Indiana State Fair 2014 should be a knockout!

The Indiana State Fair 2014 festival is expecting to draw upwards of 900,000 this year during the August 2-18 events.  The festivities are held annually in Indianapolis, Indiana and are one of the featured festivals of 2014.

Dates: August 1-17, 2014

Fair Location: (see below for Indiana maps and driving directions)

1202 East 38th Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46205

Expected 2014 attendance: over 900,000+

Indianapolis State festival
Indiana State Fair

Festival events:

Indiana State Fair concerts 2014

The Indiana State Fair has announced its list of summer 2014 concerts.  Marsh Free Stage concert series and events are free provided you have paid admission to the festival.

The 2013 concerts were:

Aug. 7:  Parmalee and Rachel Farley

Aug. 8:  Kevin Costner and Modern West 

Aug. 9:  Theory of a Deadman

Aug. 11:  Contemporary Christian Music Day

  • For King and Country
  • Matthew West
  • Traders Point Worship Team
  • Jason Castro
  • Love and the Outcome

Aug. 12:  Styx

Aug. 13:  Joe Nichols presented by HANK-FM (7 p.m.)

Aug. 14:  “Sailing Rock Tour” featuring Christopher Cross, Orleans, Firefall, John Ford Coley, Robbie Dupree and Player

Aug. 15:  Montgomery Gentry

Aug. 16:  Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band with Jennie DeVoe

Aug. 17:  Blood, Sweat and Tears

Aug. 18:  Pepsi Gospel Music Day welcomes Joshua Rogers, BET Sunday Best 2012 season 5 winner

Special Features

  • Ball State Ag/Hort Building
    This is where you can find top 4-H and Open Class agriculture and horticulture exhibits like the largest watermelon and tallest sunflower. You can also find the Giant Pumpkin contest here, as well as the winners of the beer competitions. You can learn how to improve your own garden by viewing the floral exhibits and regular demonstrations.

    •  World’s Largest Popcorn Ball – The Fair is going to make the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball and have it on display in the Ball State Ag/Hort Building throughout its 17-day run.  Join us Saturday, Aug. 3 for the ball’s unveiling and official weighing.  The current record is a 3,432 lb. ball built in 2007.
  • Dance Stage
    New Location! Come visit us on the north side by gate 12. This is a stop for all dance enthusiasts. Fairgoers are able to watch Indiana cloggers, tap dancers, cultural dancers, ballroom professionals and many more dance their way to good health.
  • DNR Area
    The 312,000 gallon, 8,340 sq. ft. pond is an awesome sight. Youth Catch & Release FishIN’ Clinic fishing sessions are held daily. Pre-registration is required on site. Nature presentations at the 150 seat Amphitheater are given daily by DNR experts as well. Please check back for a complete list of activities in this area.
  • DuPont Food Pavilion
    The DuPont Food Pavilion (former Our Land Pavilion) showcases Indiana food, the farmers who grow it, the companies who produce it, the artisans who craft it, the chefs who prepare it and the issues connected to it. Visitors can explore the Purdue Extension’s interactive My Plate and Beyond exhibit to learn more about health and wellness, sample and purchase one-of-a-kind, locally made food products in the Hoosier Market and watch top chefs create masterpieces in the Red Gold Culinary Corner demonstration kitchen. The always popular cheese sculpture also returns for another year.
  • Get Animated
    This  8,000 square foot exhibit explores the fascinating world of animation.  This interactive experience takes visitors back to the classics of traditional hand drawn celluloid animation and highlights current day computer animation, including well known stories and characters from Walt Disney, DreamWorks and Sony Animation.  A large-scale custom 3-D Zoetrope – a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures – is the centerpiece of the exhibit, which will be open every day of the fair inside the Grand Hall on Main Street.
  • Home & Family Arts Building
    Cooking and fashion are just two of the many things you can discover here. Fairgoers are able to treat their taste buds with daily culinary demonstrations; visit the past by viewing antiques or get wrapped up in the hundreds upon hundreds of photo entries.
    The Fashion Show is held on the main stage on the 1st floor of the Home & Family Arts Building.
  • Exposition Hall
    Fairgoers are able to enjoy exciting new products and great demonstrations from a variety of vendors in the Expo Hall. You are also able to check out the Higher Education Booth offering information about Indiana’s colleges and universities. In addition to all Indiana public and private colleges, the Indiana Career and Postsecondary Advancement Center, Learn More Resource Center, are on hand to help answer all career and education questions.
  • Farm Bureau Building
    Several events take place in the Farm Bureau Building, which is located on the north side of the Fairgrounds. Please check back for a complete list of events.

    • Baton Twirling – Indiana’s best go head to head in the State Championship Baton Twirling Contest. You’ll find them twirling their way to the top.
    • Youth Talent Contest – County Fair Talent Contest winners from across the state come to the Indiana State Fair hoping to succeed at the state level. Exciting Hoosier talent is always in abundance at the State Fair. You can see a variety of acts such as singing, dancing, tumbling, clogging, cheerleading and baton twirling.
  • 4-H Education Complex
    4-H is the largest youth development program in Indiana! Located in Dow AgroSciences Celebration Park, two of the three buildings are used as prime exhibit space for thousands of 4-H projects displayed during the Fair. Today, fairgoers can take part in the Youth Interactive Learning stations, such as cooking, science, woodworking and television production. The lawn in front of the 4-H Education Complex features a fountain and two nine-and-a-half foot identity markers which signify the State Fair’s commitment to Indiana 4-H. Contact your local county extension educator at 1-888-EXT-INFO.
  • Habitat for Humanity
    Please check back. Planning in progress.
  • Livestock Barns
  • Normandy Barn & Greenhouse
    The famed Normandy Barn is located on the northeast side of the Fairgrounds. Within this historic structure, visitors have a chance to learn about contemporary agriculture within a 2,400 square foot exhibit labeled the “Welcome Center for Indiana Agriculture”. The greenhouse which is located next to the Normandy Barn is utilized throughout the school year as part of our Education Program, and is flourishing with native plants of Indiana.With generous support from the Indiana Office of Energy & Defense Development and Indiana Power & Light Company in partnership with Green Way Supply, the Indiana State Fair Commission has installed a residential ready wind-turbine and photovoltaic awnings (solar panels) near the Normandy Barn on the north side of the fairgrounds. These working exhibitions can educate visitors about existing alternative energy and conservation resources available to everyone.
  • Orscheln Farm and Home FFA Pavilion
    The Young McDonald’s Farm, Children’s Barnyard and FFA Agriculture Mini Golf Course will keep your children (and you) entertained for hours. Particularly, the Barnyard Petting Zoo enthralls all who stop by. You are also able to journey through the greenhouse and conservation areas. The FFA Country Market offers lots of goodies from honey to jams to John Deere T-shirts. Hopefully you stopped on in and grabbed something yummy.
  • Pathway to Water Quality
    The mulch pathway that winds through this outdoor exhibit, which shows how good land and water management practices protect our soil and water resources, has been replaced with pervious concrete at the entrance. This, and other best management practices demonstrated how to reduce storm water runoff and clean it up, and make the water in our streams, lakes and rivers cleaner. By applying best management practices to land used for farms, housing developments, business and industrial developments, the rain water that leaves the land is cleaner, soils and plants are healthier, and the habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife improves. For more information about Pathway to Water Quality 
  • Pioneer Village
    You and your children are able to literally walk through American agriculture with paths that guide you through growing crops, old-time chores, and displays of antique farms and home artifacts. Homesteaders are on hand to both explain and demonstrate these fascinating historic farm practices. You are able to watch craftspeople in action in Possum Holler, sit and listen to some old-time music, or join the homesteaders for one of their three shows daily. Your family is able to witness grain threshing, corn shelling, wood sawing, silo filling and many other long-forgotten farm chores. Antique Tractors are found on display near the flagpoles in Pioneer Village every day of the Fair. After doing lots of walking take a moment to sit and rest a spell and listen to some great entertainment on the Opry Barn Stage.
  • Wonder Trail
    presented by Indiana Farm Bureau
    The Indiana State Fair Wonder Trail is an exciting family adventure for elementary and middle school age children and their parents. To get started, you pick up your Wonder Trail Kit at the information booths or at the Indiana Farm Bureau building. In your Wonder Trail Kit, you get a souvenir lanyard, an illustrated trail map and a pencil to record the fun facts you collect. Once you have your tools, you’re ready to start The Wonder Trail and explore the amazing agricultural wonders of the Indiana State Fair! Map and activity sheets coming this summer.

Expected Attendence for 2014 festival:

The fair had aimed for overall attendance of 875,000, a figure based on the average number of visitors the past five years.  The 2009 fair had the highest number of attendees at 973,902.  The weather in 2012 hampered attendance as well as the tragic events of the roof collapse in 2010.  This year should expect to see over 900,000 festival attendees.

Still, officials said the fair attracted more than 70,000 visitors on each of three different days for the second time since the fair extended its run from 12 days to 17 days in 2009. Special discounts and promotions helped to draw visitors and offset price increases. The fair for the first time charged $5 for parking and increased admission from $8 to $10 to make up for losses from last year’s fair.

The fair attempted to rebound from last year’s tragic concert-stage collapse, which killed seven people and injured dozens more as high winds knocked down stage rigging Aug. 13 before a Sugarland concert.

History of the Indiana State Fair and Fairgrounds

The Indiana State Fair is an annual fair held in Indianapolis, Indiana, usually in the month of August.  The state fair buildings and grounds are used for a variety of other shows when the fair is not being held. The largest building at the fairgrounds is the Pepsi Coliseum, formerly known as the Indiana State Fair Coliseum, where the Indiana Ice usually play. The fairgrounds are on 38th Street and Fall Creek Parkway.

In February 1851, at the urging of agricultural promoter Governor Jhunnluion, the Indiana General Assembly passed an act intended “to encourage agriculture” growth in the state, which also included the formation of a State Board of Agriculture. A primary goal of the Board was to organize an Indiana State Fair. On October 20–22 1852, the first State Fair was held in downtown Indianapolis at the Marion County Fairgrounds.Indiana became the sixth state to begin holding an annual state-wide agricultural fair.

During the American Civil War, the county fairgrounds was converted into Camp Morton, a prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. During the war years no state fair was held, but it was resumed again in 1865 and held in Fort Wayne. The gates opened at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on East 38th Street for the first time on September 19, 1892. Since then, the fair has continually been held in Indianapolis.

The State Fair has been held in Indianapolis for the majority of its existence but other Indiana cities hosted the event during the mid-19th century:

  • 1853 – Lafayette  205,4895
  • 1854 – Madison  903,999
  • 1859 – New Albany  909,995
  • 1865 – Fort Wayne  995,123
  • 1867 – Terre Haute  987.951
  • 1963 coliseum explosion 

On October 31, 1963 a propane tank exploded in the Indiana State Fair Coliseum, killing 54 at the scene and another 20 died due to injuries, with a total of 74 people killed. Around another 400 were injured. It was the deadliest disaster in Indianapolis history.
2011 stage collapse
On August 13, 2011, high winds from an approaching thunderstorm collapsed the roof over the grandstand stage just before Sugarland was about to perform, killing seven people and injuring 58.

History by Year

  • The 4-H Education Complex receives a $7.5 million upgrade, including the reopening of Centennial Hall (formerly the Boys’ Dormitory).

  • An 8 million renovation of the East Pavilion begins and the building is renamed the Champions Pavilion.

  • An $8 million renovation of the West Pavilion (Cattle Barn) begins.

  • The Sheep Barn, now named the Blue Ribbon Pavilion, is reconstructed into a fully enclosed, modern livestock exhibition space.

  • Indiana’s Longest Line Dance

  • Dolly Parton Performs
  • The fair expands from 10 days to 12 days.

  • The Jackson Five perform.

  • Sonny & Cher Perform

  • George Clooney attends the fair.

  • Bob Hope Performs

  • BBC Films at Indiana State Fair

  • The Beatles perform two sold out shows to 30,000 screaming fans.

  • Free Tickets in Balloons!

  • Indiana State Fair 1961

  • The present-day Pepsi Coliseum is constructed.

  • The East Pavilion (Draft Horse Barn) is built.

  • The Exposition Hall opens its doors.

  • A new 2,000-foot high-speed roller coaster is erected.

  • The original Fairgrounds Coliseum is built.

  • The fair moves to its current location at 38th and Fall Creek (farmland back then).

  • The first Indiana State Fair is held in downtown Indianapolis.


Events and festivities

Numerous nationally-known entertainers have performed at the Indiana State Fair.
In 1964, The Beatles performed two sold out shows to nearly 30,000 audience members September 3 and, in 1989, New Kids on the Block set a Grandstand attendance record with 18,509 audience members.  The fair also presents Latino and Hispanic entertainment for Indiana’s Hispanic population.


During each annual run of the Indiana State Fair, several competitions take place. The 4-H has a large participation in the fair and competitions are held in numerous areas for 4-H youth members. 4-H winners at county fairs can progress to the state fair with their live-stock, crafts, gardening, or other exhibits. The winner at the state fair can, in some cases, advance to a national competition. The winners receive scholarships and other awards.
Other competitions also occur including art contests, a hot air balloon race, and a high school marching band contest on “Band Day”. Adult competitions also occur in various farm related categories.

Some important visitors to the festival in the past:  President Woodrow Wilson, President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, President John F. Kennedy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and President Barack Obama have all made appearances at the Fairgrounds.

Driving directions

From the West

  • Via I-70 (St. Louis, MO)
    Take Exit 85B to North Keystone Avenue. Turn Left on East 38th Street and the Fairgrounds will be ahead on your right.
  • Via I-74 (Danville, IL)
    Merge onto I-465 North. Take Exit 17 to West 38th Street. Turn Right on West 38th Street and continue 7 miles to the Fairgrounds on your left.

From the East

  • Via I-70 (Columbus, OH)
    Take Exit 85 to Keystone Avenue and turn Right. Turn Left on East 38th Street and the Fairgrounds will be ahead on your right.
  • Via I-74 (Cincinnati, OH)
    Merge onto I-465 North. Take Exit 44A to I-70 West. Take Exit 85 to Keystone Avenue and turn Right. Turn Left on East 38th Street and the Fairgrounds will be ahead on your right.

From the North

  • Via I-65 (Chicago, IL)
    Take Exit 119 to West 38th Street. Continue 4.5 miles and the Fairgrounds will be on your left.
  • Via I-69 (Fort Wayne, IN)
    I-69 becomes Binford Boulevard in Indianapolis. After 6 miles, Binford Boulevard becomes Fall Creek Parkway. From Fall Creek Parkway, turn Right on East 38th Street and the Fairgrounds will be on your right.

From the South

  • Via I-65 (Louisville, KY)
    Merge onto I-70 East. Take Exit 85B to North Keystone Avenue. Turn Left on East 38th Street and the Fairgrounds will be ahead on your right.



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