The Ultimate Indiana State Fair Guide

The Ultimate Indiana State Fair Guide

Want to make the best of your visit to the Indiana State Fair? You’ve come to the right article! This guide to the Indiana State Fair will offer tips, general information, and insights on making the most out of your time at the fair! The Indiana State Fair has been a Hoosier tradition since 1852, this 18-day event is packed FULL of activities, rides, concerts, and food. The 2021 theme is Celebrating the Hoosier Spirit.

2021 State Fair Information

Dates: July 30 – August 22 (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

Admission Hours: 9 am – 8 pm Wednesday – Sunday, 6:30 am – 8 pm Friday, July 30 (opening day)

  • Hoosier Lottery Expo Hall: 10 am – 8 pm (except Sunday, August 22 (closing day)
  • Harvest Pavilion: 9 am – 9 pm
  • 4-H Exhibit Hall: 9 am – 9 pm
  • Midway: 12 pm – 10 pm Wednesdays, 12 pm – 11 pm Thursdays, 11 am – 11 pm Friday – Sunday (except Sunday, August 22)

Admission Cost: General admission is $13 at the gate. Children 5 and under are free. 

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New to 2021 at the Indiana State Fair

1. Budweiser Clydesdales –  located inside Gate 12 north of the Farm Bureau Building or you’ll be able to catch them in the Daily Parade.
2. Forever Forest – an interactive exhibit for children to play and learn about sustainability & everyday products made from trees. Located at the Farm Bureau Building, open daily from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.
3. Double Decker Carousel – located just west of the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand.

Double Decker Carousel

4. The Mighty Mike Show – a 1920s-style show, Mighty Mike will juggle bowling balls & sledgehammers, bend horseshoes, and perform goofy dance routines. Shows will be daily at 1:00, 2:30, 4:00, 5:00, and 6:30 pm in Hoosier Spirit Park.
5. Bubble Tower – a solar-powered bubble tower delighting fairgoers all day! Located in the Family Fun Park.
6. Backyard Brats & Brews – open from 12 pm – 9 pm daily, this family-friendly area will be serving grilled brats, cold beverages, and other snacks. Yard games and live music will offer a “backyard barbeque” atmosphere. Located in the Hoosier Spirit Park.
7. The Great American Duck Race – Watch Mallard ducks race to the finish line in the Family Fun Park. This educational show takes place at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, and 6:00 pm daily beginning August 4.
8. Street Drum Corps – as seen on America’s Got Talent, American Idol, Master Chef, Glee, MTV, and numerous professional sporting, you’ll be able to catch their daily performances starting at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 4:30 pm. Shows located in the Family Fun Park July 30-August 1 (Opening Weekend) and will take place at the Gate 12 Kids’ Zone for the remainder of the Fair (August 4-22).
9. The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show – watch a lumberjack competition at the WGU Indiana Parklet to see events like log rolling and ax throwing. Shows start at 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 5:30 pm, and 7:00 pm daily.
10. Animal Yoga – Yoga sessions will take place July 31 at 10:00 am and 11:30 am, August 1 at 10:00 am and 12:00 pm, August 12 at 6:00 pm, August 18 at 6:00 pm, and August 19 at 6:00 pm. Each session costs $35 per ticket and includes admission to the Fair.

Tips for saving money at the fair

The fair can get very expensive! Especially if you have a family (as a family of six, we feel this!), so here are a few tips for saving money.

  • Purchase your tickets in advance. There is usually a special discount for purchasing your tickets in advance, online. You can also take advantage of the Family Packages that offer discounted family ticket packages.
  • Check out the “Deals & Discounts” page on the Indiana State Fair website.
  • $3 Thursday. Every Thursday gate admission to the fair will only be $3. Additionally, Midway rides and food options will be available at each food stands for $3 as well.
  • Take advantage of all the FREE things to do at the fair. Here is a list of 100 free things to do there!
  • Bike to the fair. If you choose to bike to the fair (rather than drive and park), there is free, secured bike parking AND you’ll save $1 off of your admission. The bike racks are available on the Monon Trail at 38th Street (enter through Gate 18) and at Fall Creek Parkway & 39th Street. Available Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 10 am – 9 pm, and Thursdays or Saturdays from 10 am – 11 pm.
  • Stop by the State Fair Information Booths at Gate 6 and Gate 12 for a fair map and FREE sunscreen!
  • Bring your own bottled water and snacks. Yes, you are allowed to bring in your own, especially if you have little ones – just remember you may not be allowed to bring this into certain areas AND you must carry it around. Please remember to dispose of your trash.

Indiana State Fair Entertainment

  • FREE Stage – with more than a dozen nights of popular artists, there is bound to be a night you’ll want to take advantage of the free entertainment stage (free with admission). All seating is first-come, first-serve so you’ll want to arrive early!
Beach Boys at the 2021 Indiana State Fair
  • Hoosier Lottery Grandstand – attendance to these is free or may require a paid ticket (see schedule and ticket options here). For 2021, there will be a Hot Air Balloon Race, a demolition derby, a cheerleading competition, a rodeo, and more!
  • Midway Rides & Games – No fair is complete without the good ole carnival rides. Individual Midway tickets will be $1.50 each or you can purchase a wristband onsite during the Fair for $35, or online (in advance only) for a discount of $25 +convenience fee. Also new this year is the Hoosier Cruiser Super Wheel, a 150-feet-tall Ferris wheel with 36 individual climate-controlled gondolas (tickets are $10/person). The Sleep Number Skyrider will be available for $6 a rider (or 4 Midway tickets, wristbands are not valid on the Skyride).
Indiana State Park Midway
  • Family Fun Park – Open daily from 9 am – 8 pm, the Family Fun Park is great for all ages. New this year is Animal Town, where you can hang out with your favorite barnyard pals. Go-Karts and pony rides for the little ones will be available in this area for an additional fee.
Family Fun Park
  • Pioneer Village – Located between the Machinery Field and the Family Fun Park, you’ll step back into the 1800s with a visit to the village.
  • Livestock Buildings & Barns – Are you interested in meeting the sheep, horses, rabbits, llamas, alpacas, mules, donkeys, cattle, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and goats of the 4-H fair? You’ll be able to visit them in these buildings.
Livestock barns

2021 Indiana State Fair Food

Twenty-three new State Fair foods have been announced for the 2021 season! Take a look at what you’ll find. What will you try this year? You can see a description and photos of all the State Fair foods here. Fairgoers can vote on their favorite fair foods at the Information Booths or by scanning the QC codes displayed at each participating “Taste of the Fair” concession stands.

  • Beef Parfait (offered by Indiana Beef Cattle Association)
  • BBQ Suga (Sh-uga) Momma (offered by Gobble Gobble Food Truck)
  • Buttermilk Wafflewich (offered by American Dairy Association Indiana Inc.)
  • Deep-Fried Cheesecake Bites (offered by AP Concessions Deep Fried Sweet Concession)
  • Honey BBQ Wings (offered by Da Portable Rican)
  • Bavarian Cream Puff (offered by The German Corner)
  • Iced Coffee Float (offered by Hook’s Drug Store Museum)
Iced Coffee Float
  • Bison Steak Fajitas (offered by Red Frazier Bison)
  • Winner-Winner Chicken Dinner (offered by Urick Concession)
Winner-Winner Chicken Dinne
  • Cherry Chocolate Funk Hand Dipped Ice Cream (offered by American Dairy Association Indiana Inc.)
  • Philly Cheesesteak Fries (offered by Miss Piggy’s)
  • Media Noche (offered by Da Portable Rican)
  • Frozen Mocha Coffee (offered by American Dairy Association Indiana Inc.)
  • Outlaw Burger (offered by Indiana Ribeye)
  • Fruit Twister Paradise Pop (offered by Goodwin’s Pork-N-More)
  • Fruity Pebbles Funnel Cake (offered by Monroe Concessions)
  • Cinni Minnis (offered by R&W Concessions)
  • Chocolate Salted Carmel Milkshake (offered by American Dairy Association Indiana Inc.)
  • Miss Piggy’s Mac Daddy (offered by Gresham Foods)
  • Loaded Brat (offered by BLV)
  • Bacon Mac & Cheese (offered by Indiana Pork)
  • Mangonada Frozen Beverage (offered by Baskin Robbins)
  • Sun King Funnel Cake Pastry Ale (offered by Sun King Brewery)

Indiana State Fair Parking

  • Parking: Parking is first-come/first-serve and is $10 at the gate. You can purchase a parking pass online for $8 + a convenience fee. Enter through Gate 1 off 38th State or Gate 6 off of Fall Creek Parkway. 
  • Accessible Parking – available in the southwest corner of the infield adjacent to the ADA accessible walk tunnel and the South Lot.
  • Drop Off – if you are being dropped off by someone (Uber, Lyft, etc.), have your ride use address 3700 Woodland Avenues, Indianapolis, IN 46205 for the rideshare drop-off location.

Tips & Rules to know ahead of time

  • All permitted bags, purses, and fanny packs are subject to search.
  • Only service animals are permitted into the fair, no pets.
  • Smoking is prohibited except in the designated smoking areas.
  • You may leave and re-enter the fair the SAME day with a hand-stamp. A new hand stamp will be used each day, and are available only until 7 pm each day.
  • No person in possession of a deadly weapon shall be permitted onto or be permitted to remain on the Fairgrounds (including knives); any person properly licensed to carry a firearm must secure the firearm in a locked compartment of his/her vehicle and it shall not be visible to a passerby.
  • Wear comfortable shoes! Lots of walking to be had at the fair. A free shuttle service is available for anyone who wants a lift around the fair (please note the shuttle gets pretty full & there is often a wait on busy days).

Safety at the Indiana State Fair

  • 500+ hand-washing and sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the fair. You’ll find these at surrounding restrooms, food stands, and animal stations.
  • Masks are not required but recommended for those not vaccinated per the CDC guidelines.
  • Fair dates have been expanded to spread crowds out and will be closed on Mondays & Tuesdays to allow for a refresh of campus.
  • Food utensils and condiments will be packaged individually.
  • All guests will be reminded of COVID-19 measures and expectations in pre-event communication and PA announcements.
  • Contactless entry is available and strongly encouraged (please see instructions above to order tickets online).
  • Hand sanitizing packets will be available to all guests upon entry.

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