Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

How â??bout that state fair!

August 7, 2009
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.
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