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The Hogs Have It on the Opening Friday of the Indiana State Fair

by Carolina Keegan

Published: Friday, August 5, 2022

Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Sens. Todd Young and Mike Bruan, and Mung Chiang, the new president of Purdue University, spoke at Indiana Pork's ham breakfast that kicked off the Indiana State Fair last Friday.

The breakfast celebrated the start of the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis.

Through various farming and, in particular, pork-related puns, each speaker expressed their excitement for the state fair. There was also a $10,000 donation made by First Farmer's Bank and Trust to Feeding Indiana's Hungry Million Meals program.

John Elliot, a board member of Feeding Indiana's Hungry and the president and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank, accepted the donation. Food distribution in June was higher than any month during the pandemic, Elliot said. However, "generosity is matching the growing need."

"What we're doing here today not only proves that you get a lot of oink for your buck, we're really making a difference," Holcomb said, generating some chuckles.

The breakfast concluded shortly before 8 a.m. with the wishes that everyone would enjoy the Indiana State Fair. There were nearly 300 in attendance.

The swine showmanship competition began at 8 a.m. in the West Pavilion. Senior showmen (as of noon) by breed include: Hereford, Dylan Paul of Allen County; Duroc, Kadence Emenhiser of Tippecanoe County; Spot, Branson Jordan of Adams County; Landrace, Jordan Gilstrap of Montgomery County, Tamworth, Hailey Orem of Clinton County; and Berkshire, Lilly Jackson of Hendricks County. The grand champion showman results were not available at press time.

In the top five for Berkshire showmanship was Cameron Zimmerman of Kosciusko County. This year is his sixth at the Indiana State Fair. With his top five showmanship, he was looking forward to competing again the next day.

Others who placed in the top five included (listed in the order of second through fifth): Jarrett Morris of Madison County, Morgan Taulman of Jasper County and Grace Klinkhamer of Tippecanoe County in Berkshire showmanship; Mason Miller of Huntington County, Holly Howard of Allen County, Morgan Gawthrop of Elkhart County and Dylan Duncan of Johnson County in Duroc showmanship; and Landon Tinsman of Randolph County, Klara Leach of Jefferson County, Ashlyn Killian of Clay County and Elizabeth Dollar of Jay County in Tamworth showmanship.

In Landrace showmanship, Alyssa Etter of Morgan County and Makenna Malcomb of Allen County were listed in the top five.

Adam Gillis of Delaware County, Chandler Lowes of Madison County, Isabelle Saylor of Hendricks County and Madalyn Friend of Randolph County made top five in Spot showmanship.

As the 4-H swine showmanship was in full swing, other fair activities were just beginning to open.

The Glass Barn, operated by Indiana Soybean Alliance, opened with some new amenities such as a fuel station and a retro arcade-style video game. Matt Keller, the marketing outreach manager for ISA is excited to see everyone's reactions to the improvements made around the building.

Many, like the Sunpter family from New Palestine, Ind., played the ISA's "Bean Go" game to win a hat and get out of the heat. Liza Sunpter and her two kids, Charlotte and Everett, play the ever-popular game that begins under the combine simulator that was installed last year.

In the FFA building, fair-goers can play a game of mini golf, pet farm animals, color a mural on the wall and go around learning about different aspects of farming.

Anthony Taylor, the FFA treasurer from Warsaw, says he looks forward to advocating for the involvement of those, like himself, who do not have an agricultural background. He hopes to see interest in a new area they have installed around agricultural careers, so that people can see that jobs go past working on the farm.

A few doors down toward 38 street, Christy Wolff, the Indiana Young Farmers Assn. secretary, sat preparing for the day ahead. She looks forward to continuing to interact with visitors and hopes to pique more interest in the organization.

Just before reaching the pioneer village, the historical Montgomery Barn sits filled with technological activities for kids to understand the full breadth of 4-H.

"People tend to think of 4-H as a place where you go with animals, crops and livestock," said Rachel Hasleby, the Purdue Extension 4-H computer science specialist. "We want to show that STEM and agriculture often goes hand in hand."

In the pioneer village is an animal pen, filled with young piglets, cows, llamas and other animals. Deana Glass of Indianapolis brings her children, Emily and Alex, to see the animals because she was in 4-H as a kid and she wants them to see what it's like.

"We try and come every year," she said.

The state fair is open July 29 to Aug. 21, with the exception of Mondays and Tuesdays when it is closed.

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