INDIANPOLIS — After seven years of celebrating Indiana homegrown products, the Indiana State Fair is celebrating the “Year of the Coliseum” during the fair’s 17-day run Aug. 1 – 17. The 18-month, $63 million Coliseum Complex renovation that wrapped up in April is the largest project in the fairgrounds’ 123-year history.
Much of the structure’s 75-year history was preserved by reinstalling 96 original seats; recreating the original terrazzo floor; and leaving original walls and steel support beams exposed. The renovation finished three months ahead of schedule and includes the adjoining Youth Arena, a 30,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose facility that opened last August.
The renovation did little to change the outside appearance of the Coliseum, but the inside has been completely transformed and now boasts several amenities that include a spacious lobby with elevators, more than 70 wall-mounted flat-screen TV monitors, double-tiered seating with great sight lines, an overhead LED video scoreboard, and new sound system.
The $63 million renovation makes the Coliseum complex the only modern, mid-sized multi-purpose facility in Central Indiana.
State Fair headline concerts are returning to the Coliseum for the first time in 30 years, and there’s a wide variety of shows to check out. The 2014 Shane Co. Coliseum Concert Series includes Phillip Phillips – Aug. 5 at 8 p.m.; $25 and $35; American Idol Live! 2014 Tour – Aug. 6 at 7:30 p.m.; $25, $39.50 and $59.50; Pitbull – Aug. 8 at 8 p.m.; $35, $45 and $75; Hunter Hayes – Aug. 9 at 8 p.m.; $35 and $45; Jim Gaffigan – Aug. 17 at 8 p.m.; $25, $35 and $45. Shane Co. Coliseum Concert Series tickets can be purchased at the Indiana State Fair Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.
In between the concerts, the Coliseum will be alive with a lot of livestock shows, Draft horse shows and other special events. Check out the Coliseum “Selfie Stations,” souvenirs, and a free Digital History Book that people can find at www.indianastatefair.com.
Another new feature of this year’s fair is the Indiana Beer and Wine Exhibition located in the Grand Hall on Main Street. The new exhibition, open only to adults 21 and older, will be open every day of the fair, Aug. 1 – 17, from 1 to 9 p.m. with a wide variety of Indiana wineries and Indiana craft brewers on hand to offer tastings and educate consumers on their products. It will also include an educational display from the Indiana State Museum’s American Spirits exhibit. This is the first time the State Fair has offered alcohol for sale since 1946 following a state law that was created to ban it due to a littering issue during the fair. The exhibition will offer Indiana beer and wine for sale by the glass as well as smaller tasting samples to allow visitors a chance to try a wide assortment of drinks. Each patron will be limited to a strict three drink maximum that will require a token in exchange for each 12 ounce beer or 5 ounce glass of wine. Tokens will be available for $5 each. In addition, all glasses of beer and wine sold must be consumed inside the Grand Hall; there will be no roaming the fairgrounds with alcohol.
The Indiana State Fair is open daily at 8 a.m. Exhibition halls and buildings are open from 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. General admission is $10 with kids under 5 free. Discount tickets are available online at www.indianastatefair.com and various retailers. Fairgrounds parking is $5 a vehicle on a first-come-first served basis. Park at Glendale Mall’s Rural St. lot and take the shuttle to the fair for free, or take the Fairtrain from Fishers for $12 (adults) or $8 (children) for a round trip journey. Visit www.itm/events/fairtrain for more information and schedule.
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