Turkey Run Hazelnut Gelato, next to the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand
Okay, the food at the fair is delicious. Free food at the fair? Priceless… literally.
• “I <3 Bacon” key chains
Hoosier Lottery, behind the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand
The Hoosier Lottery has been at the fair since day one, and they have all kinds of specials and free stuff. You can even enter a drawing to get a year’s supply of free bacon!
Indiana Interns, at the Subaru Main Street Stage
Need some cool neon green shades? Indiana Interns and other businesses have you covered.
• Pens, stickers, balloons, keychains, bags, paper fans, hand sanitizer, fliers, water bottles
All the business booths everywhere
You never need to buy another writing utensil again. Local businesses set up booths where you can spin the wheel and win free stuff.
• Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
Purdue Ag/Hort Building
In this contest, everyone gets a hot pink participation ribbon—even if you spit the seed negative inches.
• Hand-decorated Gourd Necklaces
Indiana Gourd Society, in the Purdue Ag/Hort Building
Sorry, but the labor isn’t free on this one. You have to color the gourd yourself.
• Soybean Hats
Indiana Soybean Alliance, at the Glass Barn
You actually have to work for these hats. Everyone can get one once they have completed a super hard (not really) scavenger hunt.
• Rain Gauges
Pathway to Water Quality
All you have to do to get this is spin a wheel and answer a trivia question.
• Construction Hats
Habitat for Humanity
These very small and flimsy construction hats probably won’t actually protect you. They just make your kids look like adorable mini “Bob the Builders.”
• Animal Petting
4-H competitions, in the Champions Pavilion, Swine Barn, West Pavilion, Northwest Pavilion, South Pavilion, Elements Financial Blue Ribbon Pavilion—basically anywhere you can find an animal
You don’t have to sign up for anything or enter any drawing. This 100 percent free and 100 percent adorable.
Megan Melton is a writer for BSU Journalism at the Fair, a group of 30 students telling Indiana’s stories from a trailer somewhere between the cheese sculpture and the biggest sow. This Ball State University immersive-learning project works for elephant ears.