INDOT hadn’t participated in the Indiana State Fair in more than 15 years, but this was the year to make a comeback.
“The State Fair is one of the biggest events in the state where we can meet Hoosiers where they are,” said Customer Service & Employee Communications Director Jennifer Clark. “Engaging with the public and telling our story is critical in building public trust and support.”
As a result, INDOT committed to being a sponsor this year. More than 100 employees served as volunteers during the 18-day run of the fair. Nearly 60 people pitched in to help on INDOT Day, the agency’s official sponsorship day.
INDOT staffed a 20-by-20 booth in the Mercantile (formerly the Agriculture Horticulture Building, located next to the fair Midway) every day. The INDOT booth featured displays and materials representing a variety of departments, programs, and initiatives.
Giveaways for fairgoers included a hands-free cell phone holder for the car, work zone safety wristbands, items from Operation Lifesaver, and car cupholder coasters.
Although most educational information targeted adults, children weren’t forgotten when it came to the INDOT exhibit. Kid giveaways included frisbees and paper airplanes. But the big-ticket item for kids from the INDOT booth was free bike helmets, provided by INDOT’s Bike Safe Indiana program. INDOT provided more than 11,500 bike helmets to kids, including nearly 4,000 on INDOT Day.
“The bike helmets were a huge hit,” said Clark. “I can’t count the number of times that people were shocked that INDOT was handing out FREE helmets!”
In addition to the space in the Mercantile, the fair sponsorship came with a dedicated day — INDOT Day, on Aug. 19. As part of INDOT Day, the agency had an additional 1,900 square feet of outdoor space on State Fair Boulevard, the main fair roadway. The INDOT space featured Hoosier Helpers, INDOT’s Innovation trailer, personnel from the Crawfordsville, Greenfield and Vincennes districts, Paint a Plow, the Unmanned Aerial Systems team, and more.