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Indiana State Fair 2023: What to know before you go

The Indiana State Fair returns to the state fairgrounds from July 28-Aug. 20, with concerts, food, exhibits, rides, festivals, and so much more. Use this guide to prep for your visit this summer.

INDY double decker carousel

Make your way around and around — there’s lots to see at the state fair.

Photo via Indiana State Fair

Table of Contents

The Midway. The wild, fried fare. Summer concerts on the Hoosier Lottery Free Stage. All this could only mean one thing: The Indiana State Fair returns to the fairgrounds from Friday, July 28-Sunday, Aug. 20.

Since 1852, the fair has attracted thousands of people to the 250-acre fairgrounds to celebrate Indiana agriculture + the end of the summer harvest. It lasts three weeks (minus Mondays and Tuesdays), with new events, deals, and opportunities every day. Ride with us while we prep you for everything you need to know before you go.

Hours, tickets, parking

  • During its three-week run the fair is open Wednesday through Sunday and the gates open at 9 a.m.
  • Tickets are available in person and online. Tickets bought in advance are $11 + general admission tickets are $14.
  • Pro tip: $3 Thursdays are Aug. 3, 10, and 17. Gate admission and midway rides are $3 each + every food stand will have $3 food options.
  • Parking is available on- and off-site — advance parking is $8 and gate parking is $10.
Four performers on the Hoosier Lottery Free Stage.

This year’s Happy Together Tour will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

Photo via Indiana State Fair

The concerts

Some big names are headlining the Hoosier Lottery Free Stage, including:

  • Clint Black | Friday, July 28
  • Keith Sweat | Wednesday, Aug. 2
  • Styx | Friday, Aug. 4
  • TobyMac | Sunday, Aug. 6
  • Buddy Guy | Friday, Aug. 18

All shows start at 7:30 p.m. and are free with fair admission.

The theme

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Basketball: The State That Grew the Game.” Explore Indiana’s basketball history with daily themed exhibits, the Indiana Fashion Foundation’s Sneaker Design Contest on Friday, July 28, and the “Hoopfest” pop-up amusement park in The Backyard.

The fried fair fare

As always, expect a lot of fried food along the Midway, as well as various barbecued concoctions.

Pro tip: Get a taste of the Deep Fried Corn on a Stick. It’s exactly what the name implies — a 6-inch ear of corn on a stick seasoned + fried until it is a golden brown.

Get a “Taste of the Fair” with the full list of this year’s fair food.

State Fair 1

The hot air balloons will be located in the infield + will be viewable from the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand.

What’s new + what’s free

Are you a seasoned state fair vet looking for something new? A fair fanatic hoping to save money on repeat visits with free things to do? Here are some events that fit both categories.

  • Xpogo: Extreme Pogo Stunt team | Daily | Times vary | The Backyard
  • Otter Adventure | Starting Wednesday, Aug. 2 | 4:30 p.m. + 6 p.m. | MHS Family Fun Park
  • Land of Legends: Indiana’s Basketball Legacy | Daily | 9 a.m.-9 p.m. | Harvest Pavillion
  • Illuminate! | Friday, July 28-Sunday, Aug. 6 | 9 a.m.-9 p.m. | Expo Hall

Final game plan

Of course, no fair is complete without rides + games, and the Indiana State Fair will have plenty of those, too. The fair’s program of events will also help you map out your visit. Whatever you do, give yourself plenty of time to explore it all — and wear comfy shoes.