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Survivors of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse mark 10-year anniversary

Seven people died as they attended a concert on a summer night.

INDIANAPOLIS — Ten years after the State Fair stage collapse, there are so many families and survivors coping with the events of that day.

Seven people died as they attended a concert on a summer night that turned stormy. Nearly 60 others were hurt, and some are still trying to find a way to move forward.

People remember three-year-old Maggie Mullin as the sweet little girl in the tutu. She came with her family to watch her favorite band, Sugarland, perform at the Indiana State Fair on Aug. 13, 2011. 

“We were touching the stage. They let me sit on the stage,” Maggie remembered. 

The show never happened. 

Instead, total strangers rushed to help save Maggie’s life when the stage collapsed under high winds. 

Four people died in the collapse, along with three others who passed away in the days that followed. Fifty-eight more were injured but survived. 

“It’s crazy that it’s been 10 years and I’m really grateful for all the people that helped save me because, without them, I wouldn’t be here,” Maggie said.

Ten years later, the now-13-year-old will tell you she only remembers bits and pieces of that night. The left arm, which she almost lost, still has a scar, same as the one from a gash on her leg. 

“I remember being at the fair and playing games and then being excited and going to stand on the stage,” Maggie said. 

“Everybody remembered the little girl in the tutu because she was so precious,” said Gregory Johnson, who was also there that night. 

Johnson remembers everything. It was his birthday and, like Maggie, he was right near the stage in the "Sugar Pit," an area reserved for Sugarland Fan Club members. 

“They actually came on the PA and said if we have to, we may have to evacuate to the Pepsi Coliseum,” Gregory recalled. 

The next thing he remembers is looking up and seeing something snap. 

“You could see four beams and you tried to position yourself so one of the beams didn’t directly hit you, and the popping of the lights was like a sound you never heard because as they hit the ground, ‘pop! pop!” he said. “There’s times it seems like it’s been two or three years and other times, you’re thinking, ‘Well wait a minute. That happened on my birthday, and it was only 10 years ago.’”

In that time, though, tragedy has united people who were strangers that night, like Maggie and Gregory, who have now become family to one another. 

“I love these people," Gregory said. "It’s 10 years. We’re here to say ‘hey’ and ‘hi’ and support one another.” 

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