This is the heart of county fair season in Indiana. The fair season in the Hoosier state culminates with the Indiana State Fair, Aug. 8-19. But many great events and learning experiences happen at county fairs, in the heart of Indiana.
Maybe it's the Farmer's Olympics at the Johnson County Fair. Started in 1984 as a relatively serious event for farmers, if you call tossing straw bales and hammering nails serious, it's evolved into a great way for many older 4-H'ers to unwind at the conclusion of livestock shows. Crowd favorite is the egg toss. The record toss is 60 feet, or is it 65 feet? There is a loosely-kept set of records, but the real value in these events is entertainment, fellowship and a chance for young and old to mix together.
One more recent addition to the Farmer Olympics at the Johnson County Fair, held on Thursday evening, July 19, is the caterpillar race. Shamelessly stolen from the Purdue Entomology contests at Spring Fling held each April, four contestants are Velcroed together at the ankles. Sometimes they look like a caterpillar slinking its way across the show arena and back; sometimes they look like a bug that just got squished!
Then there are the dairy goodies at the Hancock County Fair. That's one tent that serves some mighty fine eating. The dairy show is also enjoyable, even though you may not think of Hancock County as the dairy capital of the world.
Fulton County fair offers a laid-back atmosphere with good eats as well. It's not difficult to find a good sandwich from one of the livestock producer groups if you're taking in the fair and get hungry.
The Benton County fair may not be the state's biggest (trust us, it's not!), but it just might be one of the friendliest. They tell us fish fry night is a big deal- unfortunately we haven't timed our visit there just right yet to take that in.
It's always a good time at the Jackson County Fair near Brownstown, known for it's bevy of commercial exhibitors and big crowds. There's usually some pretty tough livestock worth a look there as well.
Rush County Fair features musical livestock- one species moves in, then out, and another moves in so that there's enough room in the barn. And like all good fairs, there's also a tractor pull associated with it.
The Lawrence County Fair builds around a center building large enough to hold 600 people for lunch. Air-conditioned, it's a great place to visit on a hot day. There's also a naturally-air-conditioned sheep barn- with all sides open that works just fine for sheep ready to be exhibited.
OK, we've shared some of our memories and observations of county fairs. What are yours? Send us your most unique event of your county fair or another fair you've attended. We'll put the best responses right here on the Website.
Every county has a fair to be proud of. Tell us why you're proud of yours. Email: [email protected].