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A look at Indiana State Fair food vendors, ride inspection process

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The excitement is bubbling over for the 2021 Indiana State Fair.

“We are so excited to welcome Hoosiers back to the great Indiana State Fair. It’s our 164th Indiana State Fair,” Sharon Smith, communications director for the Indiana State Fairgrounds, said Thursday.

It wouldn’t be the fair without the food, and this year, there are a few new items on the menu. Jeanne Bragg will be serving up fresh Bavarian cream puffs at her food truck, The German Corner.

“It’s a pastry shell,” Bragg said. “It’s got a pudding cream custard middle. And of course, we can top it with either powdered sugar or chocolate sauce.”

It’s a family friend’s recipe.

“Well, we’re going to feed everybody that comes up to that booth, so whether it’s one or 1 million, we’re gonna feed every single one of them,” Bragg said.

It’s also Derrick Slack and his wife’s first time serving at the fair. They own Black Leaf Vegan.

“We’re making history, because we are the very first in 165 years of the Indiana State Fair, we’re the first all-vegan food vendor,” Slack said.

They will prepare dishes like their vegan brats.

“Vegan food is food. Just like you can like more than one color, you can like more than one type of food. We just happen to be vegan. And vegan just means no animal products, no milk, no cheese, no dairy.” Slack said.

The BBQ Suga Momma is another new food option.

“That is a blend of our pulled BBQ turkey on a Jack’s doughnut, in between two big Jack’s doughnuts. You’ve got to have that meat and that doughnut. So, you’ve got that sweet and salty all together,” said Alfarena McGinty, the owner of the Gobble Gobble Food Truck.

This is Alfie’s 20th year at the state fair.

“It is great to be back. It is great to see our fans and our followers,” McGinty said.

Over at Triple T Concessions, Fabien Johnson said even though this is his third or fourth time coming to the state fair, this year is extra special.

“It is really good because when the economy shut down for a very long time, we’ve been in for so long. It’s just you have to pop out. To be outside, it’s a great feeling to be around people,” Johnson said.

After a snack, you may want to head to the midway to check out the rides, including the new double-decker carousel. All rides have been inspected by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

“We’re making sure that anything that buckles or clips or keeps the person inside locked where they’re supposed to be, while riding. We’re also making sure that the ride is installed to manufacturers’ instruction. We’re also looking at if it’s rotating, or anything like that, that it’s going to its minimum speeds, like the minimum RPMs. We’re also making sure that the data plate is there. We’re also making sure that the ride operators are knowing how to go through the start-up procedures and any sort of emergency shut down procedures,” said Matthew Cronley, the section chief of Amusement Ride Safety for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

The department’s job is to meticulously inspect the State Fair’s roughly 46 rides.

“We take our time with every single one of these rides to make sure they’re installed, they’re level. They’re shored up, they’re secure. We will not let a ride operate if we find a single violation, no matter how minor. All violations must be compliant before we allow the riding public to get on it. So, after our inspections are complete and we’ve cleared any violations, I can say with confidence that the riding public should be safe at the Indiana State Fair,” Cronley said.

The Indiana State Fair runs 18 days this year, starting Friday and running through Aug. 22. The fair will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

For more information on the Indiana State Fair, click here.

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