Performers return to Indiana State Fair for first time since the pandemic


INDIANAPOLIS — For the first time since the pandemic, the Indiana State Fair is back on. Performers and vendors alike are thrilled to return to the summer tradition.

For some of these acts, the pandemic was dreadful. Mighty Mike Johns is a street performer who is working five shows a day at the state fair this year. He juggles bowling balls and sledgehammers.

He says if it weren’t for the fair he would be back in his home country of Canada where COVID restrictions keep big fairs from happening.

“Spent the last year bending horseshoes in my backyard for nobody,” joked Johns.

He will tour fairs across the country, starting with Indy. Johns says he took for granted how special a live audience is.

“That’s the unfortunate part, if I’m not doing these shows, the strength goes away.”

Vendors are also glad to see crowds after a year of lost revenue. 86-year-old Larry Boles started coming to the state fair when he was five. Thirty years ago, he built Doc’s Root Beer stand by hand and has been a mainstay at the state fair ever since. With so much time during a year without fairs, he built another strawberry stand for this year.

“I do fairs from Miami to here, and this is always the best,” smiled Boles. “We are getting great turnout wherever we go this year.”

“You miss the people, you miss the fun, miss the atmosphere,” added Tawny Glass who works atDoc’s root beer stand. “We did both of the counties, Marion and Johnson, and they were great.”

The fair will run until August 22, however it is closed every Monday and Tuesday. That’s so the fair can do extensive cleaning.

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