State Fair Happiness, Funnel Cakes Sold Separately

I need to give you an impression of the size of the Indiana State fair. It’s 250 acres, a million square feet of stuff. There are many larger state fairs, but Indiana’s is big. One can easily spend the entire day at the fair. Walking miles and miles is part of the gig.

I love how this map shows a parking lot. The parking lot is only for special people. People like us have to pay to park in the yards of strangers who are mean and cannot explain how they want us to park at an angle on the edge of their porch.

Attendance at the state fair topped out at about 978,000 people in 2013. Last year they permitted samples of alcoholic beverages and 23,000 fewer people went. That’s right, I live in a place where people are offended by alcoholic intake, even when per person consumption is limited to a total of 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine. I do not know. We still have dry counties out there in the boonies.

Still, admission sales brought in $3.5 million last year.

This year, school started before the state fair, and I did not want to go on a weekend. Trying to avoid the massive crowds forced me to go after school, so this was possibly my least favorite trip to the fair. Even on a Tuesday, there were too many times we gripped hand to elbow and pressed through throngs of people.
This experience is different for females, and even less pleasant when coupled with anxiety. I think I did really well, considering.
I still loved going.

I do not have a big appetite in the evening. This is counterproductive to my goal of being fair food fat. The heat did not help — it was 86 and partly cloudy. These things impinge upon the pleasure of eating one’s weight in fried foods, and reduce the desire to consume dairy. I still had to get my enormous $90 Coca-Cola, though. That was our first stop.

Here I am, standing in front of a misting fan the size of the moon. As usual, I am all about a carefully-coiffed head and fashionable clothes.


Sassy and I shared some jalapeño cheese curds at a table with a couple from Wisconsin. They were pleasant strangers, who chatted with us about where to buy the best long underwear.


Moo wanted to ride on the swings. I am glad we’re not midway folks, because I’m fairly certain that a day at an amusement park would cost less than a day of riding at the fair. One ride on the swings cost 3 tokens and tokens were sold in increments of 4 for $8. So I paid $8 for my child to take a three-minute spin on the swings, and gave the remaining ticket to the family behind us. They were not from here, because the father said, “No way! People here are so generous!”
Still, Moo loved it, and grinned a weird petrified grin the entire time. Sassy and I couldn’t keep watching her go round and round, we were getting soooo sick!


Sassy and I also shared a pulled pork sammich, because we neither one thought we could eat a whole one. It was delicious. We found a clean table in the shade and farther from bees. The bees were a little crazy this year. I didn’t photograph the bees, because I was too busy trying to pretend to be calm for the sake of the children. I am so brave.


Then we meandered into the arts building, where I took very few photos, because the best things are behind glass, and I do not have the patience to deal with that. The quilts were beautiful and I don’t know how one gets a job judging quilts, but I’d like a piece of that pie.

I did take this photo, in the Centennial building, because we all loved this dress. I know you cannot see it, but inside the hem of this dress rests a fine edge of lace.


We visited a coupla of the agricultural buildings, saw the plastic-perfect shiny eggplants and the largest pumpkin.


I stopped to buy honey, but this became more of an excursion than I had planned. Four beekeepers swarmed me and had me sampling honey after honey and honestly, I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I simply wanted local honey. I didn’t really want to have a honey-tasting. Still, they were very…helpful.

I had gone into that building because there was a large sign out front about giant cheese. I asked the girls if they wanted to see giant cheese, and of course they did, but there were two young men who seemed to think I was asking them. We found this hysterical, and made jokes about how I make the world’s worst cougar, dressed like a missionary, inviting young men to see the giant cheese exhibit.

There’s a science center, so Moo was all about that. We went into a tunnel (cell) and looked at its innards. I am very old and do not remember much about cells. Now my cellular focus is on how I gotta drink lotsa water and eat lotsa veggies or my cells will shrink-up and die and this will make me look bad and potentially lead to an early death. The girls know a lot about cells, so that’s nice.


And then, Animals! We say manimals, but you know.

IMG_5839This topiary photo came with a free toddler. She just wanted to sit. Her parents were doin that thing where they pretended to go on without her.

IMG_5841 IMG_5840IMG_5845IMG_5850IMG_5842IMG_5827
We missed the bunnies and chickens. Usually there are nine-gazillion bunnies and chickens.

Finally, here are some random tidbits I collected:

Before we left, the girls got henna tattoos, which I suppose is now a tradition for them.

We really wanted funnel cakes and ice cream. We really did. Not one of us was even remotely hungry. Isn’t that sad?

Still, I had a great time, came home exhausted and gross, and with money to spare. That’s how to do the fair.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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26 Responses to State Fair Happiness, Funnel Cakes Sold Separately

  1. La Sabrosona says:

    I was salivating at the jalapeño cheese curds. Totally my thing – on special occasions of course. Love the photos. I was laughing at the free toddler. That annoys me to no end, wanting to take a photo and someone’s in the way. That calls for creative problem-solving. Like in this instance saying “Hey look, there’s the Easter Bunny!” or Santa or whoever else gives presents 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. garym6059 says:

    They just started serving alcohol last year? Holy shit, the whole fun of traveling across the river to the Kentucky State Fair is just too see the complete lunar idiocy of Kentuckians getting plowed on nasty draft beer at the beer gardens. Really it’s a site to behold!
    Nothing worse than coming home broke and you didn’t even get to gorge on the healthy food options the fair offers you. Maybe you can get up early this weekend and go get your funnel cake before the heat and people get to bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Benson says:

    I love fairs and fair food. I do not like the bees. Those little buzzing pests are a pain. I don’t know if I will go this year. That’s okay they charge too much for the beer any way. You didn’t get a sausage with peppers and onion? That is a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like you guys did the fair right! I love that you said the beekeepers swarmed you. I lost it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    See, now this is what I expect from a state fair. I’m still surprised by how small the Ohio one seemed. It just didn’t seem to take much time to cover. Maybe I missed something. Like another giant part to it. I wouldn’t put it past me.

    Sounds like you had a good time even though you couldn’t eat your fill. On a side note, your posts are no longer showing up in my reader. Not sure why. But if it hadn’t been for Twitter, I wouldn’t have seen this. Argh. It’s always something.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dan Antion says:

    I love fairs and fair food. I have never had cheese curds but if I see them, I will try. Great photos. I like how every fair has to have the one-man sawmill. BTW, I follow your blog via email but the link I received went nowhere (sad face). We always go on a weekday. We used to go right after school. Now, I might take halfa day off.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Angie Mc says:

    Terrific tour, Joey! I’m bummed with you that you couldn’t eat like a viking at the fair, but there’s always next year 😀 Your photos are gorgeous, truly capture the vibe of the fairs I remember from back east ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anxious Mom says:

    That rabbits sign makes me think of the rapture.

    I’m glad y’all had a fun time. I so LOL’d over your cougar adventures 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Love it – leaving the fair with money to spare! For future reference, you can get funnel cake, put an extra plate on top and bring it home. I bet you’d have an appetite once you got in the air conditioning.
    Once, when in Ocean City, I got a funnel cake that was way too big. We put it in the hotel fridge and it was delicious in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      So true! We brought a funnel cake back from a local church fair for The Mister once. (That’s just about across the street, I don’t think I’d wanna carry it a mile!)
      Sassy and I did have a return of appetite once we got home, back in the a//c, we sure did! Moo never did, she just went to bed, but Sassy ate a piece of leftover lasagna and I ate a bowl of cereal! We thought it was so ironic!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. markbialczak says:

    Our New York State Fair starts here in Syracuse on Thursday, Joey. I’d say it looks exactly like yours in Indiana, right down to the goat. Karen and I really love looking at the goats out of all the aminals, so I should know.

    One difference here is that we have lots of big non-paved, dusty gravel parking lots way far away from the gates that add to the big walk and cost so much to park in that now they just let your Thruway EZ Pass take care of it so by that electronic magic you don’t think about it. Another is that they have always served — overserved, some would say — beer and wine, so the people-dodge on the Midway and in the buildings takes on the added challenge of weaving inebrients, more on weekends and evenings, of course.

    I bought four advance tickets so MDW and I can go twice. We plan on the two Sundays of the fair. I hope to eat one fried dough, yes, I do. No Midway rides or watching little kids spin on them, either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I’m glad y’all are enjoyers of the fair as well 🙂
      We do have some dusty bits, but they’re on the outer part, and if you really hate it, you can catch a shuttle.
      I can’t remember exactly all the stuff, but the fairgrounds had to get a license to sell alcohol, but we had independent breweries and wineries giving free samples, and so no one was drunk on fair booze. I think now they have one, or maybe not, I don’t know, I can’t remember. I don’t drink at the fair, cause it’s too bloody hot for me! lol
      Enjoy your fried dough!


  11. When you guys have a fair, you have a FAIR! Wow! I would have loved to have tried those cheese curds, and I never met a pulled pork sandwich I didn’t love. Had one last night for dinner. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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