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
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Indiana State Fairgrounds Comments and Reviews
“Whoo hoo! Just seeing the fairgrounds makes me want to hoot and holler. The most notable event at the fairgrounds, of course, is the Indiana State Fair. Usually held in the sweltering dog days of summer, the State Fair is something I always look forward to, with its amazing food (pork tent, I love you, and you, elephant ears, and you, lemon shake-ups, and you milk booth, and you roasted corn ears, etc., etc.), exhibits of various farm equipment, live sheep shearing, animal competitions, somewhat frightening amusement rides, and ridiculously overpriced carnival games. I always look forward to seeing the world’s largest hog–who, miraculously, turns up in Indiana every year without fail!–as well as the DNR exhibit, the cake contest winners, the wedding gowns and the quilts. I think the State Fair, while wildly expensive, would be fun for just about anyone.
During the rest of the year, there are car shows, home and garden shows and other events of that nature at the various buildings on the grounds. The Pepsi Coliseum is a skating rink year-round and home to the Indianapolis Ice during the hockey season.”
“A LOOOOT bigger than it outwardly appears. All the buildings surround a horse track. On the one straightaway is a large grandstand, where people can either view the horse events, or the concerts that take place during the Indiana State Fair, and at other, less frequent times.
Went to the 150th Annual Indiana State Fair this year. First time I had gone in 11 years – couldn’t remember much of my first trip, but if I had, I might have worn better shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking for any event that is held here, that’s for sure. Lots of bathrooms around the facility (not Port-a-Potties; actual bathrooms), however, and tons of places to get inside into the AC and rest.
All in all, if you are coming to a big event like the State Fair, please take my word for it – Ride the shuttle…”
“I have gone to this every year since I was a senior in high school. A total blast! My advice is this- Do not go here for the rides/ or games because they are a waste of money. They are pretty terrible and can cost a lot.
The best parts of this experience are the FOOD and the ANIMALS. There are baby animals as well as huge pigs. The food is super yummy and fried. I can’t wait to go tomorrow!”
“Indiana Rib-Eye is still open around the southeast bend of the oval, but there is a Hoosier Rib-Eye that is trying to act as a knock off. The Indiana Rib-Eye is soooo much better, so it is worth the walk!
If anyone wants to know what deep fried Pepsi is, it is a doughy type of pastry injected with Pepsi syrup and brown sugar… and it’s waaay to sweet for even me.
The world’s largest boar (pig) lives in Indiana and is 1100 (that’s one-thousand, one hundred) pounds! And it even breathes….
Now it’s open for three full weeks!”