Artisans in the DuPont Building at the Indiana State Fair

By Mary Nicholson

An artisan is defined as someone that produces something, such as wine or cheese, in limited amounts, often using traditional, as opposed to factory, methods.  As I sit here thinking about that, I guess that would have made my Mom a needlework or yarn artisan, as she was a knitter extraordinaire!  She was pretty fast and furious with those needles, and she had quite a variety of shapes and sizes.  And remember those crocheted vests from the 60’s?  You can bet the ones my sister and I wore weren’t factory made!  At least that skill I was able to learn from Mom.  Even though my projects are rather limited in scope, I can turn out a pretty awesome granny square!

But what we’re really talking about here are the artisans who are at the Indiana State Fair this year in the DuPont Food Pavilion.  Formerly known as the Pioneer Our Land Pavilion, the large building at the end of Main Street is packed with native Indiana foods.  There are also Indiana artisans showing their skills with cooking demonstrations every day. Sampling of various Indiana products is ongoing, and a marketplace for fairgoers who want to take their favorite Indiana food home is in the center of the building.  It’s quite a change from the Pioneer Our Land Pavilion of the past – no more cockroach races or spay/neutering demos!  It’s all about Indiana foods!

Purdue University is still in the building.  This year they are helping you learn how to make healthy food choices.  The large, interactive MyPlate exhibit is fun and educational for kids of all ages.

And you can’t talk about artisans in our office without mentioning  the “Cheese Lady” Sarah Kaufmann!  For the past several years, we have sponsored Sarah and her artistry to showcase dairy, particularly cheese, at the Indiana State Fair.  Sarah starts the planning of our sculptures months before any carving begins.  We’ve had a sneak peak at this year’s carving which, of course, celebrates the Year of Dairy Cows at the fair.  Sarah then carves large blocks of various Indiana cheeses in a refrigerated case, where she talks to viewers about cheese and her carving techniques.  It’s quite a site to see – don’t miss out!

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