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INDIANAPOLIS — Amidst the chance of rain and storms in the immediate forecast the Marion County Fair has kicked off on the southeast side.

The gates opened Friday at 3 p.m. tickets are only $5 among the concerts, midway and 4H barns, fireworks headline opening night. 

So long as the weather holds…

“Well, hopefully the weather holds off this first day of the Marion County Fair… where people can kinda come out here and enjoy it,” Tyronne Caldwell said as he was setting up audio equipment with his band. “We already had three of four rain incidents since this morning – four o’clock, so hopefully we can make it through this evening.” 

Even the threat of rain could stop dozens of workers from setting up their booths and concession stands at the promise of hungry guests when the gates open. 

“Whatever’s going on. Wherever you’re at in life. Kinda leave it at the gates. Have a good time here at the fair with your family and friends,” Miss Marion County 2020 Kelsey Kendall said. “If you’re fully vaccinated then you don’t have to wear a mask but if you are not vaccinated, we ask that you wear a mask – and everything is posted on the gates as you come in. It’s very clear.”

The fair has implemented new safety measures to hopefully keep this years’ experience without incident like last years like restricting entry and exit to one gate and implementing metal detectors. 

“Some people are like; well why do you have metal detectors? Well, why do the Pacers and Colts have metal detectors? Why does the airport have metal detectors? That’s, unfortunately, that’s the world we live in,” Fair Director & Public Information Officer Abdul-Hakim Shabazz said. “On top of that anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent, period. Because We want everybody to come here, have a good time, but we are not babysitters. That’s not our job. That’s your job as a parent or guardian.”

Once you get through the gates – there is plenty to see and explore including alligators, emus and even some alpacas. 

“Yeah, you name it, we probably got it out here somewhere,” Shabazz said. “The most important thing is what we’ve done to make it a safe, good, family friendly environment for everybody.”

But remember, the fair only lasts for a week, the fun comes to an end after the Fourth of July. 

“Have fun, be safe,” Kendall said. “Enjoy it while it lasts cause it is gone, there and gone within the blink of an eye.”

For a full list of the events at this year’s Marion County Fair, visit their website