The last day of the Indiana State Fair is always bittersweet. Even though the State Fair added an extra day – and spanned 24 days (counting the Mondays and Tuesdays off) – I still didn’t get to see everything. 

I wasn’t able to take a whole weekday off of work and I was missing Dad and our Fair traditions. 

I didn’t get to the Fairgrounds until mid-afternoon – I cleverly invited my friend Schaun along, who just happens to have a truck. We were able to wind our way around to Pioneer Village to pick up the Kenmore Ironing Cabinet that I purchased in the Old Time Farm Auction benefiting the Village.  

Our timing was right to catch the last show on the Opry Stage for the 2021 State Fair. Kevin Strunk and Mark Procter (Proctor and Strunk) are always delightful. They play a deep catalog of music with a bluegrass bent. 

I weaved my way through the Pioneer Village campus to say goodbye to Dick Reel, Bill, Ben, Lee, the rug maker, and her daughter. As Ellsworth Christmas reminded me yesterday, he’ll see me in 11 months. 

I visited the FFA Marketplace and purchased another small Clay City bowl. I walked to the DNR outdoor stage for the Birds of Prey live show. It was really interesting and seeing the owls and falcons up close was a treat. 

I’d been avoiding the 4-H buildings because I always saved touring them until Dad and I were together. Today was the day….and the building closed early. It was fun to run into Kevin McKinney on the way in. I had only 15 minutes to buzz through. I got to see the electrical projects and some of the sewing. I’m sorry that I didn’t have time to go stand by the door that Dad always posed by – the one where he and his buddies used to sneak out of to drink beer in the Grandstand after hours. 

A stop at the Wine Garden was next. I had a blueberry Moscato slushie. It’s a nice slushie, I’m not sure how it would be in real life. 

One more visit to the Indiana Arts Building to look at the culinary entries and visit the Ugly Lamp one more time. I crossed paths with Kevin again and was able to show him the lamp in all of its weird glory. 

Schaun and I caught the end of the Daily Parade on the way back to his truck. He dropped me and my new old ironing cabinet on my porch. I dropped my other purchases on my sofa and jumped in the car and headed back to the Fair. 

I hadn’t seen the Lego display yet – it’s very impressive. Tammy and Laura were in there also and we decided to meet at the Wine Garden. I wanted to grab a bratwurst from the German spot by the Admin Building. The brats and sausages are made by a German butcher and grilled on a German Schwenk grill. The grill part hangs from a tripod by chains over the coals. 

The sandwich was delicious – great grilled bread, bratwurst, light sauerkraut, and brown mustard. 

Tammy and Laura and I talked about our favorite parts of the Fair and are looking forward to next year. 

My friend Jamie and I have a semi-regular tradition of attending the last evening of the Fair together with her daughter. Years ago we were watching her daughter and friends run around the Midway, now it’s about catching up and finding our favorite Fair foods. 

I walked out of the gate with an Elephant Ear in my purse and a tired smile in my heart. It was another great year. 

In the meantime, I’ll be catching up on sleep and scouring thrift stores for ugly lamps. 

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