Community Things to Do

Going to the Indiana State Fair? Here’s Your “Must-Do” List

The Indiana State Fair has been one of the state’s foremost summertime events since 1892, and – somewhat like fine wine – it’s only getting better with time. 

Whether you’ve been there before or you’re a fair novice, there are tons of things to see and do for folks of all ages. Without further ado, let’s get right into the main attractions:

2022’s Theme: Celebrating Indiana’s Automotive Excellence

This year’s theme recognizes the way the state has influenced the automotive industry throughout the world and its amazing history. Given that Indiana is virtually synonymous with auto racing, there’s a lot to celebrate – and what better way to let the Hoosier spirit shine? It’s “Fun at the Speed of Summer,” without a doubt.

What Are the Basics You Need to Know?

The Indiana State Fair runs from July 29 through Aug. 21 this year but is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The hours are 9 AM – 10 PM on Wednesdays and Sundays, and 9 AM – 11 PM Thursdays through Saturdays.
While inflation has been steadily hitting everyone’s wallets, the prices at the fair have remained steadily reasonable – making the event perfect for family fun. If you buy your tickets in advance, you get a discounted rate of just $10 per person and $8 for parking. Aug. 4, 11 and 18 are also “$3 Thursdays,” which makes the Midway attractions and rides super affordable for those on a budget.

What Should You See or Do?

It’s not really possible to list everything the Indiana State Fair has to offer, but we’ll do our best to hit the highlights:

Free Concerts

Your ticket to the fair also gets you automatic access to the following shows, which all start at 7:30 PM (although seating is strictly first-come, first-served):

  • Kansas – July 29
  • Jesse McCartney – July 30
  • We The Kingdom – July 31
  • Chaka Khan – Aug. 3
  • Gone 2 Paradise (Jimmy Buffett Tribute) – Aug. 4
  • Travis Tritt – Aug. 5
  • The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Aug. 6
  • Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo – Aug. 7
  • Trace Adkins – Aug. 10
  • Too Fighters (Foo Fighters Tribute) – Aug. 11
  • KC & The Sunshine Band – Aug. 12
  • Latino-Fest – Aug. 13
  • Zach Williams – Aug. 14
  • Happy Together Tour – Aug. 17 
  • Small Town (John Mellencamp Tribute) – Aug. 18
  • Carly Pearce – Aug. 19
  • Vixen & Autograph – Aug. 20
  • Gospel Music Day ft. Fred Hammond – Aug. 21

Grab a drink or some fantastic food and get ready to rock, roll and rumble along with the nightly shows.

Returning Fan Favorites

The Indiana State Fair has tons of returning events and activities for the whole family to enjoy, including:

  • Visit the butterflies at the Butterfly Exhibit at the DNR Building
  • Meet and pet the baby goats at Goat Mountain 
  • Transport yourself back to the 1800s via Pioneer Village
  • Take the Indiana History Train at MHS Family Fun Park 
  • View “The Cheese Lady’s” newest sculpture at the AG/Hort Shopping District
  • Watch the 1926 Model T Rapid Assembly (7/30 and 7/31 only)
  • View the artistic creations of local artists at the Indiana Arts Building
  • Check out the spectacular Quilting Hall of Fame Exhibit
  • Engage in a scavenger hunt for prizes at the Farm Bureau Building
  • Play corn hole with your family or friends at the Farm Bureau Building
  • Come experience the wonders of nature with the Roving Naturalist at the DNR Building

There really is an almost endless array of all-things Hoosier to visit and enjoy, so this list is just for starters. 

Don’t forget to buy a wristband online (if you want the discounted rate of $25 plus a convenience fee over the $40 price at the gate, with the exception of $3 Thursdays) so you can experience all of the Midway rides and attractions, like:

  • Tomb of Doom
  • Treasure Island
  • Zombie Motel
  • Silver Streak
  • Speedway
  • State Fair Slide
  • Century Wheel
  • Cliffhanger
  • Dizzy Dragon
  • Mega Loop 

Keep in mind that height limits do apply to the rides and many require an adult to accompany any children.

New Additions

Every year, the Indiana State Fair gets bigger and better. This year’s additions include:

  • The Bubble Tower – MHS Family Fun Park, daily from 9 AM to 8 PM
  • The Flying Fools High Dive Show – Main Street at 12:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 5 PM and 7 PM daily
  • The Canine Stars Stunt Dog Show – MHS Family Fun Park, 12 PM, 3 PM and 5:30 PM daily
  • Baby animals (and their mothers) at Momma Town — Expo Hall, 9 AM to 8 PM daily
  • The Strongman Mighty Mike’s show – Main Street at 1 PM, 3:30 PM and 6 PM daily
  • The USA Mullet Championships – 2 PM on Saturday, July 30 only
  • The State Fair Hot Air Balloon Night Glow – Opening Night Only at 9 PM

Fine Fair Food

What’s a state fair without fair food, right? You’ll find plenty of your favorites across more than 140 different food stands, featuring everything from funnel cakes and kettle corn to brand-new editions, like the:

  • Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Walking Taco – by Meatball Factory LLC
  • Deep Fried Brownies – by R&W Concessions
  • Pickle Pizza – by Swains Concessions 
  • Bison Lettuce Wrap – by Red Frazier Bison
  • Vegan Nachos – by Black Leaf Vegan
  • Mexican Street Corn in a Cup – by Wilson Concessions
  • Mac Diggity Corn Dog – by Gobble Gobble Food Truck

When you’re done with your day, stop by the booth manned by Hooks Drug Store Museum for an Iced Mocha Coffee Float to cool down. Or, if you’re in the mood for a decidedly decadent adult drink, the “State Fair Mary” is 24 ounces of Bloody Mary topped with all kinds of fair food, including deep-fried cheese curds, mini corn dogs and a pulled pork slider.

The Indiana State Fair is only with us for 18 days, but it’s 18 days’ worth of incredible fun and a celebration of the Hoosier spirit – so join folks from all over the state as you celebrate our community.