INDIANAPOLIS - In 2012, all of the big concerts for the Indiana State Fair were moved to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but fair attendees didn't seem to approve, so this year, all of the concerts have been moved back to the free stage at the fairgrounds.
"Even though those were great shows, it just didn't work out the way we wanted it to. People didn't take advantage of the transportation we provided from here to downtown and back. And even though it's only about 10 or 12 minutes away, they want to be here at the fair and we understand that," fair spokesman Andy Klotz said.
Officials were expecting 800,000 to 900,000 people to attend this year's fair.
The Year of Popcorn was starting out cool for a change as performers rehearsed, workers set up rides and vendors prepared to feed thousands.
"It is fabulous. The weather has been a blessing for all the vendors setting up in these kind of conditions. This fair is always spectacular so the great weather on top of it is just icing on the cake,” vendor Vickie King said.
Vendors near the Marsh Free Stage were glad to have all the entertainment back at the fairgrounds and hoped that bigger crowds would translate to better sales.
"Styx, Joe Nichols, CoCo Jones, Matt Nathanson, Blood, Sweat & Tears, on and on. We have 17 full days of concerts that span all genres of music. And we think fans are really going to love it," Klotz said.
Next year when the Pepsi Coliseum is complete, about 6,000 to 8,000 people will be able to fit inside for concerts.
This year, fair organizers believe they can fit about 5,000 people in the space.
Klotz said they were unable to accommodate huge crowds last year for fans who turned out to see bands like REO Speedwagon.
All of the concerts are free this year with paid admission to the fair.
Regular admission is $10, but there are discounts offered for reduced admission almost every day of the fair.
15 special discounts will be offered this year.
For example, on Foodie Friday, all food vendors will offer at least one item at half price on Friday Aug. 16. $2 Tuesday will also be back so fair patrons can sample smaller portions for only $2.
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