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Nora at the State Fair: Day 5

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Food consumed:

Grilled gouda sandwich (rocked!)

Olympia caramels (creamy melt in your mouth goodness)

I got to ride in the Daily Parade!! It was awesome! I dragged Dad to the area where the tractors queue up for the parade so I could photograph them in action. A wonderful woman sitting in a wagon fitted with benches waved us on. Woo hoo! Pat and her husband Jack are retired and come to the Fair each evening for the parade. In my excitement I forgot to wave in a stately-queen-like way, and instead waved in the goofy-I-can't-believe-my-luck way. The parade starts at 6:30 at the east end of Main Street and loops the length of the street, through the covered bridge and around to Trackside Parkway and ends in Pioneer Village. It's a different lineup each evening, but you can count on lots of vintage tractors.

I met two guys who portray military personnel that march in the parade each day. Chris Schneider has several uniforms and mixes it up each day. Today he portrayed WWII Marine and carried a MI (unloaded, of course) rifle. I was really interested in Dale Lane's representation. He portrayed a war correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. He had an old Kodak camera around his neck. The camera would have been used for personal use, there were separate correspondents photographing the war.

We spent hours in the 4-H buildings looking at projects. You can find them in two buildings, Centennial Hall (old Boy's Dormitory) and the 4-H Exhibit Hall in the north-west corner of the Fairgrounds (more projects in the Ag Hort building and the animal projects are spread throughout the barns). I only saw a fraction of the projects and look forward to going back to the see the photography and sewing. We were lucky enough to run into Renee McKee, the 4-H Youth Program Leader in the lower floor of Centennial Hall. We talked about the amazing renovations that have happened to the two buildings. They are deemed historic, so there were restrictions to work around. For instance if the window cranks were still in place, they needed to be restored and left there. And if there was an existing wall, at least a partial wall needed to be left in place to show the original floor plan. The buildings look wonderful and are in great shape. Plans to renovate the Girl's Dormitory are in the works.

Renee said that they started with 70 4-H volunteers to set up the displays and get the building ready to go. The majority of them can't stay for the whole Fair, since school started. She is grateful for the homeschooled 4-H'rs that can volunteer and do their schoolwork on site.

I made my first trip to the FFA Pavilion. The FFA kids sell Indiana made products, farm themed clothing, popcorn and ice cold juices and tea. I plan to spend more time there, but I was on a mission for the Olympia caramels. I'd avoided them for the first four day of the Fair — they are delicious.

I thought that being in the parade would be the highlight of the visit, but I got to meet Maurice Williamson, the patron saint of Pioneer Village. I'm not sure how long he managed the Village, but I do know that it has grown tremendously under his guidance. The Pioneer Farm and Home Show Exhibit started at the fair in 1961. It was housed in the balcony of the grandstand. It quickly grew out of the space. In 1966 it was moved to the Purdue Building, in 1967 to the Horticulture Building and in 1968 a new building was constructed in the current Pioneer Village. We chatted about the new stage in the Opera House and the WLS National Barn Dance that will be staged there on Saturday (7:00 and 8:00 pm). Good stuff!

My next stop was to catch the Stereo Deluxe set in Celebration Park. I took advantage of the press pass to be in front of the stage and stand on one of those risers to snap some photos. The guys sounded great — I look forward to seeing them on August 28 at catch at the Vogue.

On my way out of the park I swung by the Dairy Barn for a Gouda grilled cheese sandwich. My intention was to take it with me, but it didn't last until I got to the gate.

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