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​​​​​​​​​​​Purdue Extension zombie exhibit has a vital message for fairgoers

Purdue Extension's Don't Be a Zombie - Be Prepared exhibit in the Agriculture/Horticulture Building at the Indiana State Fair consists of a walk-through maze and video game designed to simulate a zombie attack. The purpose is to teach fairgoers important lessons about emergency preparedness. (Purdue Agricultural Communication image/Tom Kronewitter)

By Darrin Pack
July 28, 2016

This year's Indiana State Fair will offer plenty of thrills, but it is unlikely fairgoers will experience anything quite like the ghoulish fun of the newest exhibit in the Purdue Extension Agriculture/Horticulture Building.

Called Don't Be a Zombie - Be Prepared, the exhibit consists of a walk-though maze and interactive video game designed to simulate a zombie apocalypse. The adventure ends at an underground storm shelter stocked with all the supplies necessary for survival in an emergency.

The goal is to help visitors learn about disaster preparedness, said Steve Cain, Extension disaster specialist and Indiana state contact for the national Extension Disaster Communication Network.

"It was originally the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention's thinking that if you are prepared for a zombie attack you're prepared for anything," Cain said. "Purdue Extension wanted to take that message to the Indiana State Fair so that we can help Hoosier families and individuals be more prepared for disasters of all kinds, including tornadoes and floods."

Other Extension events at this year's fair will entertain and educate visitors on a wide range of topics, saidDanica Kirkpatrick, engagement program manager for the Purdue University College of Agriculture.

"We'll have a host of different exhibits and demonstrations to attract fairgoers of all ages and interests," Kirkpatrick said.

The exhibits include The Edible Journey, which uses interactive presentations to show how our food goes from the farm to the grocery store, and H2Whoa, where visitors walk through a dome to learn how they can contribute to water conservation efforts. Be Heart Smart offers tips on managing the risks associated with heart disease.

Fairgoers can also stop by the Purdue Master Gardeners booth and Marion County Extension demonstration garden to learn more about lawn and garden care.

Extension educators will present several food preparation and nutrition programs, including twice-daily cooking demonstrations at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Aug. 7, 10, 12, 14 and 17.

Extension will hold its own scavenger hunt during the fair, with prizes awarded to the winners. The quest begins and ends at the information desk in the Ag/Hort Building.

Purdue Agriculture will also be represented elsewhere on the fairgrounds:

* In cooperation with the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association, Purdue's College of Veterinary Medicine will present animal surgery demonstrations and interactive displays in a tent on the north side of the fairgrounds. Young people in grades 6-12 can sign up for the Indiana State Fair Vet Camp, which offers basic instruction in a variety of animal health care procedures, including X-rays and suturing.

* The Purdue Dairy Club will host a calf petting area and present live cow milking demonstrations three times a day, Aug. 5-11, in the West Pavilion cattle barn.

* The annual Extension panel discussion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's August Crop Production Report will be at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 12 in the banquet hall of the Farm Bureau Building.

* Purdue's Women in Agriculture Awards will take place at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 17 in the Normandy Barn as part of the lieutenant governor's Celebration of Agriculture program.

The 2016 Indiana State Fair runs Aug. 5-21. The Purdue Extension Agriculture/Horticulture Building is on the west side of the fairgrounds near the midway.

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