Schmidt Associates team members share their favorite Indiana State Fair memories.

Every year, thousands of Hoosiers flock to the Indiana State Fair. They observe traditions started years before and make new memories with family and friends. With the fair’s return, it only seemed appropriate to ask Schmidt Associates team members to share their fondest recollections.

Duane Dart, Project Manager/Associate
“For two summers between high school and college, I travelled to county and state fairs throughout Indiana and Michigan with Stanley and Miriam Powell making and selling fresh Powell’s Saltwater Taffy. It was like nothing on the market today. I drove the supply truck that was full of ingredients, and I lived at the fairs—sleeping on top of syrup cans and bags of sugar stored inside the truck. I will always remember the times when our taffy truck was stationed near the midway. Every night at closing, we would tear down the canopy and collect pocket change that had flown out from the midway rides. The sights and smells of the fair bring back a lot of happiness. I have many fond memories of my ‘gypsy summer’ adventures as a carny.”

Family photos from the 1990s of a young girl with her horse

Construction Administrator Steve Spangler watched his daughter show animals at the Fair through 4-H.

Steve Spangler, Construction Administrator
“When my daughter (Katie) was younger, she participated in 4-H by showing hogs, horses, and llamas at the Hancock County 4-H Fair and the Indiana State Fair. She even placed one year at the State Fair. When we showed horses, we slept on cots inside the horse barn. The kids loved it because it was a chance for them to spend time with their 4-H friends.

I also have enjoyed going through Pioneer Village and seeing the old tractors. When I was a kid, my granddad had a 100-acre farm in Peru, Indiana. Seeing all the equipment out there makes me feel more connected to him. I still have two of his tractors that I use to bail 20 acres of hay with every year. My helper is my 6-year-old grandson who tells me when the stop sign on the 1985 New Holland round baler pops up to let me know it’s full. Seeing everything come full circle has been special.”

Beth Ann Etting, Marketing Coordinator
“My husband (Dustin) and I got engaged atop the Ferris Wheel in 2005. This year, there’s a new Ferris Wheel, which is the largest in the state. While our memory may look a little different, seeing the Ferris Wheel is still a great reminder of how life changed for the better.”

Libby Budack, Data Specialist
“There are so many good memories of the State Fair. My parents had miniature donkeys, and before that, alpacas, that they would show in the livestock competitions. I always try to make it to the six-horse hitch show in the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, and also visit beekeeper friends who always have a big booth. This year, I enjoyed participating in CANstruction where we got to work on teams to construct sculptures made of cans that get donated to Gleaners Food Bank.”

Heidi Larson, BIM Designer
“Going to the Indiana State Fair has been a family tradition for 30 years, and it’s always spectacular. When I was growing up in Bloomington, Indiana, we didn’t go on a lot of vacations, but we always went to the fair. We made an entire day of it—doing everything from eating, going into all the buildings, and listening to genres of music we didn’t often hear. Today, we go multiple times. I love going into the Home and Family Arts Building to see all the different projects, to the Hook’s Drug Store Museum, and the International Draft Horse Show. Some of my favorite things are the produce competition and the sewing projects because my nieces and nephew have won Grand Champion.”

Daniel siting on his bench

Daniel Klemen sits on the bench he created that was displayed at the 2019 Indiana State Fair.

Daniel Klemen, Architectural Graduate
“I helped design and fabricate a prototype of a bench for Minnetrista Park in Muncie, Indiana that was displayed at the fair two years ago. It was part of a traveling showcase through the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association. We generated custom parametric algorithms to create the form, and we used custom-cut, Indiana-harvested hardwood that was kiln-dried to bake out the sugars. We also collapsed the cells to make it even more naturally weather resistant. My professor and I wrote a book about the process as part of my independent study last year in grad school to showcase the inherent potential of Indiana-sourced materials that also celebrated the industrial heritage of the Midwest.”

Asia Coffee, Interior Designer
“A handful of Schmidt Associates employees participated in the first-ever JA JobSpark event for Junior Achievement at the Indiana State Fair in 2016. JA JobSpark is a career exploration program where middle school students participate in immersive learning opportunities designed by various industries to help chart their career paths. We were at the RJE booth, and we spoke to eighth graders about careers in interior design. Another Schmidt Associates employee was at the construction booth showing students how brick walls are constructed. It was a great way to connect with students in the community, especially in non-traditional ways.”

No matter the year or theme, the Indiana State Fair is the perfect event to bring out the best in everyone—and this year is no exception with plenty of opportunities for fun, new traditions and making memories. To plan your visit, check out 100 Free Things To Do at the 2021 Indiana State Fair and make a plan to have some good ole’, wholesome, Hoosier fun.