Friday, August 20, 2010

#1 Fair fan honored by Governor

Liz Bowman has made lots of great memories out here at the fair, but nothing will top what happened today. The 83-year-old Indianapolis woman was honored by the fair and Governor Mitch Daniels for her unwavering devotion to the Great Indiana State Fair.

It's hard to believe, but she's been to every day of every fair for the last 62 years! And she doesn't just ride the tractor shuttle around all day. She still visits different spots and loves all the people she gets to meet.

Take a look at today's recognition. She called today the best day of her life outside of when her children were born, and her display of emotion was quite touching. Thanks for coming to the fair all those years, Liz... we love you!

Submitted by Andy Klotz

Home is where the heart is

There's the old adage "home is where the heart is," and that, perhaps, is none more so true than with Tamika Allen, who got the keys to her first house on Friday.

But this wasn't any home build -- throughout the past three months, Habitat for Humanity spearheaded an effort to get hundreds of volunteers from several organizations to help build the Allen family a home.

Furthermore, volunteers helped assemble and paint the home here at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, just east of the DNR complex. The house will then be moved Sept. 14 to its new home off Bellafontaine Street in Indianapolis. Habitat officials said this is only the second time that any chapter throughout the nation has built a home not on its final location.

Even though Tamika has her keys, she'll have plenty of entertaining to do in the next 2-1/2 days: The house is open through Sunday for all fairgoers to walk through.

"It's been a long year, but I've finally made it today," Tamika said outside her new house.

It was a heck of a housewarming. Boomer from the Indiana Pacers, as well as reps from various sponsors, such as Kroger, Dow AgroSciences and the Indiana State Fairgrounds, stopped by to drop off presents and share stories about the build.

"It was a very challenging and ambitious schedule," said Dean Illingworth, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis. "The heat didn't slow us down. In fact, there was one day we were ahead of schedule."

Welcome home, Tamika.

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

"Goode" Video Wins Go Hog Wild Indiana YouTube Contest

OK - I've got a public confession to make. When I started my internship at the Indiana State Fair on June 2, I didn't know the difference between a steer and a swine. Sure, I know what cows and pigs are, but those fancy terms went WAY over my head.

I've come a long way. Anybody know what a Red Wattle Hog is? I do, I do! How about a Shropshire Market Lamb? Yep, I know that one, too. Denae, the Indiana State Fair Queen, tricked me into eating goat...and I even held a fish! This is big stuff for a city-slicker like me. In fact, I even had the pleasure of riding a donkey with my counterpart, Kris Karol, earlier this week. So now I can officially say..."This ain't my first rodeo!"

But I digress...In the midst of all this fun, the Indiana State Fair staff, along with Indiana Pork and Live Nation, found time to watch the entries for our Go Hog Wild Indiana YouTube Contest. A big THANK YOU to all the participants. With 931 views, the winner is....Big Mikey, Cris, and Little Ham, Addie Goode! Congrats to the Goode family on an awesome YouTube video.

Last night, Mike Platt, Executive Director for Indiana Pork, along with Denae Pyle and Porkchop, presented the $250 check to the Goode family. The runner-up, Amanda Falcone, received The Other White Meat Grill Set.

The best part of the night? I got to see Addie's face as she climbed inside the antique firetruck to lead the Daily Parade...and then...PORKCHOP arrived on-site! Addie waited all week to see her favorite fair friend. Here's a picture from last night; you can see Addie admiring Porkchop.

If you didn't catch the Go Hog Wild video, check it out below or visit the Indiana State Fair YouTube Channel!

Submitted by: Courtney Sampson, Intern

RESULTS: Young Hoosier State Piano Competition

Young pianists from throughout the state recently competed in the Indiana State Fair's Young Hoosier State Piano Competition. They played everything from classical to ragtime and showed the crowds they wouldn't be out of place performing at the Hillbert Circle Theatre in downtown Indianapolis.

Here are the results from the contest:

Youth Classical:
1. Chendi Liu
2. Mishael Paraiso
3. Hannah Liu
4. Ruth Kelley
HM Adelle Murphy
HM Annie Qin
HM Gracie Tubbs

Youth Non-Classical:
1. Melissa Su
2. Ruth Kelley
3. Benjamin genter
HM Nathan Fiedelday
HM Saylor Lancaster

Youth Jazz, Blues & Boogie
1. Virginia Reen
2. Ben Casica
3. Zion Andoh
4. Brynn Anderson

Youth Ragtime:
1. Ruth Kelley
2. Saylor Lancaster

Youth Schumann:
1. Oscar Wang
2. Alicia Wang

Youth Sonatina:
1. Mishael Paraiso
2. Christie Bao
3. Jocelyn Sun
HM Hannah Liu
HM Iris Yan

Youth Ensemble:
1. John Kelley & Ruth Kelley
2. Virginia Reen & Stephen Reen II
3. Tushar Sardesai & Alex Lee
HM Lincoln He & Michael Chen
HM Sarah Liao & Stephanie Liao

Jr. Classical:
1. Isabella Hu
2. Peter Rutkowski
3. Andy Morris
4. Anthony Peterson
HM Stephanie Hong
HM Claire Kim
HM Henry Su

Jr. Non-Classical:
1. Mark Mozina
2. Henry Su
3. Saki Tanikawa
4. Hannah Wang
HM Jacquelyn Knobelsdorf
HM Andy Morris
HM Sarah Tinaphong

Jr. Sonatina:
1. Jerome Sendon
2. Dominic Reen
3. Andy Morris
4. Amberly Xie
HM Stephen Reen II
HM Samuel Genter
HM Jacquelyn Knobelsdorf

Jr. Ragtime:
1. Mark Mozina
2. Stephen Reen II
3. Saki Tanikawa
HM Brandt Carmichael
HM Yoonseo Choi

Jr. Jazz, Blues & Boogie:
1. Bernard Reen
2. Dominic Reen
3. Henry Su
HM Jacquelyn Knobelsdorf
HM Mark Mozina

Jr. Sonata:
1. Mark Mozina
2. Peter Rutkowski
3. Michael Tam
HM Stephanie Hong
HM Isabella Hu

Jr. Chopin:
1. Peter Rutkowski
2. Anna Montgomery
3. Stephen Reen II
HM Dominic Reen
HM Louis Sokol

Jr. Schumann:
1. Peter Rutkowski

2. Bernard Reen
3. Hikaru Miyazaki
HM Dominic Reen
HM Stephen Reen II

Jr. Ensemble:
1. Bernard Reen & Dominic Reen
2. Jasmine Sendon & Sarah Tinaphong
3. Dominic Reen & Stephen Reen II
HM Andrew Walker & Hannah Walker
HM Katie Mao & Laan Yeung
HM Aaron Peng & Konwoo Kim

Mid-Teen Classical
1. Lyndon Ji

2. Roger Morris Jr
3. Joey wu
4. Haley O'Neil
HM Laan Yeung
HM Alexander Lai

Mid-Teen Sonata:
1. Lyndon Ji
2. Evelyn Foster
3. Jasmine Sendon

HM Baizhen Zhu
HM Anna Tam
HM Sang Jun Park
HM Michaela Walker

Mid-Teen Sonatina:
1. Marina Lopez
2. Regina Go
3. Zachary Weldon
4. Jessica Wilson

Mid-Teen Schumann:
1. Sam Roach
2. Sang Jun Park
3. Sarah Archer
4. Andrew Walker

Mid-Teen Non-Classical:
1. Roger Morris Jr
2. Jenny Ly
3. Regina Go
HM Patrick Meader
HM Dustin Phillips
HM Allyson Weber

Mid-Teen Jazz, Blues & Boogie:
1. Jenny Ly

Mid-Teen Chopin:
1. Madissen Pearson
2. Julie Puckett
3. Roger Morris, Jr
HM Lyndon Ji
HM Michael Tan

Mid-Teen Ragtime:
1. Julie Puckett
2. David Goldberg
3. Rachel Ollestad
4. Haley Long

Collegiate Non-Classical:
1. Hallie Thyr

Collegiate Ensemble:
1. Hannah Porter & Elizabeth Porter

Sr. Teen Classical:
1. Verna Mui
2. Jacob Merriman
3. Nick Sokol
HM Viven Lai
HM Roberta Weiner

Sr. Teen Non-Classical:
1. Miki Tanikawa
2. Jacob Merriman
3. Jacki Howard
HM Laura Knopp
HM Jill Bosserman
HM Paul Settle
HM Cecilia Hsu

Sr. Teen Chopin:
1. Stephanie Wu
2. Miki Tanikawa
3. Jill Bosserman
HM Nick Sokol
HM Darienne Patchett
HM Julianna Pikus

Sr. Teen Sonata:
1. Ejiela Agi
2. Lauren Dirks
3. Sam Vaught

Sr. Teen Sonatina:

1. Darienne Patchett

Sr. Teen Ragtime:
1. Julianna Pikus
2. Angela Pikus

Sr. Teen Ensemble:
1. Jacob Merriman & Sam Vaught
2. Emily Malek & Katy Malek
3. Megan Moles & Molly Moles
4. Angela Pikus & Julianna Pikus

Thursday, August 19, 2010

From the backyard to the State Fair: The best BBQ dishes

When it comes to barbecue, I've really only tried making such dishes myself a couple of times. This is partly due to my lack of culinary skills but also because I don't have a fancy-schmancy grill (actually, all I have is a crock pot and a tabletop Food Network grill).

My issue is of no concern to the contestants at Wednesday's inaugural Shoup's Country Backyard BBQ Cookoff at the Indiana State Fair. Some of the 15 entries brought in giant, fancy grills, while at least one other relied on an open pit to roast his meal.

Shoup's awarded medals to the top three winners in each of the four categories -- loin, ribs, open and hogburger -- in addition to medals and prizes to the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion, both of which scored the best once their entries for all four categories were added up. The Grand Champion even received a gas grill, $250, embroidered apron and chair, chef's hat and more.

And don't think every dish had pork in it -- one featured asparagus covered with cilantro and blue cheese sauce. Of course, there were also ribs and even pork-stuffed red peppers.

Miss the action? Here's a list of the winners:

Grand Champion
John Hillbert, Peru (featured in photo at top in the pig snout and chef's hat)

Reserve Champion
Mike Strong, Speedway

1st: John Hillbert, Peru
2nd: Pat Burkhalter, Mulberry
3rd: Danny Derrick, Indianapolis

1st: John Hillbert, Peru
2nd: Greg Schiesser, Shelbyville
3rd: Mike Strong, Speedway

1st: Greg Schiesser, Shelbyville
2nd: Nick Carter, Indianapolis
3rd: Mike Strong, Speedway

1st: Greg Schiesser, Shelbyville
2nd: Mike Mang, Frankfort
3rd: Craig Sheets, Kirklin

Shoup's also held a special category "Showmanship" that did not go toward the overall champion tabulation:
1st: Craig Sheets, Kirklin
2nd: Pam Nash Dobbin, Indianapolis
3rd: Nick Carter, Indianapolis

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Barn-naming honors Pioneer Village founder

Since he founded Pioneer Village almost 50 years ago, Mauri Williamson has worked to preserve and present history to visitors in the small collection of old west buildings, antiques and farm machinery at the Indiana State Fair.

On Wednesday, Mauri became a part of that history when fair officials renamed the Pin-Framed Barn the "Williamson Pin-Frame Barn" during a special ceremony.

Fair officials kept the unveiling a secret and teased Mauri telling him they wanted to give him something that would last for a long time. Mauri, still with his signature sense of humor, quipped, "A car?" No, Mauri, not a car, but something that will likely last even longer -- his name on a building in Pioneer Village, one of the most popular attractions at the Indiana State Fair.

Pioneer Village began in 1961 as a simple collection of antique tools and has since grown to include an opry house, several vendors selling old-time goods like pottery and grain and many other attractions.

Below are a couple more photos from today's festivities:

Dozens greeted Mauri at the barn-naming on Wednesday. Mauri is positioned on the mid-right bottom of the photo in a red shirt and overalls.

From left to right: Indiana State Fair Commission Executive Director Cindy Hoye, Mauri Williamson and Indiana State Fair Queen Denae Pyle laugh it up during the unveiling.

Caption for photo at top of story: Are we at the "God Bless America" sculpture in Dow AgroSciences Celebration Park or Pioneer Village? Mauri and his wife, June, would make Grant Wood and J. Seward Johnson proud.

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Come hungry, leave happy on $2 Tuesday

I love trying new foods, so when I saw the Indiana State Fair was bringing back its $2 Tuesday promotions for today, I was excited. In case you haven't heard, many concessionaires are selling $2 portions of their foods today (full list of vendors below photos) and many midway rides are also only $2. You can even get into the fair for $2 by getting a voucher at!

So, back to my excitement. I was so excited that I sat down with my girlfriend last night, made a list of all the $2 foods we wanted to snack on and even drew a map of the fairgrounds plotting the food vendors' locations in relation to the attractions and exhibits we still wanted to see. What's wrong with that? I want to have a yummy AND efficient evening.

Plenty of people are already chowing down on some great $2 deals! Check out the photos below!

Off State Fair Blvd., the Red Barn is selling $2 "pig ears," which are just smaller versions of elephant ears. I wonder if we ever did $1 Tuesdays if they'd do "guinea pig ears?"

Carousel Foods is selling two balls of deep-fried cookie dough for $2! One for you and one for your best friend ... or two for you and none for them also works. Yum!

How corny! Lots of places are selling $2 corn dogs today.

Watch out! Even a $2 portion of King's Taters can be a mouthful!

Don't know where to go to load up on food today? Check out this complete list!

American Dairy Assn Frozen Custard (Vanilla or Chocoalte) 8 oz (chocolate pig)
Barto's Steak on a Stick 2.5 to 3 oz
Barto's Fried Green Tomatoes 3 pieces
Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Small Single Scoop Cone / Ice Cream Sandwich Single Scoop / 1 Sandwich
Beach Concessions Popcorn small box
Bianco's Foods Cheese Pizza 1 slice
Bianco's Foods Regular Fry or Curly Fry Small
Big T Concessions Polish Sausage w/ peppers & onions 1/3 lb
Big T Concessions Corn Dog 8/1
Bracken Steak America Hot Dog 6/1
Brookes Concessions pizza 1/6
Brookes Concessions elephant ear 9"
Brookes Concessions corn dog 4/1
C & E Concessions corn dog 1 small
Carousel Foods Inc Kettle Korn 1/2 bag
Carousel Foods Inc Mini Doughnuts or Brownies 1/2
Carousel Foods Inc Nachos 1/2 reg size
Carousel Foods Inc Corn regular size ear
Carousel Foods Inc French Fries 1/2 reg size
Carousel Foods Inc Cookie Dough or Oreos 1/2
Charlie's Pizza 1/12 of a 16" pizza
Charlie's Burger 1/4 lb
Cocobongos pina colada, orange or "bahama mama" 12 oz cup
Coffman Concessions elephant ear 1/2 portion
Coffman Concessions elephant ear 1/2 portion
Coffman Concessions elephant ear 1/2 portion
Cross Food Service cheese quesadilla 6 inch
D. C. A. Inc. Footlong Corn Dogs 6 oz
D. C. A. Inc. Footlong Corn Dogs 6 oz
Delia's Ribs Baby Back Ribs / Peach Cobbler 1 bone / 1 bowl
Dr. Vegetable Inc. Fried Veggie Tray 1 lb tray
Dr. Vegetable, Inc Fried Veggie Tray 1 lb tray
Dr. Vegetable, Inc Fruit Slushy 16 oz
Eagle Food Service Corn Dog 9/1
Eagle Food Service Iced Tea 16 oz
Ford Foods Hot Dog 8/1
Ford Foods Hot Dog 8/1
Freund Family Foods, LLC Disposable Cup 12 oz
Gobble-Gobble BBQ Turkey on Bun Small Bun
Greg Clay strawberry shortcake
Hodson Concessions hot dog regular size
Hodson Concessions taco regular size
Hooks Children's Ice Cream Small Sugar Cone / Cup
Ice Palace Concessions Tropical Drink 12 oz.
Ice Palace Concessions Tropical Drink 12 oz.
IN Beef Cattle Assn All Beef Hot Dog Normal
IN Beef Cattle Assn All Beef Hot Dog Normal
IN Pork Producers Assn Sausage Snackers 1 sausage in a bun
IN Pork Producers Assn Sausage Snackers 1 sausage in a bun
IN Pork Producers Assn Sausage Snackers 1 sausage in a bun
IN Sheep Assn pulled lamb parfait 4 oz
Indiana Ribeye corn
Indianapolis Jaycees Inc corn on the cob Normal
Indp.Wash.Twp.Lions Club cup of corn 8 oz
J & J Concessions Inc Orange Whip Cup 3 oz
J & J Concessions Inc Pineapple Whip Cup 3 oz
JDM Promotions Lemon or Orange Shakeup 16 oz
Jessop Candy Products Carmel Corn 3-4 oz small bag
Jessop Candy Products Carmel Corn 3-4 oz small bag
Jessop Candy Products Carmel Corn 3-4 oz small bag
Jessop's Candies Inc Carmel Apples Regular
King's Food Service Fiddlestick 1 regular
King's Food Service Cookies 5 cookies/$2
King's Food Service Pizza 1 slice
King's Food Service Taters 1/2 order
King's Food Service Fiddlestick 1 regular
King's Food Service Taters 1/2 order
King's Food Service Corn Dog 4 in
L H Ice Cream Inc Dippin Dots Ice Cream 3 1/2 oz
Libbertt Concessions Ice Cream Small Cone
Libbertt Concessions Corn Dog Small
Libbertt Concessions Hot Dog
Libbertt Concessions Small Cone Small
Libbertt Concessions Hot Dog & Small Bag Popcorn 1 & Small
Libbertt Concessions Hot Dog/French Fries
LT Concessions Inc Mini Funnel Cake/Powdered Sugar 4"
LT Concessions Inc Hotdog 1 hotdog w/ bun
Meatbal Factory Deli/Corn Dog Corn Dog Regular
Meatball Factory Deli/London Sausage Regular
Meatball Factory Deli/Meatball Sausage Regular
Meggers Road Concessions The "Cheese Sampler" 1 mozz finger 2 cheddar nuggets w/ sauce
Miller Catering & Concessions LTD pulled chicken parfait 4 oz
Miller Foods Baked Potato 1/2 w/ butter & sc
Miller Foods Corn Dog or Fries Regular
Miller Foods Corn Dog or Fries Regular
Miller's Food Corn Dog or Fries Corn Dog-Regular/Fries-4 oz
Miller's Food Corn Dog or Fries Corn Dog-Regular/Fries-4 oz
Moreland's Hot Spot Concession curly fries 1/2 portion n/cheese
Morgan Family Enterprises Curly Fries w/wo 1 cup cheese sause 2 1/2 lb boat
Murat VCM Club Grilled Hot Dog 1/4 lb
Old World Almonds Cinnamon Roasted Almonds 2 oz
Olde Tyme Poppin Korn Kettle Popcorn Small Bag
Original Meatball Factory Sausage Normal
Papageorge's Inc Greek Gyro 1/2 order (5-6 oz)
Papageorge's Inc Yaya's Tomato Balls 1/2 order w/ sauce
Pickle Barrel Sirloin Tips sirloin dinner 1/4 portion
Price's 1 Oak Beignets 3 Beignet Sticks
R E Smith corn dog
R E Smith corn dog
R E Smith corn dog
R E Smith corn dog
R E Smith corn dog
R E Smith corn dog
R E Smith corn dog
Rick's Concessions Pizza 1 slice
Robey Concessions Pollock Sandwhich Small
Round Boy Concessions Cheese Fries Small
S & S Concessions Small Ice Cream Cone Small
Sati--Babi Inc sati-babi (shish-ka-bob)
Shahelyn's Concessions Cheesy Beef Stick 1/2
Shahelyn's Concessions Inc Lemonade 16 oz
Sno Zone Shaved Ice same
Sno Zone Shaved Ice same
Sno Zone Shaved Ice same
Sno Zone Shaved Ice same
Soteria Xirogiannis Carmel Apples 1 regular apple
Southern Guild Root Beer 32 oz
Southern Guild Dole Whip cone
Southern Guild Root Beer 32 oz
Southern Guild Dole Whip cone
Spaghetti Eddies Deli Pizza 1 slice
Spaghetti Eddies Deli Zeppoles 2
Spaghetti Eddies Deli Hot Dog
Sutter's LLC Taffy 8pc Sampler Bag
Sutter's LLC Taffy 8pc Sampler Bag
Sutter's LLC Taffy 8pc Sampler Bag
Sutter's LLC Taffy 8pc Sampler Bag
Sutter's LLC Fudge 1/4 lb slice
Sweet Corn Connection Cider Slush 8 oz
Sweet Corn Connection Cider Slush 8 oz
T & T Concessions Corn Dog Small
Thomas Hodson Company chicken strip basket 2 chicken strips w/ fries
Thomas Hodson Company chicken strip basket 2 chicken strips w/ fries
Urick Concesions LLC Funnel Cake 4"
Wagner Concessions 2 sides for $2
Wagner Concessions corn dog
Wagner Concessions hot dog
Wagner Concessions Ice Cream
Wagner Concessions pretzel
Wagner Concessions pretzel
Wagner Concessions pretzel
Xirogiannis Carmel Apples 1 regular apple

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Fair's most dedicated fan - Ever!

Elizabeth Bowman isn't your typical fairgoer. In fact, there isn't much typical about her.

"Liz" is an 83-year-old Hoosier transplant. She moved here from Florida when she was 19 and discovered the Indiana State Fair when she was 21. She's been coming ever since. And I don't just mean that she's stopped out to the fair here and there over the years. I mean that she has come to the fair EVERY DAY of EVERY FAIR for 62 years! Can you believe that? I know that I couldn't... but it's true.

These days, Liz usually strolls up to the ticket window at Gate 1 on 38th Street around 9 a.m. where she purchases her ticket and makes her way into the fair. After checking in with her friends in the information booth to get her $3 wristband for the tractor shuttle, she'll maybe sit down and have a bite before making her way around the fair.

She is a woman of incredible faith and tons of resiliency. If you see her when you are out and about during the fair, tell her "Hi." She's a self-proclaimed "people person." And in case you are wondering, she doesn't just stay on the shuttle all day long. Word on the street is that she even stopped in Celebration Park the other day to take a turn on the mechanical bull. Can your Grandma do that?

Submitted by Andy Klotz

Fried mealworms: The newest fair food?

When it comes to the stars of this year’s crop of fair food, everyone’s been talking about the deep-fried butter and doughnut burger, but what about the fried mealworms?

Purdue University’s Tom Turpin, an etymologist by trade, grossed out and intrigued a packed house in the Pioneer Hi-Bred Our Land Pavilion on Saturday by sautéing mealworms in butter and then feeding them to the audience during his “Let’s Cook Some Bugs” demonstration.

“Where else can you get free fair food?” Turpin asked. Clearly, some people in the audience also understood the adage “nothing in life is free,” as in tasting the mealworms would cost them their lunch.

For those that were brave enough to eat the mealworms, they described the taste as “peanut-ty,” “like shellfish” and, my personal favorite, “I just never tasted anything like this before.”

Before you ask, yes, Turpin has been grilling grubs and other bugs for 35 years. He said he tried it as a way to offer something different to a 4-H roundup at the time. Needless to say, mission accomplished.

Check out Turpin’s treats in the video below:

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kiss Up to the Queen!

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 and the Indiana State Fair. Get to know her as she chronicles A Day in the Life of a Pig Crazy Queen.

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

Holy Cow! Uh, I mean, Holy Pig! I’m here at the 2010 Great Indiana State Fair, and I’m busy meeting our fairgoers! Have you attended the State Fair “Year of Pigs” yet? Before time runs out…I wanted to let you all know that I am excited to be a part of the American Diabetes Association’s “Kiss a Pig” fundraiser to help the 24 million Americans who suffer from diabetes. If you feel compelled to “vote” for me, you can go to the following website, and make a donation.

Each dollar counts as one vote towards me “Kissing a Pig” on August 19 at 10:30 a.m. on the Buckle Up Main Street Stage at the Indiana State Fair! All of the donations go directly towards the American Diabetes Association to help stop diabetes across America and our great Hoosier state. I want to “Kiss a Pig” to show our gratitude towards pigs – Did you know pigs were the first source of insulin for humans with diabetes?

Thank you, thank you to everyone who has already donated! Again, I hope to see you all at the Indiana State Fair sometime soon – it lasts until Aug. 22! Please feel free to stop me and say “Hi!” I have my own golf cart, but you’ll probably recognize me with my long, red, curly hair and tiara!

Here are a few shots – hangin’ out at the State Fair!
Thank you all so much for your support throughout this summer!
See you at the fair.
- Denae

Submitted by: Courtney Sampson, Intern

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How much of a Hoosier are you?

Having lived in Indiana for only a year now, my knowledge of the Hoosier state goes something like this: It's located between Illinois and Ohio, people really like the Colts and everyone calls everyone else a "Hoosier," even though no one really can explain with any certainty what the word means.

Being that outsider, I took refuge in learning that today is "Hoosier Heritage Day," so I picked up the camera and trotted over to State Fair Boulevard to take in all the history I could handle from educational and historical organizations in an attempt to educate my poor Michigan-raised mind.

Here's what I learned:

I had no idea how old the state's universities are. For example, I spoke with this calligraphy artist (at left) -- who will write out your name for free on a piece of paper -- and he said he was in attire from the 1800-1816 period. The woman next to him was fanning a Ball State University fan, to which I replied "I guess that's appropriate -- Ball State was around back then." Well, not really, as I soon learned only Vincennes University -- not even IU or Purdue -- was around back then.

During World War I, the battery commander often used this telescope at right to peer into the distance to spot enemy artillery rounds. Doug Blackford with the Hoosier Dougboys, a historical organization, said soldiers, like with Indianapolis' 150th Field Artillery, would then fire their rounds. Overseas fighting at that time was dangerous, he said, noting soldiers didn't have helmets or respirators. Also, did you know that the 150th is still around today, almost 100 years after its founding?

Not much of a war history fan? Then test your knowledge with the Indiana Historical Bureau's state trivia, the Indiana Historical Society's timeline of Indiana politics, or any of the several other displays and demonstrations going on all day!

Where can I find a woman like that?

She might not be Jesse's girl, but Elaine Wissel is certainly Rick's girl. The Beech Grove woman was first in line to get into tonight's free Rick Springfield show, securing her spot under the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand by 8 a.m.

You think you like Rick Springfield? You're no match for Wissel: She's seen the '80s heartthrob 10 times -- THIS YEAR. I can only counter by saying I've seen Hedrick's Racing Pigs 10 times this year ... but I digress. Wissel's fervent fandom also includes additional countless concerts she's attended over her lifetime and the T-shirt she scored when she saw the pop rocker 10 years ago during a special stint in Las Vegas.

See her story below, and then come on out for the free show! It starts at 7 p.m. at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand at the Indiana State Fair!

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Going ga-ga over Ghiradelli chocolate at the fair (WITH RECIPE)

It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth. In just the first few days of this year’s fair, I’ve consumed deep-fried Oreos and cookie dough, Ellison Bakery cookies and cupcakes decorated like pigs. Even Famous Amos or Mrs. Fields wouldn’t be able to keep up with my baked (or fried) food binge.

It should then come as no surprise that I was front and center at Tuesday’s Ghiradelli Chocolate Championship in the Ellison Bakery Home & Family Arts Building attempting to photograph decadent desserts without lunging myself onto the Culinary Arts Stage kitchen counter. Officials must have known my reputation – one asked me to step back because I was getting too close to the kitchen area.

Judges tasted 36 exhibits, awarding first through third places. All three top finishers walked away with a Ghiradelli prize basket and apron, with first capturing an additional $150 cash prize and second scoring a $50 prize.

First place went to Markleville’s Mary Alice Collins and her “Ghiradelli White Chocolate Macadamia-Pecan-Coconut Cake” (see photo at left of a judge taste-testing the winner). I’m not a fan of coconut, but I have to say her cake was among the prettiest that I saw. Second place went to Morgantown’s Beverly Rossell and her “Chocolate Malted Towers” and third place went to Greenwood’s Hae Won Miller and her “Ghiradelli Chocolate Almond Bars.”

All this talk of Ghiradelli chocolate got you in the mood to bake? Me, too.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, you can either scope out the entries in the basement of the Ellison Bakery Home & Family Arts Building or fire up the oven. The following is Collins’ award-winning recipe:

Ghiradelli White Chocolate Macadamia-Peach-Coconut Cake

Yields: 12 to 16 servings

8 oz. white chocolate baking bar

2-1/2 cups sifted cake flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1-1/2 cups granulated Domino Sugar

1 pinch salt

4 large eggs

1-1/4 cups milk

1 teaspoon coconut extract

½ cup macadamia nuts, chopped and roasted

2 fresh peaches or 1 cup, chopped very fine and drained on a paper towel

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3- to 8-inch round cake pans on the sides and bottom. Flour the sides and place a piece of cut wax paper in the bottom. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Melt the 8 oz. bar of white chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot water or melt in the microwave. Set aside to cool to room temperature. With a mixer, beat butter, sugar and salt until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Add the flour and milk alternately beginning with the flour and ending with flour. Add the white chocolate, coconut extract, chopped peaches, and macadamia nuts just until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the 3- to 8-inch pans. Bake for about 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging on it. Cool about 15 minutes. Unmold onto a rack and cool completely.

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

State Fair gets "KISSed"

Okay, I'm not the biggest KISS fan in the world, but I was one of the 15,000 people in the sold out Hoosier Lottery Grandstand Monday night excited to see the masked men do their thing... and they didn't disappoint. It's really kind of hard to believe they can still crank out the tunes like that - especially in 90-degree heat - as "experienced" as they are.

The guys all arose from underneath the stage to start the show and that was only the start of the special effects. Gene Simmons spiked flaming torches, Tommy Thayer shot fireworks out of his guitar, Eric Singer and his drumkit were lifted to the top of the stage, and that doesn't even include the vast array of other flames, fireworks and confetti.

I enjoyed being part of the KISS Army for one night and am still amazed by the two guys who showed up in full Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley gear (they must have posed for a thousand photos!). And I was most impressed when the band took a couple minutes to tell the crowd about their Wounded Warrior fund in which they donate a dollar of each sold ticket to our soldiers hurt in combat. The current tally is more than $105,000!

So say what you want about these facepainted rockers, but they leave it all out on the stage night after night... and they certainly know how to close out a show. Check it out...

Submitted by Andy Klotz

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jeep Rocks & Road Tour Comes to State Fair

Driving through the concrete jungle of Indianapolis, I don’t get too many opportunities to ride up steep dirt mounds or ungracefully bounce over logs and rocks. However, the Jeep Rocks & Road Ride & Drive exhibit at the 2010 Indiana State Fair affords visitors that opportunity – and more. The exhibit has normal road and off-road courses and a variety of Jeep products where fairgoers can get behind the wheel. It’s free with general fair admission and runs through this evening, Aug. 8 on the west side of the Best Way Disposal Infield.

Check out a video of the perilous journey I went on with my colleague, Courtney Sampson, during our trip to the off-road course Saturday:

"Me and My Gang" First in line for Rascal Flatts

A group of young women from Tipton, Ind. woke up at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning to claim the coveted front row for Rascal Flatts, who perform this evening at 8 p.m. at the State Fair's Hoosier Lottery Grandstand.

Lorie, Kayla and Courtney, three friends and Rascal Flatts super fans, arrived at the Fairgrounds around 6:15 a.m. and have been sitting underneath the Grandstand ever since. Tonight's concert will be Lorie's third time seeing Rascal Flatts perform. Kayla is looking forward to her fourth time, but Courtney takes-the-cake; tonight will be her sixth show. All three fans purchased tickets the first day they were on sale.

Since I've dubbed Courtney the Super Fan, you'll have to check out the video; she talks about the extra-special surprise she received from the Rascal Flatts Fan Club!

Even during the short time I talked with the girls, the line began to grow. Another group of friends from Central Indiana arrived around 8 a.m., but they were smart enough to bring playing cards! When I asked Lorie, Kayla and Courtney if they would make friends with their newest neighbors, their answer was a resounding yes!

While they wait until track seating opens the evening, the girls will take this time to people watch, enjoy fair smells and maybe even play some cards. If they get hungry enough, one friend might venture out for a deep-fried fair snack, while the others hold her place.

You may not be willing to wake up in the middle of the night, but if you're looking for something to do tonight, tickets are still available for tonight's show! Come hang out at the fair...and when you see the girls in the front row, you'll know they've waited all day for the chance to see Chris Young, Kellie Pickler, and Rascal Flatts. And nope, don't worry - they aren't Drinkin' Themselves Lonely or Wearin' Red High Heels...but they certainly got Their Wish!
Submitted by: Courtney Sampson, Indiana State Fair Intern

Friday, August 6, 2010

...And We're Off!

It's Day 1 of the Great Indiana State Fair, and it couldn't have been a better start! Bright blue skies and cooler temperatures surrounded Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye, Governor Daniels, Lt. Governor Skillman and dozens of others in Dow AgroSciences Celebration Park for this morning's opening ceremonies.

Band Day usually dominates fair headlines on opening day now that the Giant Hot Air Balloon Race has been moved to the fair's second Saturday (Aug. 14), and the high school marchers put on some great performances for the thousands of fans in the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand.

Personally, I have yet to try much of the fair food - you need to pace yourself when you're here all 17 days, but I imagine a Dairy Bar milkshake isn't far off in my future. I have already heard great reviews on the Garbage Burger, this year's signature food, which is in all of the Pork Tents. The deep-fried butter seems to be going over well, too. By the way, that is not a stick of butter that's deep-fried and put on a stick. It's more like a doughnut hole that combines sugar, cinnamon and butter inside that yummy funnel cake batter.

Okay, I've just made myself hungry. Time to go get some fair food.

Submitted by Andy Klotz