• WBST 92.1 FMMuncie
  • WBSB 89.5 FMAnderson
  • WBSW 90.9 FMMarion
  • WBSH 91.1 FMHagerstown / New Castle
Indiana Public Radio, a listener-supported service of Ball State University

Indiana State Fair Adds New Alcohol Venue In 2019

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Arts and Culture, Entertainment, Government
The legislature legalized alcohol sales at the Indiana State Fair in 2014. (Indiana State Fair)
The legislature legalized alcohol sales at the Indiana State Fair in 2014. (Indiana State Fair)

The Indiana State Fair is adding a second alcohol venue, a Wine Garden that will feature local Hoosier wineries.

Alcohol at the fair has expanded almost every year since it became legal there five years ago.

The legislature left alcohol policy in the hands of the Indiana State Fair Commission when it lifted the ban in 2014. And the commission made a pledge: alcohol would be restricted to one closed-off area, an exhibition hall, that was only open to those 21 and older.

But then alcohol was expanded to concerts at the Coliseum, then the Free Stage. Those under 21 were allowed into the alcohol exhibition. And now there’s a second alcohol venue added. But Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) – who wrote the 2014 bill lifting the ban – says he’s not concerned.

“No incident has happened in the alcohol section of the Indiana State Fair since 2014,” Merritt says. “Since the beginning, they have been great stewards. It’s been a safe and clean environment.”

A new state law this year also lets patrons buy alcohol to carry out, though they can’t drink it on the grounds. Merritt says he’s confident the fair and Indiana State Police will monitor that.