Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Everything's bigger in ... Indiana?

People might say everything’s bigger in Texas but, from the look of things around the fairgrounds the last week, the Indiana State Fair might be ready to take that claim to fame.

First, there were the trusses of the 71-foot long Boy Scouts Legacy Project Bridge that went up the last two weeks (see photo at left). The entire bridge is expected to be completed by Aug. 6. Then, on Monday, crews were busy installing the 25-foot-tall “God Bless America” sculpture in the Dow AgroSciences Celebration Park on the northwest side of the fairgrounds. The J. Seward Johnson piece of public art, based on Grant Wood’s iconic “American Gothic” painting, will be on display during the fair, Aug. 6-22.

Miss the installation? Check out our time-lapse video below:

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On the Road Again...

Introduction by Courtney Sampson, Publicity & Media Relations Intern

Hey friends,
If you haven't met Denae Pyle yet, you're in for a real treat! Denae became the official hostess of our State Fair when she earned the title of 2010 Indiana State Fair Queen. Occasionally, we will re-post some of Denae's entries from her personal blog, "Pig Crazy Queen," which she updates regularly on her journey visiting Indiana's County Fairs. You can catch Denae during this year's Indiana State Fair, but in the meantime, get to know her as she chronicles A Day in the Life of a Pig Crazy Queen.

Denae's journey recently took her back home to Kosciusko County, where she watched the pageant she participated just a year earlier. In this entry, Denae offers up some FAQs about her reign as State Fair queen!

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

It's kind of confusing for some, but after I won Miss Indiana State Fair Queen in August 2009, I gave up my title at the county level, and Kristen Krizman (ever-so-graciously!), accepted her new title as Miss Kosciusko County 2009. Kristen found out she was the new county queen while driving to a movie with her mom and brother.

She did an amazing job as my 1st Runner-Up, but Kristen really took on the task of being county queen during the Fall, Winter, and Spring. At our most recent fair, Kristen handed down her crown - it's such a special feeling! A big congrats to all of the young women who participated in Miss Kosciusko County - way to go!

I was lucky to go back to my home county fair, but I visit a new county nearly every day! It's very exciting, and I've noticed a lot of Hoosiers have the same questions, no matter where I am in the state. Here are a few...

Is the crown heavy?
Yes! But you get used to it.

Why do you have a brown sash?
In many pictures, you'll see me wearing brown, "pig skin" suede sash. It was given to me to help celebrate Year of Pigs, and I love it!

Do you style your own hair?
Yep! Pretty proud to say I can do my own hair in about 15 minutes.

Is your hair natural?
Yes! Red...curly...thanks, Dad.

What's the best part about being the Miss Indiana State Fair Queen?
The incredible people you meet along the way. There are some perks, too. The leadership and example I can show other people - especially county queen contestants. I really love everything about it!

What about you? Have any questions for the Pig Crazy Queen? Post them in the comments section below!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sprucing up the old "house"

If you complain about having to clean your abode, try scrubbing down and sprucing up a 250-acre "house." That's what crews are busy doing with just three weeks to go until fair time at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

The fairgrounds doesn't magically look immaculate for the Indiana State Fair; a lot of work goes into ensuring the State Fairgrounds looks nice for its nearly 1 million visitors.

Below are just some shots of prep work going on around the fairgrounds this week:

Teams are busy laying down the concrete foundation for the Boy Scouts of America's Legacy Bridge Project. Once completed, the bridge will be 71 feet long of Indiana Hardwood Lumber just north of the Speed Barns.

What? You didn't think the crosswalk stripes came as naturally white as Dairy Bar vanilla ice cream, did you?

There's been plenty of activity near the Swine Barn, too. Appropriate enough, given it is the "Year of Pigs!"

Did we mention it's "Year of Pigs?" You won't have to go far to find your porky pals at the fair this year. The gift shop will sell everything from bacon bandages to bacon-flavored lip balm. I wonder if my girlfriend has egg-flavored lip balm -- that'd be a way to start the day! Pucker up, dear!

Enjoy old tractors and farm machinery? There's plenty of each now just west of Pioneer Village.

This space looks pretty empty now, but don't be fooled -- it will be home to the Habitat for Humanity AgHome soon enough.

Our Executive Director, Cindy Hoye, 18 days before opening day of the Indiana State Fair. Lots of reading material, a few phone messages, and plenty of e-mails. Don't miss the caffeine and her "when pigs fly" ornament, hanging from the computer!

See you at the Great Indiana State Fair!

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

Friday, July 9, 2010

Moo-ve on over to the Junior National Hereford Expo

When I think of cows, I think mostly of T-Bone steaks, hamburgers and other things that belong on my grill. For Pennsylvania’s Austin Howe, well, his story is much more “moo-ving.”

The hefty herefords are a way of life and animals that have brought his family together. The 19-year-old, the oldest of six siblings showing cattle, is at this week’s 2010 Junior National Hereford Expo at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

“I love to see them grow up and learn how to be responsible and mature around
everybody,” Howe said of his siblings.

Young people like Howe from all around the country are trying to turn their passion for cattle into cash by winning any of an array of competitions, including showmanship, photography and team fitting, where three-member teams have 45 minutes to fit their heifers for a panel of judges. The show runs through Saturday.

Competitors take their bulls and heifers seriously – you have to feed them the right kind of food at the right time, in addition to keeping them well groomed. That was easy to see in the West Pavilion on Thursday, as youth were busy blow-drying and brushing their bovines – even a woman on her wedding day would be jealous of all the attention these animals were receiving.

If that weren’t enough, most cows were comfortably lying or standing in front of one of hundreds of high-powered fans. These animals have better air flow in a barn than I’ve had in some of my apartments.

I suppose it all makes sense, right? Treat the cattle right … and then milk them for all they’re worth.

(Photo above: New York's Megan Andersen brushes her bovine on Thursday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.)

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

Friday, July 2, 2010

Goin' Hog Wild for Piggly-Wiggly's!

Hey friends!

Guess what I found out today?! If you remember, I said I grew up on a hog farm. Well…I still do live on the farm. I found out today that we are getting another load of baby pigs! This means I get to help! Now, truthfully I haven’t helped with the pigs in awhile because I have been off at school. I’m really quite excited to see all those ear-piercing, not-necessarily-pink, quick, little piggly-wigglys. Maybe we will end up with a few pictures I can show all of you!

Speaking of pictures, I was going through some old 4-H pictures and found a few that just happen to fit this “Pig Crazy Queen” very well. They are from my first year in 4-H. Enjoy!

My dad and I looking to see when I would show my first pig!

The makings of a "Pig Crazy Queen!"

Last weekend, I was so excited to be at my first official County Fair where there was dust-a-flyin’ and boots-a-stompin’! I was in Blackford County at their livestock auction where everyone had their boots on, and I was able to welcome everyone to the auction and take pictures with the 4-Hers and their Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion animals. An auction is truly a time where 4-Hers have a mix of emotions.

Being in 4-H for ten years, I know how it feels. You work for weeks or months with a hog, a steer, sheep, goats, chickens, etc., and they can become your pet. But the auction is the part of the fair where you sell your animal, if you choose, and it can be a time of joy, sadness, heartbreak, or liberation...or all these emotions at once! I just want to congratulate all 4-Hers for making it through the week of your fair and all the effort you put into getting to that point. I also want to thank all the buyers who come out to a 4-H Livestock Auction specifically. Without the support of family, friends, businesses, organizations, and community supporters, 4-H wouldn’t exist. It means an incredible amount to the 4-Hers that you continue to support them as well as the 4-H program.

Until next time, Dig the Pig!
- Denae,
Miss Indiana State Fair Queen, 2010