INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana State Fair is here, offering nearly three weeks of fun, shows, concerts, food and much more.

You’ll find several new exhibits, experiences and food and beverage options at this year’s fair. Here’s what to expect.

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

When is the fair?

The Indiana State Fair opens on Friday, July 28, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 20.

It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Here are the hours:

  • Wednesdays: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Thursdays: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Fridays: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Sundays: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The last entry time for any day of the fair is 8 p.m.

Midway hours:

  • Wednesdays: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Thursdays: 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Fridays: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Sundays: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 20: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

You can find ticket information here.

Hoopfest/via Indiana State Fair

What’s the theme?

The 166th edition of the Indiana State Fair will shine the spotlight on basketball and Indiana’s rich tradition with the sport. Visitors will find several exhibits about the game and its deep ties to Indiana.

Organizers said basketball is inextricably linked to Indiana’s history with agriculture. The game grew in popularity because it was affordable; the playing season centered around the planting and harvest season.

Some basketball-centric attractions include an exhibit featuring the 1951 Chevrolet driven by Gene Hackman in Hoosiers, an “immersive exhibit” from the Indiana Pacers and a hoops-inspired theme park packed with activities.

A hot air balloon leaves over the Indiana Stare Fairgrounds during the Indiana State Fair hot air balloon race, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in Indianapolis.(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

How much does it cost?

General admission is $14. Parking passes cost $10. Tickets and parking were discounted if people bought them before July 28.

The fair also offered a Family Four Pack for $44 that included a parking pass, although the deal expired at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, July 27.

Premium area access is also available for many of the concerts on the Hoosier Lottery Free Stage. The upgraded experience costs $50 and includes fair admission, access to the reserved viewing area, private bar and private restrooms. Limited quantities are available.

What about parking?

Fairgrounds parking costs $10 per vehicle, with parking available in the Fairgrounds Infield, South Lot (38th Street) and at the Indiana School for the Deaf (42nd Street) from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Accessible parking is available inside Gate 1 (38th Street entrance) in the southwest corner of the infield adjacent to the ADA accessible walk tunnel and the South Lot. Parking costs $10.

Another option includes “pedal and park” in which riders can save $1 on admission by riding a bike to the State Fair and using a free secured bike rack on the Monon Trail north of 38th Street. It’s available Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays.

IndyGo also offers two routes (4 and 39) that drop passengers off near the fair’s entrance on 38th Street. You can learn more about that option here or use IndyGo’s website to plan your trip.

What’s the new policy on minors?

The State Fair has a new policy on unaccompanied minors for 2023.

According to the policy, anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or chaperone (age 21+) starting at 6 p.m.

From the fair:

  • Each adult may chaperone up to six (6) individuals and must remain at the Fairgrounds while the minors they are chaperoning are still present.
  • Any minors under the age of 18 not accompanied by an adult will not be admitted.
  • Any person entering may be asked to show a valid driver’s license, state identification card, or other government issued ID.
  • Does not apply to organized and ticketed group outings or those participating in competitions where existing chaperone procedures are in place.
Hard-sided coolers aren’t allow into the Fairgrounds

What’s the new bag policy?

Also new in 2023: a rule that all bags must be 9”x10”x12” or smaller. Bags are subject to a search before guests are allowed to enter the fairgrounds.

Any bags larger than 9”x10”x12” will not be allowed inside the venue. They must be returned to a vehicle or home. Any prohibited items will be confiscated and will not be returned.

Here’s what’s allowed into the fairgrounds:

  • All bags (clear, backpack, tote, camera) 9”x10”x12” or smaller will be permitted.
  • Fairgoers are NOT limited to the number of bags smaller than 9”x10”x12” that they bring in, and all bags will be searched.
  • Empty reusable bottles, cups, and souvenir cups will be permitted.
  • Any carry-in items for family care, such as diaper bags, water or snacks for children, or medical reasons will be permitted – no medical proof or note needed.
  • Diaper bags of any size
  • Cameras for personal use (No photography for commercial or media use without proper media credentials)
  • Empty cups, water bottles, and camelback-style water packs
  • Lawn chairs/folding chairs (please remove chair from bag at security screening)
  • Sealed water bottles
  • Strollers/wagons
  • Umbrellas

The following items are prohibited:

  • Aerosol cans
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Banners, signs, or flags on poles
  • Bicycles, tricycles, or unicycles
  • Foot powered or electric scooters (such as Bird, Lime, or Lyft scooter)
  • Skateboards, hoverboards, roller skates, or inline skates
  • UAV – drones
  • Animals such as pets and emotional support animals (service animals are allowed)
  • Balloons
  • Beach balls
  • Commercial A/V equipment
  • Fireworks, sparklers, or explosives
  • Glass bottles
  • Hard-sided coolers
  • Illegal substances (drugs, paraphernalia, etc.)
  • Bags larger than 9”x10”x12”
  • Lasers
  • Noisemakers
  • Sticks, bats, poles
  • Weapons, firearms, knives

Are there any discounts?

Hoosiers looking to save some money have a few opportunities for discounts during this year’s fair.

  • Aug. 2, BMV Discount Day: $7 admission with printed or digital voucher from the BMV website.
  • Aug. 3, Aug. 10, Aug. 17, $3 Thursdays: $3 gate admission, $3 Midway rides and $3 food options on promotional days presented by the Indiana Secretary of State.
  • Aug. 9, Free ticket: The Aug. 7 edition of the IndyStar will feature a free ticket redeemable at the gates good only for Wednesday, Aug. 9.
  • Aug. 16, AAA Day: AAA cardholders receive free admission with a valid AAA membership card. One valid card per person.
  • Aug. 18, Military & First Responders Day: First responders, current and former military and their families receive free admission with a valid ID presented at the gate.
Patrons ride a Ferris Wheel at the Indiana State Fair Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

What’s new for 2023?

Visitors will find several new attractions and activities at the Indiana State Fair this year. New experiences range from basketball-themed events to an “augmented reality” experience and animal encounters.

Otter Adventure: You’ll find this from Aug. 2 through Aug. 20 at the MHS Family Fun Park at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. From the State Fair: “Come take a splash with this interactive, up-close-and-personal show with the sweetest creatures on the Fairgrounds!”

Parakeet Encounter: This DNR Building attraction is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. “Get up close and personal with friendly parakeets at the State Fair! Bring the whole family to experience a delightful encounter with these colorful birds.”

Swifty Swine Racing Pigs: You’ll find these races on the east end of the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand every Friday through Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Indiana Basketball History Exhibit: Learn about Indiana’s rich basketball tradition during this exhibit at the Harvest Pavilion exploring the history, players and moments that personify Hoosier Hysteria.

Hoopfest: This basketball-centric theme park has you shooting, scoring and creating basketball memories. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at “The Backyard.”

Hoosiers Movie Exhibit: Check out a piece of movie history with the 1951 Chevrolet driven by Gene Hackman’s Norman Dale in the classic basketball movie Hoosiers.

Space Ham: Augmented Reality: Described as the Indiana State Fair’s first-ever augmented reality experience, this intergalactic adventure introduces you to Hammy and his team, using your smartphone camera to transport you to an outer space arena filled with activities.

Illuminate! Available July 28 through Aug. 6 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Expo Hall, this lightshow is free with paid admission.

Indiana State Fair Hoosier Lottery Free Stage 2023 concert lineup includes TobyMac (top left), Peppa Pig (top middle), Buddy Guy (bottom left), Keith Sweat (bottom middle) and Clint Black (right)

Free concerts

The State Fair announced its free concert lineup in waves earlier this summer. The lineup includes musical artists to fit every taste, from Clint Black to Keith Sweat, Three Dog Night, Gin Blossoms and more.

Most shows start at 7:30 p.m. at the Hoosier Lottery Free Stage. The concerts are free with paid admission to the fair and seating is first come, first served. Attendees are allowed to bring their own folding chair.

  • July 28: Clint Black
  • July 29: Samantha Fish featuring Jesse Dayton
  • July 30: Peppa Pig Live! Peppa Pig’s Adventure (11 a.m. and 2 p.m. shows)
  • July 30: Home Free
  • Aug. 2: Keith Sweat
  • Aug. 3: Retro Rewind featuring DJ Streblow (‘90s Night at the Indiana State Fair)
  • Aug. 4: Styx
  • Aug. 5: Quiet Riot
  • Aug. 6: TobyMac
  • Aug. 9: Three Dog Night
  • Aug. 10: Rob Base
  • Aug. 11: Gin Blossoms
  • Aug. 12: The Taylor Party: Taylor Swift Night
  • Aug. 13: Skillet
  • Aug. 16: Happy Together Tour 2023 (The Turtles, Little Anthony, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Vogues, The Classics IV, The Cowsills)
  • Aug. 17: Latino Fest with Noel Torres
  • Aug. 18: Buddy Guy: Damn Right Farewell
  • Aug. 19: Breland
  • Aug. 20: Gospel Music Festival headlined by CeCe Winans

What new foods can I expect?

There are 30 new options to try at this year’s fair, ranging from bratwurst-topped nachos to multiple corn dishes, a burger topped with mango, signature drinks and more.

Fairgoers can find the new options—plus classics like elephant ears, funnel cake, corndogs and lemon shakeups—at more than 140 food stands across the fairgrounds.

Additional information