It’s time for the Indiana State Fair, 17 of the most wonderful days in Indiana! The Indiana State Fair runs Friday, August 2nd – Sunday, August 18th and there are tons of things to do for free every single day! There are many ways to spend money at the Indiana State Fair, but there are also many ways to have a great time and not spend a dime once you get through those gates. Here are our favorite free things to do at the Indiana State Fair.
Super City Super Hero Meet & Greet
Meet Superheroes from your favorite Marvel Character and DC Comics. They’re visiting the 2019 Indiana State Fair every day, and they want to meet you during their free meet and greets! This hands-on, interactive exhibit will immerse you into a world of everyday heroes and crime-fighters like Batman, Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman! Crack the case, get your face painted ($7-10) or become your favorite hero in virtual reality ($5). Head to Corteva Agriscience Harvest Pavilion to meet and greet these superheroes every day of the fair at 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Ready to sit back and relax a bit after a long hot day around the fairgrounds? On the north side of the Fairgrounds inside Gate 12, Super Cinema features Superhero movies running all day long on the big screen. Bring your kids and get comfy while you wait for your next burst of energy. I’ll be here enjoying my BBQ Pork Split.
Learn about your favorite barnyard animals all in one place! Visit Animal Town to the right (east) of the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand. There’s an Interactive Animal Experience with beef and dairy cattle, chickens, goats, draft horses, llamas, rabbits, sheep and swine. Stick around for Livestock chats.
The Harvest Pavilion is home to the super popular Seed Survivor activity and other make and take activities. Kids will learn about agriculture through a fun, interactive exhibit using virtual reality and then plant their own sunflower pot to take home.
The Family Fun Park
Little Hands on the Farm is a must do for kids! Recommended for ages 3-12 and most loved by the younger crowd, Little Hands on the Farm is a hands on experience that teaches kids about farming, food and where our meals come from. They’ll walk through a series of activity centers and complete tasks.
Live shows in the Family Fun Park are a HUGE draw, so be sure to arrive early to see. They’re free with Fair admission and all shows in this area are designed with families and children in mind.
Big Top Circus
Step right up to the Big Top Circus Tent with Bello Nock to see one of three amazing FREE Big Top Circus shows daily at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. (no 1 p.m. show on Thursdays.) You’ll find the circus tent in between the FFA Building and the Farm Bureau Building on the north side of the fairgrounds.
K9 Crew Trick Dog Show
The K9 Crew Trick Dog Show is the ultimate high-energy canine thrill show! Watch every day in the Family Fun Park. Shows are at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. & 6 p.m.
The FFA Building has a free indoor playground for those times you need to escape from the sun, plus bench seating for adults to rest. There’s also a fun, FREE putt-putt mini golf course.
Boy Scout Outpost
The Boy Scout Outpost has a free shooting gallery and other fun!
The DNR Building has live insects, snake shows, giant fish in aquariums and best of all, outside in the back there’s a FishIN’ pond for kids to try their luck at fishing. Kids and parents register at the table behind the DNR building and then listen to a short talk about fishing tips and safety and then they get to fish! TIP: be sure to register early, as this is a popular event for ages 5-17.
The Glass Barn
The Glass Barn gives families a chance to chat LIVE with real, live Indiana famers three times a day in their HUGE theater area. We enjoyed learning about three Indiana farming families and then we loved walking around the Glass Barn learning even more about farming and our food through video games and other great visuals. My kids will tell you the best part is taking a picture in the free photo booth! TIP: Be there near 11am, 2pm or 4pm so you don’t miss a live broadcast from an Indiana farm. You can win milkshake coupons too! Ask for your free $1 off coupon that can be used at the Dairy Bar, Pork or Beef Tents.
Bring some quarters (okay, so it’s not free — but looking IS free) and feed the many varieties, ages and sizes of goats at Goat Mountain right outside of the DNR Building. We’ve spent HOURS here with our little ones.
Girl Scout Building
The Girl Scouts have an archeological dig area set up for children to explore using tools and brushes. Find things and win prizes!
The daily parade weaves its way thought the fair at 6:30pm Wednesday – Friday, Sunday and Monday. It is a showcase of the day’s festivities and a perfect end to the day. During the parade you can hear great music, see costumed characters, and experience antique tractors and much more.
Travel back in time when you and your family visit Pioneer Village! Nestled between Machinery Field and the Renewal by Andersen Family Fun park, this little village is straight out of the 1800s. Here, you can experience the Opry House, Antique Tractor Exhibit, and demonstration field. Want to channel your inner historian? Pioneer Village is also home to what researchers say might be the oldest Moline Universal Model E Road Tractor still in existence today!
Indiana State Fair Parade
The Indiana State Fair Parade makes its way down Main Street, daily at 6:30pm and 1pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Highlights include antique tractors, featured farmers, cultural heroes, Circle City Sidewalk Stompers Clown Band and Miss Indiana State Fair 2019. Don’t miss this tradition of the Fairgrounds!
Livestock Barns are one of the best places at the Fair. You’ll get to see farm animals up close! My little ones think this is the greatest thing ever! Personally, I love checking out the largest pigs and their babies.
Indiana Farm Bureau Building
The Indiana Farm Bureau building serves up FREE freshly popped pop corn 12-5pm every day! There are also some fun activities to participate in with younger kids.
The Dow AgroSciences Park
The Dow AgroSciences Park is a place of more free fun that families can enjoy. Look for daily shows that will wow everyone.
Indiana State Fair Photo Opportunities
There are so many memorable moments around the fair and every family seems to have their traditional spot to take a photo. Here are a few of our favorites + a few that our readers and members have told us about.
The Glass Barn Free Photo Booth
Smile for the camera with your whole crew in front of a green screen and create animated, fair themed photos to email, text or post on social media.
FAIR and INDY
The famous NDY statue makes an appearance every year at the fair. We’ve seen it near the midway in the past and just this week we spotted it outside of Super City. The Fair also has a statue of its own. You can be the “I” in FAIR. We spotted this statue just ____.
We’re fans of the obligatory GIANT tractor wheel photo. Every year we fit all of our babies into one of the giant John Deere tractor tires. Sometimes we try to fit our friends’ kids in too!
Where do you take your family photo every year?