The Indiana State Fairgrounds are located northeast of downtown Indianapolis at 38th Street and Fall Creek Parkway. The fairgrounds have served the state as a central location for showcasing Indiana agricultural productivity and advancement. When not being used for the purposes of the Indiana State Fair, the grounds are used for various entertainment, Indianapolis sports, and Indianapolis education events.
The Indiana State Fairgrounds is the third official location for the Indiana State Fair, one of the largest Indianapolis events. The fair previously had traveled to several different Indiana cities. It was seen that attendance was highest when the fair was held at an Indianapolis location.
In 1851, the Indiana General Assembly passed an act to encourage and promote agriculture in the state, and this measure included the formation for a State Board of Agriculture. This primary goal of this board was to create the first Indiana State Fair. Initially, the state fair was located at Military Park along West Street in downtown Indianapolis; later, it was decided that a larger facility would be needed for the event. This would place Indiana as the sixth state to begin holding an agriculturally themed fair. 36 acres north of the city were acquired, but development was put on hold due to the Civil War. After the site was eventually developed, The “Otis Grove” location housed the fair for the next 20 year,s until the fair again outgrew the site and the current location was acquired in 1891.
The new Indiana State Fairgrounds were a vast improvement in size, with 214 acres to be used for the construction of permanent exhibition buildings. Completed construction on the grounds in 1908 would bring exhibition buildings, a 12,000 seat coliseum, and a race track to the fairgrounds site. The Pepsi Coliseum would prove to be a popular venue over the years, hosting a number of entertainment attractions in Indianapolis.
The Pepsi Coliseum was such a popular building, in fact, that in 1939, the Public Works Administration used both federal and local bond money to construct a second coliseum for the fairgrounds. This new Art Deco building, originally known as the Indiana State Fair Coliseum and now known as the current Pepsi Coliseum, would prove to be popular as well, hosting a number of events over the years including public ice skating, professional ice hockey, concerts with live Indianapolis bands, basketball games, and political conventions. It is the largest building at the fairgrounds and serves as a home playing site for the Indiana Ice hockey team.
The Fair Board currently leases the various buildings on the grounds for events, as well as educational and recreational exhibits. These exhibits include themes in automobiles, the Indiana Flower and Patio Show, the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show and the Indianapolis Home Show. The race track on the grounds is also a popular stopping point, hosting automobile races such as the Hoosier 100.
Today, the Indiana State Fairgrounds host 52 permanent buildings, plus race tracks, parking lots, and fields for the yearly midway, all of which occupy 238 acres of land. While the fairgrounds host a wide variety of events and exhibits throughout the year, its main function remains a hosting site for the Indiana State Fair, held every August at the fairgrounds.
For more information on the Indiana State Fairgrounds, please visit the location’s homepage.
Covered Bridge on the Indiana State Fairgrounds
Inside the covered bridge at the Indiana State Fairgrounds
Indiana State Fairgrounds
1202 E 38th St
Indianapolis, IN 46205-2869