Purdue Extension at state fair:
Education, fun at same time

wheat with rain clouds overhead 

By Keith Robinson
July 24, 2013

Purdue Extension will provide exhibits and events at the Indiana State Fair that will offer fun learning, celebrate the work of women in agriculture and give a first look at how the Indiana corn and soybean crops are developing.

Visitors to the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis Aug. 2-18 will find educational exhibits and games for children and adults, learn about preparing healthy meals and participate in other activities geared toward the entire family.

"Purdue Extension activities are focused on things that matter to fair-goers in their daily lives. We provide relevant, expert information to help them make good decisions for their families' health and welfare," said Danica Kirkpatrick, engagement program manager for Purdue Agriculture. "And we do this in a fun way, incorporating education in the family-friendly surroundings of the state fair. It's a perfect match."

Four exhibits will be on display every day:

* The A-maize-ing Popcorn Adventure, a new exhibit where visitors can go through a maze and learn interesting information about popcorn, such as why popcorn pops, from Max; his dog, Munch; and Professor Popcorn. The exhibit, funded by the state fair and tied to the fair's 2013 theme of Year of Popcorn, will be at a site immediately east of the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand.

* To My Plate and Beyond , an interactive exhibit that explains the U.S Department of Agriculture's guide for healthy eating, returns to the DuPont Food Pavilion. In this exhibit, Max and his best pal, Munch, visit a grocery store, a home kitchen, pantry, dining room and two restaurants on a flying saucer. They learn about healthy eating and answer questions about MyPlate. The exhibit is sponsored by the American Dairy Association and Indiana's Dairy Farm Families.

* Spay/neuter surgery exhibit , providing 29 surgeries over 13 days for visitors to observe. The surgeries are needed to prepare Humane Society pets for adoption. The exhibit, in the same area as the popcorn exhibit, is a partnership between the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association. In addition to the surgeries, veterinarians and veterinary technicians will provide educational demonstrations to visitors about what is new in veterinary medicine and to show them how to care for their dog, cat or other animals. Also, veterinary students from the college will meet with the public daily on veterinary-related issues.

* What’s Bugging Belva?, an exhibit from past years, will be in the Exposition Hall. Presented like a children's book, visitors will follow Belva and Grandpa Belvedere as Belva learns why it's good to be a bug. The exhibit was funded by the Purdue Department of Entomology.

Visitors will learn even more about bugs with activities on specific days of the fair. On Aug. 9, entomologist Tom Turpin will show how to cook with bugs in a program titled "There's a Bug in My Soup!" in the DuPont Food Pavilion. Purdue entomology staff and students will share information about insects, showing them live and pinned, on "Bug Day" Aug. 17 in the Department of Natural Resources Building. On Aug. 12, the Purdue University Science Theatre Outreach Program will present "Let's Make a Meal," during which puppets will talk about entomology in three performances on the Main Street Stage near the Dairy Barn.

There will be other food, nutrition and cooking demonstrations at various times. In the DuPont Food Pavilion, "A Taste of Wild Game," about preparing fish and venison, will be held Aug. 8, 9, 15 and 16, and "Cooking for a Healthy Heart," "Eat Right for Less" and "Making the Most of Your Garden" will be presented Aug. 9. Purdue Extension staff also will give food and nutrition demonstrations throughout the fair in 4-H Centennial Hall.

Other Purdue Extension events during the fair include:

* Crop production report panel discussion at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 12 in the banquet hall of the Indiana Farm Bureau Building. Agricultural experts will analyze the U.S. Department of Agriculture's crop production report, the first yield and production forecasts for the 2013 U.S. and Indiana corn and soybean crops.

* Women in Agriculture awards Aug. 14 at 10:30 a.m. in the Normandy Barn. Two awards, to be presented to women who demonstrate leadership and innovation and make positive contributions to Indiana agriculture, will be given as part of the lieutenant governor's Celebration of Agriculture ceremony.

A highlight at the fair will be Purdue Day on Aug. 9. The colleges of agriculture, health and human sciences, and veterinary medicine are among those that will have booths and exhibits along State Fair Boulevard. Activities will include cricket-spitting, bean bag toss, discovering caffeine content in energy drinks, and a texting-and-driving simulator. Purdue staff will be on hand to answer questions about the colleges.

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