Monday, August 8, 2011

Pioneer Village Celebrates 50 Years

Fairgoers of all ages enjoy the old-time fun Pioneer Village offers. Now in its 50th year of existence, enthusiasts from all over Indiana are expressing their love for this beloved exhibit of the fair. One of those people is long-time fair fan, Eugene Brodie. Eugene’s parents took him to his first fair as a small child and he has attended the fair every year since. In fact, 72-year-old Eugene has not missed the Indiana State Fair in more than 65 consecutive years. Now that’s impressive!

His favorite memory? Eugene remembers getting an ice cream with butterscotch and nuts every year as a kid, something he says has now been replaced with elephant ears.

“They’re probably my favorite-I get one every year,” said Eugene while laughing.

Growing up, Eugene says his favorite activity was going to the Agricultural Building and looking at the antique tractors. Even though he started going to the State Fair before Pioneer Village was built, he has visited the exhibit every year since it opened in 1961. Seeing the antique tractors in Pioneer Village as well as enjoying the music and farm equipment remain some of his favorite things to do at the State Fair today. Eugene was surprised to hear that Pioneer Village is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“That was 50 years ago?” he asked. We know, Eugene, we know.

Pioneer Village has expanded and developed like crazy in the last 50 years. Yet, it remains the perfect place where the modern world disappears and pioneer life takes over. It’s life the way your grandparents, or great-grandparents, lived. And most importantly, its fun. Where else can you go to experience life before modern conveniences (and get to leave when you’re ready to get back to your real, comfortable life)?

And the best part of having a 50th anniversary? Celebrating. The big celebration event takes place Sunday, Aug. 14 at 1 p.m. when more than 150 antique tractors will dominate a special 50th Anniversary Parade in the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand. The parade will feature bands, animals, vintage vehicles and other unique oddities.

Although Eugene won’t get a chance to see the parade this year, he is already planning his annual trip to the State Fair. I got to hear briefly about his experience with Pioneer Village and the State Fair, but I am hoping to see him in action when he comes to the fair on Aug. 18. 50 years of Pioneer Village and long-time fair fans- what could be better?


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