The Indiana State Fair is officially here. It’s finally the time of year when thousands of people make their journey to explore the fairgrounds, try lots of good food and check out all the sights and smells.

The first time I went to the state fair was to watch my childhood friend show sheep. I was overwhelmed — in a good way — by the crowds of people and the vast number of animals compared to the county fairs to which I was accustomed.

There were so many new faces and new people. I could quickly observe the sense of camaraderie and friendship, even though everyone was competing.

I’ve been to the fair just about every summer since then. The state fair offers something unique and exciting for just about everyone, and every year I manage to discover something new.

The fair has taken great lengths to make the trip an educational, fun and enjoyable one. Whether it’s renovating the coliseum and horse barns or adding to the long list of entertainment, the staff has gone above and beyond to make the fair the best of its kind.

This year, there are five things on my state fair to-do list, so I thought I’d share them on this blog:

* Hit up the concerts on the Marsh Free Stage. I’m especially excited for Danielle Bradbury, the winner of The Voice this year. She’ll be performing at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 10, followed by Lauren Alaina and Jon Pardi. Check out the state fair website for a complete lineup;

* Go to the Glass Barn and learn about farm families in Indiana. I’ve been waiting for this all summer. It’s the newest of the educational buildings at the state fair, and it’s sure to be one you and your family will want to visit every summer. Play video games, get your picture taken and follow the story of three Indiana farm families;

* Watch professional ice skaters perform in the middle of summer. The Rosstyn Ice Shows will take place in a 40-by-40 ice rink at the Dow AgroSciences Celebration Park. The shows will be exciting and entertaining for people of all ages;

* See the giant popcorn ball in the Ball State Ag & Hort building. It was made with the help of 4-H members and volunteers and is quite the sight to see. Ask how much corn it took to make the ball and learn about the popcorn industry in Indiana; and

* Find a baby T-Rex walking around the fair. That’s right, through Aug. 11, there will be a life-size dinosaur puppet roaming the fairgrounds. At 8 feet tall and 12 feet long, you’re sure to spot it while visiting the fair.

There’s plenty more to see and do this year. Get the app for this year’s event to have all the information you need for a complete fair experience, and share your fair photos and stories with me, @AgNews_Sullivan, on Twitter.