, whether it’s a smaller portion of an existing item or a chintzy, non-special soft drink. Above and beyond that, each year a new lineup of “Taste of the Fair” offerings showcases new ideas from assorted stands in hopes of luring in foodies and/or impressing attendees who want to do more every year than simply eating the same corn dog again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The lineup is announced weeks in advance so everyone can plan their meals and experiments accordingly. Every year, some vendors are more ambitious than others — arguably even more so this year, mired as we are in the current inflationary era where gambling on new products can kill your bottom line if you’re not careful. But at least some tried.

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Indiana State Fair 2021 Photos, Part 5 of 5: And the Rest

Indy sign and Ferris Wheel!

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?

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Indiana State Fair 2021 Photos, Part 4 of 5: The Year in Art

stained glass Captain America shield!

…the red and the white and the blue’ll come through / When Captain America throws his stained-glass shield!

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.

Continue reading

Indiana State Fair 2021 Photos, Part 3 of 5: The Year in Lego

Lego snow leopard!

Lego snow leopard!

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…

In addition to the nonstop celebration of food, for some reason Lego is a frequent sight at our State Fair. 4-H kids and competitors in other art contests routinely turn in works of Lego as their favorite sculpting medium. There’s nothing emphatically Hoosier about them. To my knowledge we have no Lego factory and no Legoland theme park. Indiana was not a beachhead for Danish explorers. The Lego Indiana Jones sets have nothing to do with us, much as we might wish to contrive otherwise. But at our state fair there’s always room for Lego.

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Indiana State Fair 2021 Photos, Part 2 of 5: The Darling of the Duck Dash

My wife gives a duck.

Yep, there’s the woman I love and other birds of a feather.

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…

In addition to the nonstop celebration of food, our State Fair also loves its live animal activities. Folks can attend 4-H livestock judgments, wander stenchful barns, pet a few benign critters, pay quarters to help overfeed them, gag while watching live veterinary surgeries, and more, more, more. Sometimes when a smaller-scale event promises animal action, we might go take a gander, as we did at the Great American Duck Race.

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