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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 8 of 8: The Welcomes Back

Doughnut Dollies donuts!

Donuts: our consolation prize as we sadly left Dragon Con behind once more.

It all comes down to this, as every MCC miniseries does: the final chapter in which our energy levels are shot and we have to make the laborious reverse transition from heightened fun times to workaday responsible adult life via a less exciting path that carries us back to the humble holder of all our stuff.

But first: donuts!

Continue reading

The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 7 of 8: The Atlanta Outtakes

Atlanta light pollution!

New adventures in Atlanta light pollution.

Last time in Atlanta we allowed a full-length vacation for the opportunity to explore its major institutions, roadside attractions, and grade-A restaurants. The encore presentation was scheduled on a much more compressed timeline for the sake of saving money and conserving our vacation days. That meant seeing less of the city outside our Dragon Con experience, but we caught new glimpses here and there.

Continue reading

The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 6 of 8: A Taste of Tennessee

Goat burger!

A most righteous burger alongside a side dish that looks like a sandwich that got mugged and had its bread stolen. It tasted better than it looks.

Chapters 6 and 8 are short, easy ones to scroll through by design. This one’s meant to celebrate The Second-Best Meal We Had on This Trip. Longtime MCC readers who followed our last two Dragon Con trips — or, for that matter, anyone who’s been to D*C themselves — knows full well no one tops Aviva by Kameel. Anne suggests I should call this micro-mini-gallery The Best Meal We Had on This Trip at a Place We’d Never Been to Before, but that’s just too awkward, even by my standards.

My secondary objective was to highlight the nice place we found in Tennessee. Hence the title. However, I made the mistake of fact-checking a few minutes ago and discovered it’s part of a small chain, not the local independent stalwart we’d assumed it was. And the chain isn’t even based in Tennessee. Clearly this entry was never meant to be a winner, but I maintain it is meant at least to exist. On we go, then.

Continue reading

The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 5 of 8: The Stones River Runs Through It

wounded soldier!

Thank you for your service, young Union soldier who brought a thick book to a gunfight.

Not every tourist attraction lends itself to images of natural grandeur or bizarre imagination. In some of our more recent road trips we’ve been adding American battlefields to our itineraries, a relatively new item of note for Anne the history aficionado. Longtime MCC readers may or may not recall our previous stops at the former war zones of Antietam, Gettysburg, Saratoga Springs, Chickamauga, and locally notable Tippecanoe. If we’re talking the Revolution in general (the Saratoga Springs context), I suppose we could count Boston — just Boston period, I mean — but that feels like cheating.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: