Two Indiana colleges have unveiled plans for next month's Indiana State Fair. Ball State University will send a group to the event to gather stories for a student-run news organization. Purdue Extension will host multiple exhibits and events, including a session on the 2014 Farm Bill.

July 28, 2014

News Release

Muncie, Ind. — For the first 17 days in August, Ball State University students will be at the Indiana State Fair to find the stories behind the state's biggest sow, deep-fried Twinkies and the giant tomato contest.

BSU at the State Fair will include the university's best feature writers, photographers, videographers, graphic designers and public relations students as part of the student-managed news organization. The immersive learning experience will provide content to various Indiana media outlets during the games. Students also will be reporting almost around the clock on every aspect of fair life and disseminating their work via social media and the Web.

Calling the state fair a feature writer's dream, Colleen Steffen, a Ball State journalism instructor, will lead the group.

“The fair is our Hoosier junk drawer, the place we put people who love to quilt, a meticulous re-creation of an old-timey drug store and fifth-graders who know how to make electrical extension cords from scratch,” she said “It's funny, a little weird, a compelling cross-section of humanity and, most importantly, a litmus test. It tells us who we are and how we've changed and how we haven't.”

BSU at the State Fair builds upon BSU at the Games, the news-gathering project that sent student reporters to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia last winter.

The team placed more than 200 photos, graphics, videos and stories with the national media during the Winter Olympics and was featured by CNN, CBS and NBC. BSU at the Games made its debut in 2012 at the Summer Olympics in London. More than 250 student-produced stories, news graphics, photos, and videos were featured in major news outlets such as the Huffington Post, USA Today and Chicago Tribune.

Steffen, who served as a copy editor during both the Moscow and London games, believes there are plenty of stories to be uncovered during the state fair in Indianapolis.

“I've led two groups of young writers through the exhilarating, crazy-making, unforgettable experience of gallivanting off to a foreign country without invitation or credential and having the audacity to act like a real-live professional journalist,” she said. “But I don't think a collection of world-class athletes, a spark of ancient flame from Athens or even Vladimir Putin are required to replicate this experience more often than every two to four years. Why not look in our own backyard?”

Source: Ball State University

July 28, 2014

News Release

West Lafayette, Ind. — Purdue Extension returns to the Indiana State Fair this week showcasing activities that are both educational and fun for the family and people of all ages.

The fair at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis runs Aug. 1-17. Purdue Day, which includes participation from Purdue Extension, is Aug. 8.

Three Purdue Extension exhibits will be featured in the DuPont Food Pavilion during the run of the fair, including Bone Zone Carnival of Healthy Choices, in which children and adults can learn how diet and exercise keep bones healthy. Extension's most popular exhibit has traveled to museums in five states.

“The exhibit premiered at the Indiana State Fair in 2008, and we're bringing it back for an encore this year,” said Jeffrey Rollins, coordinator of exhibits.

“All of our exhibits are hands-on and very interactive, but the Bone Zone gets visitors' feet busy, too.”

The other exhibits are The Edible Journey: The Incredible Story of How Your Food Gets to You, which outlines the paths that food takes as it travels from the farm to the fork, and Indiana Farm to School, about Indiana's network to help ensure the health of children, farms, the environment, the economy and communities.

There will be Purdue Extension food and nutrition demonstrations every day, including on “kid-friendly” snacks, fish as “brain food,” freezing produce so it can be enjoyed year-round, cooking with wild game, and enjoying food from gardens. Demonstrations will be in the DuPont Food Pavilion, 4-H Centennial Hall, and the Home and Family Arts Building.

Special events include:

* “What Does the 2014 Farm Bill Mean for Your Farm?” at 10 a.m. Aug. 12 in the banquet hall of the Indiana Farm Bureau Building. Purdue agricultural economists and officials from the Indiana Farm Service Agency will provide information to help farmers better understand parts of the new farm program that will require decisions on their part in late 2014 or early 2015 and what information they will need to gather to make informed decisions.

* Crop production report panel discussion, at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 12, also in the Farm Bureau Building banquet hall. Agricultural experts will analyze the U.S. Department of Agriculture's August crop production report that will be released that day. The report provides the first yield and production forecasts for the 2014 U.S. and Indiana crops.

* Women in Agriculture Awards, at 5 p.m. Aug. 13 in the Normandy Barn. Two awards will be presented to women who demonstrate leadership and innovation and make positive contributions to Indiana agriculture. The awards are part of the lieutenant governor's Celebration of Agriculture event.

* Live veterinary surgery at a site along Farmers Boulevard on the north side of the fairgrounds. The demonstrations will be offered daily at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. except on Aug. 7, 12 and 14. Organized through collaboration with the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association, the animals are shelter pets that need the surgeries in order to be adopted into new homes.

Observance of the 13th annual Purdue Day will include booths and exhibits from the colleges of agriculture, health and human sciences, and veterinary medicine along State Fair Boulevard.

Source: Purdue University

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