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IN State Fair deals with lack of coliseum space

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana State Fair officials are preparing for the 2013 Fair without the use of the historic Fairgrounds Coliseum.  The arena is undergoing major renovations, but organizers say the fair won’t miss a beat.

Wholesale renovation began last October and is expected to finish next summer.  State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye says that means, for this year’s fair, the arena won’t be available to host the annual livestock shows.

However, she says the Coliseum won’t go totally unused.

“This iconic renovation of a historic structure – people are really interested in it and so we’ve worked really hard to stop construction during the fair so that people could walk in and see it as it is progressing along.”

Fair Chief Operating Officer David Shaw says losing full use of the Coliseum presents challenges that he hopes to turn into opportunities.

“The Coliseum closing and being renovated offers us the opportunity to showcase a new arena in place of the Coliseum for this year called the Youth Arena, in which we are utilizing for all of our livestock events.”

Hoye says of the many livestock events that occur each year at the fair, only one will be affected by the temporary move to the Youth Arena: the draft horse show, which she says will only be available for the public to view via video screens, instead of in-person.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.