Thank you, Family of Farmers for the opportunity to take my child to the Indiana State Fair along with so many of our friends. I am a Hoosier born and raised and my grandfather was a farmer, so the Indiana State Fair is near and dear to my heart.
Not only do we love farmers, but we eat an almost-paleo diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, so I love teaching the kids about growing food, raising food, and making healthy choices. There are so many ways to get into the theme of things at the Indiana State Fair. I am sure we barely scratched the surface, but these were some highlights from our day.
1. Worlds Largest Popcorn Ball – This one wasn’t really educational, but it is fun and 2013 is the year of Popcorn at the Indiana State Fair.
2. Purdue sponsored a learning scavenger hunt to teach kids about nutrition, which also included a sculpture made entirely of cheese!
3. In 2013 farming is high tech, even family farms are high tech, and so is the Indiana State Fair. In the new Glass Barn we were able to FaceTime with an Indiana farmer, learning how she takes care of the 5000 pigs on her farm.
4. Hats! The Glass Barn also had a scavenger hunt to ensure we were reading all the educational material, engaging with the exhibits rather than simply wandering passed with glazed eyes. While my son had put on his John Deere hat that morning, he joined the rest of the kids wearing a new soy bean farmers hat. If you don’t have farm attire, you can claim a Bean There Done That hat of your very own.
5. While the bacon-glazed donuts might have been tempting if I was not allergic to gluten, there is really awesome food at the Indiana State Fair that isn’t deep-fried or full of sugar. We ate at the beef tent where I had a pretty scrumptious “steak in a bag” (ribeye sandwich without the bun) and my son had a kids meal with an all beef hot dog, apple juice, piece of cheese, and a temporary tattoo. Heather’s kids gave me thumbs up on the pork chop and pulled pork from the pork tent. Grilled corn is another healthier choice that I would consider real farm food. Don’t forget to find my friends, local vendors Frittle Candy and U-Relish.
6. Animals – For me a visit to the Indiana State Fair just isn’t complete without visiting the livestock. Where else will you see a 1200 pound boar or baby calf just a week old? The horses and goats were kid favorites. I loved the educational pieces in the swine barn, learning about different types of pigs and how different parts of the animal are used for food and other products.
7. Little Hands on the Farm – This interactive learning journey for the younger crowd (2-8 years old) is extremely well done, giving a great overall introduction to farming (with a treat at the end).
8. Photo opps! The Indiana State Fair certainly isn’t the county fair of my youth where rides, exhibits, and vendors set up for one week only. There are statues, signs, and scenery throughout the fairgrounds that add to the experience and create great props and backgrounds for family photos.
The Indiana State Fair is August 2-18th. There are admission and ride deals on many different days. Plan on a couple of days because there is simply so much to see. All opinions are my own, but Family of Farmers did provide me with admission tickets which I will be using to let the kiddo experience the Midway since we ran out of
time energy for the rides, games, lights, and excitement. I hope to see you there!