Indiana State Fair gets underway today for 17-day run


The Indiana State Fair officially started Friday morning with the traditional hot air balloon launch.

The balloons were about 45 minutes late getting off the ground this morning because there wasn't enough wind. They lifted off around 7:00 am.

This is the first time in several years that the balloons have taken off on opening day after becoming a Saturday attraction.

The fair will offer alcoholic drinks for the first time in nearly 70 years. Friday's start of the fair also marks the return of paid concerts in the fairgrounds' newly renovated coliseum after those concerts were suspended following the deadly 2011 stage collapse.  Last night marked the first time many people have been back since the nearly $60 million renovation of the coliseum. 

Crews spent 18 months stripping the building down to its four walls and re-creating a venue that will be used for more concerts, basketball games, ice skating and much more.   This is the first major investment to the coliseum since crews installed air conditioning in the 1990's.

This year's fair runs through August 17 and will mark the first time alcohol has been served on the fairgrounds since 1946.

Fair officials say visitors will be limited to three beers or three glasses of wine apiece. They also can sample products from Indiana breweries and wineries as long as they don't have more than 36 ounces of beer or 15 ounces of wine.

Among the usual culinary delights is cheeseburger on a stick, a deep-fried (of course) delicacy featuring ground beef, cheese and hash browns, surrounded by bread crumbs.

Indiana State Fair - Schedules, discounts and more