How â??bout that state fair!

August 7, 2009
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Thereâ??s nothing quite like a state capital to blunt a crummy economy. Not only are legions of government workers paid regardless of how the private sector performs, but capitals also have lots of small gold mines â?? like state fairs.

In Indianapolis, the Indiana State Fair is overshadowed by auto races and other sporting events, but it has consistently attracted people to the city since the mid-1800s.

A new Ball State study says the fair brought in 859,000 people last year â?? roughly equivalent to the population of Indianapolis. Most were from out of town, and they spent an average of $61.40, primarily outside the fairgrounds.

This year, a longer schedule should lure just over 1 million people, the study forecasts. This yearâ??s fair, which opens today, runs 17 days.

Fairgoers donâ??t spend like race fans or basketball crazies. But the city and surrounding counties are still glad to accept their money.

How do you feel about the fair? Itâ??s come a long way since former Gov. Frank Oâ??Bannon several years ago pushed to upgrade the decrepit facilities.
  • Who doesn't love the fair? (well personally I don't often attend)... but I sure see the economic benefit for the city. Not to mention that most people find it an enjoyable family outing. It's become an Indy tradition. Though according to our latest national rankings on the fat state scale it might behoove those attending to lay off the double fried choco-bacon bars or whatever they make this year.
  • Chocolate covered bacon I believe is the new thing this year.... Mmmmm
  • I love the fair and used to love the lemon shake ups, before they became watered down lemonade shake ups. Bring back the good tasting ones and stop charging $3-6 bucks for something that taste like crap. But yes, the fair is good.
  • I went to the fair the first year I lived here (1993) and was so disappointed I've never returned. State Fairs in other places, like my home state of Minnesota, are so much larger and offer more options for their attendees. It's typical of events In Indiana, they try to be like the big boys but fail miserably. Luckily the cost of living is stupid cheap here and I can travel to all the better events throughout the country.
  • Too many FAT people at the State Fair. It's very depressing.
  • Apart from MN, which boasts 1.6MM+ annually to there state fair making it the largest 12-day event in the country, Indiana ranks ahead of most other states including WI, IL, MI, even CA. We are in the top 10 easy.
  • Transplant: Indiana hosts some of the largest sporting events and conventions in the country.........AND on a regular basis........but we still can't keep up with the big boys? I think the facts contradict your statement.
  • Hey Transplant: Go home! We would be proud to have you return to Minnesota. Just be careful crossing your bridges...

    I haven't been to the fair in a few years, but it is a great family day out.Good wholesome fun for the kids. Only things better at the state fair grounds are the gun and knife show! ;-)
  • I'll be suprised if attendance is much over last year. Just because the length of the fair has been expanded doesn't mean the interest in attending has increased. People who want to go have always found time to go. All the expanded calendar will do is decrease attendance during the week.

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