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Say no to John Barleycorn at state fair

Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011, at 12:53 PM

I don't want to deal with drunks at the state fair. It may become a reality if you don't help. The State Fair Board is for it. They say it will make money for the fair. So would the sale of cocaine and state secrets, but is it worth it?

Banned since 1852, the legislature is considering a bill to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages at the State Fair. I oppose it. Vehemently.

My first trip to the state fair was with my Dad and brother many years ago. We rode Harold McIntosh's school bus from Worthington. We turned left off 67 at High School Road went under the same underpass that is still there and journeyed past Weir Cook Airport to 38th Street and turned right. Most of the land between 67 and 38th street and the White River was still farms We had the time of our lives eating foot long dogs, visiting the animals and eating salt water taffy.

I have visited the fair nearly every year since then. There were a few years when I was in the Navy and we lived out of state which precluded our participation. BW and I are at the fair two or three days each year.

Visiting the fair is like visiting an old friend. It has evolved and much to the betterment of the fair experience but the basic elements remain the same and that makes the fair special. The dairy bar is in the same place where I drank all the milk I could hold in 1958 for just 10 cents. I asked for that deal last summer and was told the offer had expired. The first cup was 75 cents and each subsequent cup was 25 cents.

The Sutters Salt Water Taffy wagon is still there. The grandstand where we watched The Tijuana Brass is still there. The equipment field, DNR building, 4-H area and even a very small horseshoe pitching area remains. Of course the animal barns and the other exhibition halls still beckon me inside.

Now some misguided legislators and fair board members want to invite John Barleycorn to the fair each year. I say no. Rep. Cherry, the one who is sponsoring the bill, has been bought by the alcohol industry. Shameless. Under the guise of more money the board is supporting it. As a person who has had to supervise and manage people for many years I can testify that there are always those immature and irresponsible people who ruin events and activities for everyone else. They come drunk or get drunk after they arrive and become loud, abusive, fight, bring knives and guns to settle arguments and old scores. And on really hot, humid days they drink too much and vomit corn dogs and pizza flavored with John Barleycorn on the ground where we walk.

I don't know where you live but that ruins my day. Now I will have to step over the cow chips and the corn dogs and try to explain to my grandchildren why drunks are allowed at the fair.

I'm asking you to contact your representative and senator to urge them to "Just say no to alcohol at the fair."

Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State University. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

"They come drunk..." - not selling it won't stop the idiots. It never has, and never will.

The people that have the ability to show restraint should not give up their rights because of a few idiots. How is this fair for the local Indiana brewers and distillers not to sell their products?

-- Posted by per moenia urbis on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 2:31 PM

While I respect your opinion, Larry, I support the sale of alcohol at the State Fair. It is a celebration of the State of Indiana, as well as its agriculture. Grain farming is a large part of the economy here. Microbrewers and wineries are popping up everywhere in the state, creating many tourism possibilities. Frankly, Indiana's alcohol laws are stuck in the 1800's, as you point out youself. Most every state allows Sunday sales, for example.

-- Posted by The Raven on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 4:30 PM

The Raven: Thank you for putting my thoughts much more eloquently.

-- Posted by per moenia urbis on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 4:38 PM

I'm with you, Mr. Vandeventer. People may come to the fair already drunk, but that doesn't mean we have to accept it as a society. I don't think alcohol should be served any place children are allowed to be. It does not set a good example for our youth.

-- Posted by Sassy_Chic on Thu, Jan 20, 2011, at 8:11 AM

Cliffs notes:

I don't enjoy drunk people. I love the fair. Those taffy folks are persistent. Humidity, booze, and corn dogs don't mix.

-- Posted by GarthHudson on Thu, Jan 20, 2011, at 9:27 AM

Larry, your critics' hackles rose at the first mention of curtailing the sale of intoxicants. The old "I can handle my licker..." crowd, I think. There is nothing uglier or less agreeable than an intoxicated wretch making a fool of him/herself in a public place. After observing this behavior in the military for a few years I was turned off for life. Possibly we can't "legislate morality" but we can protect our families from this mess.

-- Posted by chiefpilot on Sat, Jan 22, 2011, at 8:36 PM

I agree that alcohol has no business at the state fair, resturants, drugstores, retail businesses such as walmart or k-mart. Alcohol kills many people on our roads and causes many family problems. I also feel the smoking bans should be reversed also as it is discrimination to ban smoking when you could not ban alcohol.

-- Posted by FranksPhotography on Sun, Jan 23, 2011, at 10:11 AM

I personally don't drink under most circumstances. I probably have three or four drinks a year, and it's usually because they are specialty brews and I want to try the flavors. More power to anyone else who wants to drink like it's their job, though.

-- Posted by per moenia urbis on Mon, Jan 24, 2011, at 3:40 PM

Give me a break! This is the year 2011. Our state needs to help advertise local industry and whether you all like it or not, beer and wines are produced and sold here in Indiana. The proposal is not a free for all. It would be in a closed area. Guess the teetotalers have never been to an Octoberfest. Don't recall hearing about guns and knives being drawn there? Maybe you want to ban deep fried elephant ears too?? They are more likely to cause bodily harm than a glass of wine.

-- Posted by truthorfiction on Tue, Jan 25, 2011, at 12:56 AM

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