The 17-day run of the Indiana State Fair will begin when gates open on this Friday. The 2013 edition will be different in many ways. There will be plenty to do and see, just perhaps not how you're used to seeing at the fair in the past.
The most obvious change is that the Coliseum, the cornerstone of many activities at the fair, is not usable this year. Construction continues on a major remodeling overhaul that will modernize the facility. It was home to livestock shows, horse shows, hitch and team competition and much more.
Besides losing use of the building, scheduled to be back on line for the 2014 state fair, the construction creates other headaches, organizers say. Traffic patterns for pedestrians and cars may be somewhat different. And the horse show ring that was behind the coliseum has been remodeled into an enclosed structure, but seating is limited. The current plan, according to Indiana State Fair board members, is to run the six-horse hitch and other attractions people love to watch in that facility this year. The catch is that with the horses doing their thing in there, there won't be room for spectators to watch safely. So the competitions will go on, but you can't watch them, unless the large screens that will show a live feed of the competition work properly. The location of the screens has yet to be disclosed.
The Indiana State Fair Queen pageant on the last day of the fair also will find a new one-year home besides the Coliseum. Sources say it's headed to the Farm Bureau building and its auditorium. Pageants have been held there before. The major drawback is limited seating for the audience. Contestants will have a limited number of tickets to allow family into the event.