Local representation at the 2019 Indiana State Fair

Purdue Extension, Purdue Entomology and a Lafayette farmer are all having an impact on this year's state fair.

Posted: Aug 9, 2019 5:34 PM
Updated: Aug 9, 2019 5:35 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI) - Tippecanoe County is represented in several ways at the 2019 Indiana State Fair. Many people go to the fair to eat the great food and have fun on the rides. Purdue Extension has an educational exhibit at the Agriculture/Horticulture building for the entirety of the fair. 

They have interactive games and hands on activities for kids. You can learn about health, agriculture and the Indiana environment.
Christopher Fogle is with Purdue extension in Decatur County. He said since Purdue is a land-grant university, they are federally required to show that they are involved in the community. The fair is one of the best ways they meet that requirement.

"It's our biggest thing to really support communities and show them that it is fun to have those rides and those aspects, but it's also fun for them to come in and see the different opportunities they could learn in their communities," he said. Purdue Extension is located in all 92 of Indiana's counties.

On Friday only, Purdue Entomology had its bug day exhibit showing off what they called the other Heartland Heros. On display, they had beetles, centipedes and caterpillars that will one day turn into moths.

Dr. Gwen Pearson said the U.S. saves billions of dollars on crop pesticides because of spiders who eat those bugs. She said she enjoys educating people about all the good bugs do for us and explained some of the different ways they impact Indiana's environment.

"Pollinators that help us with our food. Predators that help us get rid of mosquitoes and other bugs that we don't like or bugs that might eat our crops, and the recyclers that basically take everything that falls on the ground-- cart it off, eat it and turn it into nice new soil," she said.

A Lafayette farmer also saw success at this year's fair. Patrick O'Neil won champion and reserve champion for his two sows and litters. His pig families were two of four entered into competition, and they took first and second place.

He said timing is very crucial to make sure the babies are born in time for the fair. He starts planning for the fair in September and enters pigs into competition every year. He said he has many fond memories made at the fairgrounds.

"I've been coming to the fair since 1960 as a kid. And I can't just get that out of my system. And so we still exhibit here every year," he said.

He started farming in Tippecanoe County in the 1970's. His wife has also entered sewing and cooking items into competition at the fair in previous years. Now, his grandchildren are getting involved with 4H.

The moms and baby pigs attracted lots of fairgoers. O'Neil said he enjoys interacting with people from all corners of the state, who are curious about his pigs.

"I really enjoy interacting with people and answering their questions," he said. 

The state fair ends on Sunday, August 18th. Click here to see the schedule for the remaining days.

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