If you are already looking forward to the rides, the food, the music, the critters and other highlights of the Indiana State Fair, mark your calendar.
Indiana State Fair 2014 is set for Aug. 1-17.
Judging from the final totals of the 2013 fair which ended Sunday, this year’s fair was a record breaker.
Consistently sunny skies and wonderful below-normal temperatures coupled with new exhibits and popular promotions helped the Hoosier event set a new total attendance record, officials said.
The 157th edition of the fair attracted 978,296 people through the gates – 4,394 more visitors than the previous record of 973,902 in 2009 and a 15 percent increase from last year’s total of 853,941.
“From the weather to the programming, everything seemed to work this year,” State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye said.
“We knew we would have a challenge with the Coliseum under construction and more schools moving to a balanced calendar, but our plan and the weather worked out well and we are very proud to have hosted so many people," Hoye said. "It’s been one of the most memorable fairs we’ve ever had.”
With less than an inch of rain and an average temperature of 84 degrees during the fair, visitors were quite comfortable throughout the event. The fair expects to announce next year’s featured agricultural commodity in the coming weeks.
Of course one of the most popular photo sites was the 6,510 lb. popcorn ball the fair created and placed on display throughout the fair. People flooded into the Ball State Agriculture & Horticulture building to have their photos taken with the world's largest ball that measured 8 feet across and broke the world record by nearly 1,500 lbs.
The record-breaking ball took lots of folks and tons of ingredients for its humongous size. In all, the popcorn ball contains 977 pounds of popped popcorn, 1,113 pounds of mushroom-shaped popcorn kernels and 5,534 pounds of caramel-light syrup to hold it together. The syrup consisted of water, sugar and corn syrup.
The gigantic popcorn ball didn't go to waste either. When the Indiana State Fair ended, the Indiana Family of Farmers deconstructed the eye-catching sight and fed it to livestock.
The Glass Barn, a 4,500 sq. ft. facility built and programmed by the Indiana Soybean Alliance at this year’s fair, also drew rave reviews from fairgoers and the ag industry alike. Its engaging interactive games and exhibits educated consumers about modern production agriculture throughout the fair’s 17-day run.
The new Kiddie Land midway and Youth Arena were both big hits. Families with young children kept the new Kiddie Land in constant use while the Youth Arena drew thousands of visitors for livestock shows and horse and pony events.
Overall, the fair broke three daily records with crowds of 70,331 on the first Sunday (Aug. 5); 67,702 on the first Tuesday (Aug. 7); and 80,634 on the second Tuesday (Aug. 14).
Next year’s State Fair queen already has been crowned is and ready for her royal duties. Alyssa Garnett of Pulaski County earned the title of Miss Indiana State Fair 2014.
She is the 56th young lady to be crowned Miss Indiana State Fair and the third from Pulaski County. The 19-year-old is a sophomore at Purdue University studying business management.
Garnett was chosen during the fair’s queen pageant from 87 contestants, each representing her home county.
The Indiana State Fair is the state’s largest multi-day event celebrating Hoosiers’ spirit and agricultural heritage.