Unspoken Rules: Indiana State Fair

• Parking is a madhouse, even on weekdays. Take the shuttle from Glendale.

• Scrambler ride then lemon shake-up, not the other way around.

• If you’re there for the best flower bouquets or prize-winning pumpkins, go early. You don’t want to see many of the organic items 10 days in.

• There’s sanitizer outside the animal barns for a reason.

• Catch the antique-tractor parade and the falconry show.

• If your heart can handle only one indefensible treat, make it the deep-fried butter—a chewy ball of dough with a gooey cinnamon center.

• Check out the flower gardens by the DNR Building. They’re all native Indiana plants.

• Share the mist machines.

• Kids in the cow barn will try to scare you by dangling a fake spider on a string. Don’t fall for it.

• Underrated: the Free Stage’s retro entertainment value. Morris Day & The Time, August 8!

• Want to haggle on a hot tub? Wait ’til the last day. Vendors would rather not haul them off.

Fernandez began writing for Indianapolis Monthly in 1995 while studying journalism at Indiana University. One of her freelance assignments required her to join a women's full-tackle football team for a season. She joined the staff in 2005 to edit IM's ancillary publications, including Indianapolis Monthly Home. In 2011, she became a senior editor responsible for the Circle City section as well as coverage of shopping, homes, and design-related topics. Now the director of editorial operations, she lives in Garfield Park.