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The Indiana State Fair means different things to different people.
Whether it’s crowning a new fair queen or the world’s largest hog, rooster calling contests, 4-H education, antique tractors, midway rides, concerts or unusual foods, there’s something for everybody.
For me, the annual event means putting the Department of Natural Resources on display so Hoosiers can see the many things our agency is involved in—fish, wildlife, historic preservation, conservation, law enforcement, and outdoor recreation, to name a few.
The focal point of the fair for DNR is the Natural Resources Building, located in the northwest corner of the fairgrounds.
The building houses displays of DNR programs, including the popular wall of fish tanks filled with bass, bluegill, northern pike and other species native to Indiana lakes, rivers and streams.
Next door is the DNR amphitheater, where the daily schedule of presentations features such topics as snakes, beavers, bats and raptors.
Kids won’t want to miss the DNR Fishin’ Pond, where they can wet a line in hopes of hooking a fish. Don’t know how? The pond is staffed with plenty of volunteers to show you. The free program generally runs from 9 a.m. to noon and 4 to 7 p.m. daily, with advance registration beginning one hour before each session.
Did I mention food?
If elephant ears and deep-fried sauerkraut aren’t on your diet, or if you’d just like to try something new, swing by the DNR area on Aug. 9 for the annual Taste of the Wild cookout. Hoosier sportsmen and women will dish you up a sample of venison chili, steelhead trout, beaver barbecue, turtle soup and more. It’s free … and it’s good.
For a partial schedule of DNR programs at the State Fair, which celebrates the Year of the Tree this time around, turn to page 28.
For more than 23 years, Rich Fields served as chief photographer of Outdoor Indiana. His gift for capturing the moment with the right pictures and the best pictures is something I’m sure you have come to appreciate as much as I have.
Rich recently left us for a new job at DePauw University.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but there aren’t enough words to adequately measure Rich’s contributions to DNR over the years.