The thrills, chills and food of the midway generate a lot of foot traffic at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair.
An estimated 100,000 visitors will flock to the fairgrounds during the nine-day, 60th annual event. And most of them spend at least some time on the fairgrounds midway, a kaleidoscope of dizzying rides, enticing food and loud noises.
Brandy Adams of Columbus and her children wore matching tie-dye shirts on the midway Monday evening for the $1 ride night. From the Tilt-a-Whirl to the Ferris wheel, Adams and her kids did it all.
When it came time to share a fair snack as a family, homemade ice cream was a family favorite.
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“We love coming out to look at the animals, ride the rides and eat junk food,” Adams said.
Take a walk down the Bartholomew County Fair midway and you’ll be greeted by traditional rides such as the Scrambler or the Grand Carousel. Parents and grandparents have their cellphone cameras out as youngsters experience their first go-around in a make-believe car or flying horse.
Fluorescent yellow and orange signs advertise everything from sweet iced tea to the Indiana-staple pork tenderloins, while the smell of corn dogs fills the air.
Within 10 minutes of arriving to the fair Monday, 18-year-old Victoria Swindall and Shatalina Miller had already won four stuffed animals from games throughout the midway. This was their first visit to the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair, having traveled from Jennings County — which has a smaller fair — to attend.
“There are a lot more rides, games and food booths. It’s definitely much bigger,” Miller said.
By the end of the night, the two teens had ridden every major ride and walked away with their arms full of stuffed animals.
And while the fairgrounds in Columbus may be new for some people, it’s a summer home for others, such as 16-year-old Regan Nichalson.
When July rolls around, Nichalson calls the livestock barn her second home. Despite having to spend a majority of her time in the barns with her farm animals, she always finds time to sneak away for a caramel apple and a night on the midway.
“I’ve only done it one year, but I really enjoy Midnight Madness,” Nichalson said. “It’s the night all my non-show friends come to. The friends I haven’t seen all summer are usually out there.”
Midnight Madness is scheduled 10 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday with $12 wristbands allowing visitors to ride as many rides as many times as they wish.
Nichalson said she never rides a lot of rides throughout the week, but she enjoys spending the time with her friends underneath the lights. Her favorite ride is the 50-foot Expo Wheel, which gives fairgoers a different perspective of the midway.
“It’s fun to see the fair from that point of view,” she said.
Carissa Meyer and her husband, Chris, of Columbus, brought their three children out for a night on the midway Monday.
From the Dragon Wagon miniature roller coaster to Wacky Shack fun house, the Meyers journeyed the length of the midway.
“We like to come see the animals and ride the rides,” Carissa Meyers said. “Our kids turned in 4-H projects in Mini 4-H and Clover Buds, so we come to see those, too.”
But it wouldn’t be a night at the fair for the Meyers without ordering dinner from the Bartholomew County Pork Producers booth. From pork burgers to pork chops, the Pork Producers, located off Bartholomew County Young Farmers Street near the Livestock Pavilion, serves something for everyone.
It’s nearly impossible to go hungry at the fair with booths set up at every corner selling lemon shake-ups, funnel cakes or corn on the cob.
But when it comes down to the end of the night for families like the Adamses, the fair isn’t only about food or rides — it’s about the time spent with friends and family.
Adams cherishes time spent with her children, no matter how many times her daughter begs to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl.
BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY FARM BUREAU INSURANCE DAY
10 a.m.: Lil’s Wrangler & 4-H Dairy Show Judging, Pavilion
12:30 p.m.: Lil’ Wrangler Beef /Starter Calf, Pavilion
1 p.m.: 4-H Beef, Pavilion
1 p.m.: Grand Champion Pictures, Community Building; David Boll Theatre
5 p.m.: Lil’ Hands on the Farm, 4-H Community Building, Family Arts and Commercial Buildings open
5 p.m.: Midway opens
6 p.m.: Children’s Baking Contest, Family Arts Building
6 p.m.: 4-H Best Dressed Rabbit Competition, Gathering Pavilion
6:30 p.m.: Horse & Pony Parent & Alumni Horse Show
7 p.m.: 4-H Rabbit Race, Gathering Pavilion
7 p.m.: Small Town Famous – Country and folk music performed by Mac Trotter and Ed Kriz, David Boll Theatre
7 p.m.: Mud Bog – presented by Rhino Linings of Columbus, Grandstand
7 p.m.: Happy Feet, line dancing, Farm Bureau Building
8 p.m.: Working Chute Contest, Pavilion
MORALES 4 COUNCIL DAY
9 a.m.: 4-H Rocket Demonstration, Grandstand
11 a.m.: 4-H Barbeque Contestt, David Boll Theatre
4 p.m.: 4-H Supreme Showmanship –– Horse and Pony, Goat, Rabbit, & Poultry. Begin at Horse and Pony Arena then will move to Livestock Pavilion
5 p.m.: Lil’ Hands on the Farm, 4-H Community Building, Family Arts, and Commercial Buildings open
5 p.m.: Midway Opens
6 p.m.: 4-H Parade of Champions, Livestock Pavilion
6:30 p.m.: Lil’ Wrangler Horse & Pony,Horse Arena
7 p.m.: Jonnie Fox – Acoustic folk music, David Boll Theatre
7 p.m.: 4-H Supreme Showmanship – Beef, Dairy, Sheep & Swine, Pavilion with the 4-H Livestock Awards
7 p.m.: Mount Liberty Way Band, Farm Bureau Building
7 p.m.: ATV/UTV Mud Bog – Grandstand
10 p.m.: Midnight Madness
Midway provided by Burton Brothers Amusements of Shirley, Indiana.
31 rides and attractions
6 Burton Brothers Amusements food vendors on the midway
Today: $15 wristbands from noon to 2 p.m.
Thursday: $18 wristbands from 5 p.m. to close
Friday: $12 wristbands from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Saturday: $23 wristbands from 5 p.m. to close
– Single ticket $1
– 20 tickets for $18
– 60 tickets for $50
Want to make the photos you take at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair photos extra cool?
The fair board is offering up a different Snapchat filter for each day of the fair.
Take a photo at the fair, then take a swipe on Snapchat, and you’ll find some fun fair filters. Don’t forget to enable location.