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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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 3 of 8: The Ohio River Runs Through It

McAlpine Dam with greenery!

Man tames nature at Falls of the Ohio State Park.

In advance of our grand plan to spend two days walking and walking and walking and walking around uphill downtown Atlanta and the convention’s host hotels, we thought it might be nice to plan another walk in advance, less about geek shopping and more about nature, outdoors, fresh air, history, and so forth. Funny thing is, at out next stop we took more photos indoors than outdoors. In our defense, its name oversells the goods.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 2 of 8: Sweets for Your Sweet

candy jars!

With apologies to our readers who can’t overdose on sugar.

Pretend we open here with an overture medley of “The Candy Man”, “I Want Candy”, “Pure Imagination”, “Sugar, Sugar”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Lollipop” by the Chordettes, “Good Ship Lollipop”, and the old Hershey’s Kisses bell-jingling rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Extra credit if you also remember that time Iggy Pop sang a duet called “Candy” with Kate Pierson from the B-52s. Extra demerits if you think it’s funny to say Candyman’s name three times. IT’S NOT FUNNY, YOU GUYS.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 1 of 8: Firefight Club

1922 Model T fire truck!

Our lovely model Anne shows off a 1922 Model T fire truck, a one-ton, double-tank exemplar of first-responder innovation for its time. Also, a photobombing Dalmatian.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in downtown Atlanta, even went so far as to make it the centerpiece of our annual road trip. Their long-running, multi-site extravaganza may be the closest we’ll ever get to immersing ourselves in a mind-blowing geek gathering with anything approaching the size, depth, and logistical magnitude of San Diego’s fabled own. We were so blown away that we executed an encore presentation in 2021, which was a similarly amazing experience even with strongly enforced pandemic precautions in place. It likely won’t be our last time in town.

Alas, we regret we’ll be opting out of D*C 2022 for a variety of reasons despite numerous temptations, but we’re trying to content ourselves with the next best thing: constantly taking turns asking each other, “Hey, remember that time we did Dragon Con? That was awesome!” While we loiter on Memory Lane offline, here on MCC I’ll be indulging in the next-next best thing: sharing the previously untold tales of our two-day drive down to Georgia and the sights we caught along the way. Because if there’s one lesson I’ve learned from J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Vince Gilligan, the Minions, and whatever CBS energy vampire spawned Young Sheldon, it’s that it’s perfectly okay to make a prequel nobody asked for. And anything they can do, I can do worse.

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Happy Birthday, Captain Janeway: A Fantabulous 50s Coda

Anne and Captain Janeway!

Anne wasn’t born in May, but she gets to be the lead photo because she’s cuter.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a short-term road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas we’ve never experienced before. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

I’ve just now lived to see 50, and after weeks of research and indecision, we planned an overnight journey to the next state over, to the capital city of Columbus, Ohio, which had cool stuff that this now-fiftysomething geek wanted to see. Columbus, then, would be the setting for our first outing together as quintagenarians…

…and then we returned home and all lived happily ever after. But the birthday celebration didn’t quite stop there as it should’ve. The following weekend, we took my mom down to southern Indiana to visit family, a semiannual jaunt for us because long drives are no longer her thing. Due to scheduling issues, Mom and I hadn’t made time to hang out for my birthday as we normally do. So we made that time — we did the visiting, we treated her to dinner, and we crossed a high-priority geek sightseeing item off our to-do list, which gave her a rare chance to tag along for one of these weird little jaunts she sees us posting about sometimes on Facebook.

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