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Corydon man elected to state fair board

A Corydon man has been selected to serve a four-year term on the Indiana State Fair.
Todd Uhl was elected to his first term as the representative for District 5, which includes 21 counties: Harrison, Crawford, Floyd, Washington, Orange, Clark, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Perry, Pike, Posey, Scott, Spencer, Vanderburgh and Warrick.
‘I’m excited,’ Uhl said of his recent election. ‘I’ve been working toward that for eight years.’
There are seven districts in the state that elect a group of directors and there’s another group on the state fair that is appointed by the governor. Those representatives who are elected are selected by groups involved with the Extension offices, such as the 4-H Council, Homemakers, Cattleman’s Association, the county fair board and the county Extension board. A representative can serve two consecutive terms.
Uhl serves as president of the Harrison County Agriculture Society, which sponsors the annual county fair. He was recently re-elected to the position and said his state fair director position shouldn’t interfere because ‘so much of the work is done before the (county) fair starts.’
The Indiana State Fair, which runs for 17 days following the county fair, is sponsored each year by the Indiana Department of Agriculture. Uhl is the second known Harrison Countian to serve on the state fair board. The late David Blank served as a director from 1983 to 1999.
Uhl already knows that for 2012 he will be in charge of the Farm Bureau Building, the youth talent contest, 4-H Cat Show and baton twirling contest at the state fair in Indianapolis. The Farm Bureau Building is the site of daily entertainment during the fair’s run.
The dates for next year’s fair, with a theme of ‘The Year of the Dairy Cow,’ are Aug. 3 through 19.
‘I’m really excited about that,’ Uhl said of the theme. ‘I know they’ll do a good job.’
While other state fairs are seeing a decrease in livestock entries, Uhl said it’s a different story in the Hoosier state.
‘Indiana’s actually growing,’ he said. ‘There are so many shows on the livestock side. That’s a good problem.’
As a new director, Uhl is required to attend an orientation session that will educate him about ‘facts and figures’ of the Indiana State Fair. Close to one million people visit the state fair grounds during the 17-day period.
This year’s state fair ended in tragedy when the outdoor stage for country music group Sugarland collapsed as a severe thunderstorm moved through Marion County.
Uhl, who will serve on the safety committee for the state fair, said the decision has already been made to have ‘major concerts’ at the 2012 state fair indoors at Conseco Fieldhouse.
‘We’ll review all buildings and facilities’ on the state fairgrounds, he said. ‘We’ll be more proactive.
The grandstand area will still be used, despite the venue change for larger shows.
‘We’ll also be bringing back some (shows) at the grandstand that don’t require a stage,’ Uhl said.
Uhl sees his involvement with the state fair as a plus for the county fair.
‘It will open up doors and allow me to meet people who can help us at the county fair level with programs,’ he said.
As a state fair director, Uhl will attend two meetings a month (those meetings are usually on the same day) and is required to arrive in Indianapolis three to four days before the fair begins. Each director has the use of an on-site apartment at the fairgrounds.
‘One thing I find unique about the Indiana State Fair is even if you’re there at 10 or 11 at night, you feel safe,’ Uhl said. ‘My family always has enjoyed the state fair so much. That’s the Super Bowl. The best county exhibits are on display.’
Uhl said he looks forward to seeing local people visit the 2012 state fair.
‘I’d love to see Harrison County families at the fair,’ he said, adding that he’ll be more than happy to show them around.
‘It’s a wholesome fair,’ he said. ‘It’s fun for people to go to.’