The Indiana Insider Blog

My Indiana State Fair Hidden Gems

I just got home from another wonderful day at the Indiana State Fair! Have you been yet this year? There’s still another week of fair fun to be had, and the weather forecast looks amazing!

One of my favorite aspects of the fair is that even if you plan your visit from start to finish, without a doubt you’ll stumble upon a few surprises. Here were a few of my favorite discoveries this year:

    • The Dow AgroSciences Free Stage: I’ve never taken in a show at this area of the Fair before. We watched the Ohmies perform (they’re scheduled for 3 more performances, at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. on Monday, August 13).  There is plenty of seating along the benches and much of it is in the shade. Plus, the aisles are wide so if your kids get the wiggles like mine do, you’ll have plenty of space for them to move around and to park your strollers. It’s like taking in a concert without the expensive ticket! A full schedule is available here.
    • Food: No trip to the Fair is complete without some culinary exploration, usually of the deep fried variety. My husband and I agreed that one of the best corn dogs we’ve ever had can be found at Charlie’s on the north side of the Fairgrounds, just east of the FFA Pavilion. They made our dog fresh to order and it was delicious. For fear of revealing how many calories I consumed, I’ll end my food recommendations with that.
    • The International Pavilion: Ciao Italia! is the theme this year. I ducked in mostly just to execute a quick diaper change, and ended up spending quite a bit of time in here. There’s a great little bocce ball court where your kids can play, a gondola and Dallara race car on disply, plus an authentic Italian coffee shop. And it’s air conditioned! You’ll find it east of the Midway along the southside of the fairgrounds.
    • Butterfly Garden: Situated just to the west of the DNR building on the northside of the fairgrounds, this quiet, shady spot is a great chance to take a breather from the crowds. This year, we discovered that the buttlerflies were particularly active. (The DNR building and grounds are one of my favorite spots at the Fair.)

What did you discover this year at the Indiana State Fair?


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Written by : Nicole is a stay-at-home mom and blogger living in Columbus, Indiana. She blogs about adventures at home and away with her husband and 2-year-old son at She grew up in Plainfield, Indiana and graduated from Butler University in 2002. She grew up in Plainfield, Indiana and graduated from Butler University in 2002. She spent seven years living and working in downtown Indianapolis following college. Nicole is always looking for fun, kid-friendly outing ideas. You can contact her via email or find her on Twitter at @arrowssentforth. Nicole receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.