Indiana State Fair begins 17-day run with circus theme, more security

The Indiana State Fair began Friday morning with its annual extravaganza of food, farm animals, amusement rides and entertainers.

Gov. Eric Holcomb was scheduled to take part in Friday morning's opening ceremony at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis to start the fair's 17-day run through Aug. 19. Organizers are hoping for a repeat of last year's string of dry, sunny days that helped boost attendance to nearly 907,000 people.

Last year's attendance was 24 percent higher than it was for the 2016 event, which was plagued by excessively hot and wet weather. Record attendance for the fair came in 2013, when it drew 978,000.

This year's theme is "Step Right Up" in recognition of three-time daily circus show that's been added under a big-top tent.

Visitors will face added security measures, with metal detectors at each pedestrian entrance. Items such as aerosol cans, balloons, lasers and noisemakers are joining weapons as being specifically prohibited on the fairgrounds.

Fair spokeswoman Sharon Smith said metal detectors were installed in the fairgrounds' Indiana Farmers Coliseum for the Indy Fuel hockey season and organizers decided to expand them to the rest of the fairgrounds.

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