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Indiana State Fair relies on recruiting to attract workers

Hiring Hoosiers
Posted: 6:00 AM, Jun 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-21 06:00:47-04

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Fair is just weeks away.

The now-empty grounds will be swarming with fair-goers riding rides, petting cows and horses, eating the most-savory fried foods, and taking in concerts.

It takes hundreds of workers to make the state's largest event happen. Management at the Indiana State Fair has been trying to fill more than 1,000 positions to cover the fair's 17-day run, from Aug. 2 through Aug. 18.

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"State fairs are a great way for folks to make some money," Sharon Smith, communications director for the Indiana State Fair, said.

Smith said management is looking for seasonal employees to work the gates, parking, and security.

The fair also needs people with a great attitude to work in the fair's education department. Those employees would cater to the thousands of students on school field trips attending the fair and educate them with hands-on lessons on farm to table processes.

At the State Fair job fair on June 10, more than 245 people showed up for on-site interviews. The attendance served as a promising start with enthusiastic candidates, but did not produce enough applicants to fill all open positions.

LEARN MORE | Jobs with the Indiana State Fair

Fair management said over the last several years, attendance numbers for these jobs fairs have dropped. Human resources managers say the job fair is just one vehicle to find potential employees. They also reach out to veterans groups and retirement communities, local high schools and college campuses to recruit workers.

State fair officials also use social media and invite applicants to stop by the fair's on-site employment office. They also seek people with motor homes traveling the country, allowing them to camp on the fairgrounds.

"It's actually a community of folks who look for opportunities like the Indianapolis 500 and large events that need volunteers and paid employees to pull off the event and state fairs are a great way for folks to make some money as they travel," Smith said.

Indiana's low unemployment rate has not hindered the fair's ability to fill the more than 1,000 openings. Management said the fair just offers a chance to cash in on some extra cash flow.

"In fact, we have several folks who come back and work for us during their vacation time from their regular jobs just to make some extra money and have a great experience," Smith said.

Many of the 700 remaining open positions offer overtime opportunities.

You can drop by the State Fairgrounds' Employment Office, located inside the Fall Creek Parkway entrance/Gate 6 at the Public Safety Building, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.