INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — One of the largest annual events in Indiana begins today, and organizers are expecting nearly 900,000 visitors.
The Indiana State Fair comes as officials move ahead with a massive renovation to the Pepsi Coliseum — a recent study shows the building brings in 50 percent of the state fairgrounds’ revenue and has an economic impact of nearly $90 million.
The fair would be quite different without creamy grilled cheese sandwiches or thick milkshakes in the Dairy Bar. This year, the Indiana State Fair celebrates the value of the dairy industry to Hoosiers with the “Year of Dairy Cows” presented by the American Dairy Association of Indiana.
There are more than 1,500 dairy farms in Indiana housing 176,000 cows. These dairy farms produce about 3.5 billion pounds of milk, accounting for nearly $500 million in milk production each year. Hoosiers with a sweet tooth will be proud that Indiana ranks second nationally in ice cream production.
“Dairy brings a great economic benefit to Indiana,” ADA spokesperson Jenni Purcell said. “Not only that, but milk is very nutritious. Dairy farmers are dedicated to and passionate about taking care of their animals and the land.”
Through its partnership with the ADA of Indiana, the Indiana State Fair will feature a number of dairy-related activities to highlight the importance of dairy cows, including:
- Cowtown USA (Family Fun Park): This exhibit gives visitors the chance to hand-milk a real cow and participate in the pasteurization process. Participants can take part in creating cheese, butter and ice cream. Even better, they get to sample these “homemade” delights when they’re done!
- Moo Chew Grilled Cheese & Lemon Chiller (Dairy Bar): These are two new food items featured in the Dairy Bar this year. “Moo Chew” is a grilled sandwich with American cheese in between two slices of Pepper Jack on Sourdough bread. “Lemon Chiller” is a lemon-flavored milkshake.
- Culinary Contests (Ellison Bakery Home & Family Arts Building): A Kids’ Favorite Dairy Smoothie Contest, Saturday, Aug. 4 and Sunday, Aug. 5, for school-age children and a Big Cookie Decorating Contest, Aug. 4 open to everyone will combine fun and flavor with the dairy theme.
- Buttercup: The mascot for American Dairy Association of Indiana is at the State Fair to meet and greet fairgoers and represent the dairy industry through the fair’s 17 days.
- LegenDairy Marketplace (DuPont Food Pavilion): The ADA of Indiana provides information about the nutritional value of dairy products and the importance of Indiana’s dairy industry.
- Fuel Up to Play 60 tent (Family Fun Park): This kids’ activity teaches youngsters why it’s important to eat nutrient-packed foods and exercise for 60 minutes per day.
- “Celebrating Dairy Cows” interactive kiosk (Mac Reynolds Barn): This exhibits features facts about dairy cows and the history of the Reynolds farm in Fishers. There are also cow-themed games and photo opportunities.
- Free “Cow Cup” (Hot Wisconsin Cheese stand between the Ball State Ag/Hort Building and the DuPont Food Pavilion): Mondays ONLY from 9 a.m. to noon, patrons receive a free 32 oz. souvenir “Cow Cup” of soda with the purchase of any cheese item.
- Cattle Barn (West Pavilion): The ADA of Indiana offers displays on modern dairy farming, cow comfort, robotic milking and the six major dairy breeds.
- Dairy cow exhibits (Normandy Barn): Information about Ellen, the world champion milk-producing cow from 1975-1992, will be on display. A carousel milking exhibit will teach visitors about advancements in the dairy industry, and wall panels will provide information about the six breeds of dairy cows.
The State Fair has featured one important Indiana agricultural community since 2007. Previous products featured include corn, pigs, tomatoes, trees (hardwoods) and soybeans.
Source: Indiana State Fair