Jeff Gordon Day in Pittsboro, Indiana, July 23, 2015

July 21, 2015 Leave a comment
Jeff Gordon at the 2014 Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon at the 2014 Brickyard 400. staff photo, (c) 2014, all rights reserved.

By Josh Duke
Visit Hendricks County

A chance to win a Meet & Greet with Jeff Gordon, new live entertainment, children’s activities and expanded vendor booths have been added to the Jeff Gordon Day lineup on Thursday, July 23, 2015, in Pittsboro, Indiana. The event will include ongoing activites at Scamahorn Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fans can register for an exclusive Meet & Greet with the legendary NASCAR driver beginning at 9 a.m. at the Visit Hendricks County booth in the park. Registration for that giveaway will only last until 11:30 a.m., and only10 lucky fans will win.

At 10 a.m., the majority of the festivities start in the park including the band Fonda performing on stage, children’s activities from Stalhut amusements including bounce houses, bungee trampoline and more, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Street Team activities, show cars, a merchandise trailer and food vendors open.

The parade featuring Gordon will begin to roll down Main Street promptly at noon. An awards ceremony for Gordon on stage in the park will follow at 12:45 p.m. Activities will then continue in the park until 3 p.m.

What: Jeff Gordon Day

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Scamahorn Park in Pittsboro


9-11:30 a.m. – Sign up for Meet & Greet at Visit Hendricks County Booth in Scamahorn Park.
10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. – Vendor booths open, Fonda performs on the Main Stage.
Noon – Jeff Gordon Day Parade.
12:45 p.m. – Awards Ceremony in Scamahorn Park

17th Annual Indy Jazz Fest, Sept. 10-19, 2015

July 18, 2015 Leave a comment
Indy Jazz Fest, Sept. 10-19, 2015

Indy Jazz Fest, Sept. 10-19, 2015. Image provided by the event organizers and used with written permission

By Jessica Redden
On behalf of Indy Jazz Fest

Indy Jazz Fest returns in 2015 with a 10-day lineup celebrating “The Year of the Song” in venues All Around Town September 10-19. The celebration of the Indianapolis jazz and arts scene will feature an impressive lineup, including three world-class performances as part of The Indy Jazz Fest Signature Series presented at the historic Madame Walker Theatre Center located on the legendary Indiana Avenue, the epicenter of Indianapolis’ rich jazz legacy.

Tickets for the Indy Jazz Fest Signature Series performances are on sale now at Enjoy a limited time preferred seating offer for Signature Series shows now through Thursday, June 18, including no ticket fees, early entry, lounge access, and the best seats in the house. Additional 2015 Indy Jazz Fest headliners will be announced in coming weeks. Signature Series pricing and show times are as follows:

Signature Series Lineup
Free parking will be available in the Madame Walker Theatre Center lots directly north and west of the theatre (adjacent to the IUPUI campus)
All shows priced at $60 preferred / $45 main level / $25 student
Doors open at 7 p.m. /
 6:30 p.m. for preferred

  • Friday, September 12 – 8 p.m. 
    Take 6
    Take 6 is the most awarded vocal group in history with 10 Grammy Awards, 10 Dove Awards, a Soul Train Award, and 7 Downbeat Awards. Heralded by Quincy Jones as the “baddest vocal cats on the planet!’, Take 6 is the quintessential a cappella group and model for vocal genius. Six virtuosic voices united in crystal clear harmony, against a backdrop of syncopated rhythms, innovative arrangements, and funky grooves that bubble into an intoxicating brew of gospel, jazz, R&B and pop.
  • Tuesday, September 15 – 8 p.m. 
    Dianne Reeves presented by REI Real Estate
    featuring Peter Martin, Romero Lubambo, Reginald Veal and Terreon Gully
    Winner of the 2015 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, “Beautiful Life” showcases Dianne’s sublime gifts in what is a melding of R&B, Latin and pop elements within the framework of 21st Century jazz.
  • Friday, September 18 – 8 p.m. 
    Jonathan Butler presented by Eskenazi Health
    South African expatriate Jonathan Butler’s laid-back, jazz-fusion tinged approach to R&B & groove has earned the singer / guitarist / songwriter / producer a lot of supporters in the contemporary jazz world. Butler has toured the world with such acclaimed artists as Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz and Ruby Turner.

Multiple Venues
Each day of the festival, visitors are welcomed into a new space where the interaction with music and fellow community members is exciting. Since 2009, the multiple venue approach continues to bring together the diversity of jazz styles with the history and culture embedded in some of the city’s most renowned performance locations. Throughout the 10 days, internationally renowned jazz artists will share the stage with the best in regional and local performers.  As the lineup continues to unfold, this year’s Fest will create a dynamic collage that offers something for everyone.

This year’s festival will also feature the return of the popular Pub Creep and the finale Block Party event.

Year-Round Reach
The importance of exposing people to jazz through performance and education is the top priority of Indy Jazz Fest and Indianapolis Jazz Foundation. The organization continues to develop a variety of educational programs and presentations founded on the belief that exposure, inspiration, and experiences are driving forces behind initiating involvement in jazz.

Sponsorship Information   
Indy Jazz Fest continues to be an example of community success through the dedication and support of its generous sponsors Eskenazi Health, Ameriprise Financial, Apparatus, REI Real Estate, Citizens Energy Group, The Law Firm of Foley & Abott, Scofield Edit, Brewers of Indiana Guild, The National Bank of Indianapolis, IU Health, Faegre Baker Daniels, Hampton Inn Indianapolis Downtown, IBM, North Coast Brewing, Printing Partners, DCG, Bohlsen Group, MacExperience, Coca Cola, Yinger Design, Mark Sheldon Photography and Yats.

Indy Jazz Fest is also made possible in part by the Lilly Endowment; Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation; The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate; The Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts; Arts Council and the City of Indianapolis; Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, in honor of the children and families of Christel House; The Nicholas H. Noyes Jr. Memorial Foundation and The Penrod Society.

Arts and community partnerships include The Jazz Kitchen, Chatterbox Jazz Club, Madame Walker Theatre, Indiana Landmarks Center, IndyGo, Indianapolis Central Library, American Pianists Association, University of Indianapolis, WICR 88.7, Jazz City Internet Radio, WFYI, Speedway Chamber of Commerce and Redevelopment Commission, Dallara Indycar Factory, Lino’s Coffee, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, The Cabaret at the Columbia Club, Butler University School of Music Jazz Studies Department, Rhythm! Discovery Center and the Percussive Arts Society plus the Pub Creep breweries.

A variety of support levels and special advantages have been designed to make sponsorship experiences both enjoyable and rewarding. Those interested in learning more about sponsoring the 2015 Indy Jazz Fest can contact us at (317) 966-7854 or

The complete Indy Jazz Fest schedule is posted on at:

About Indy Jazz Fest
The mission of Indianapolis Jazz Foundation and Indy Jazz Fest is to preserve the legacy and promote the future of jazz in Indianapolis through education and performance. A celebration of community and culture that showcases jazz music in a variety of great venues across the city, Indy Jazz Fest has become a cultural icon since its start in 1999. With an increased emphasis on jazz education, Indy Jazz Fest has expanded from just one day to an entire experience, ultimately benefiting the Indianapolis arts community throughout the year by creating meaningful links between jazz education and the city’s jazz performance scene.  Indy Jazz Fest is the preeminent performance event of Indianapolis Jazz Foundation and will ultimately reach upwards of 34,000 people through a combination of performances, workshops, school concerts, master classes, and community partnerships, as an integral cog in the Indianapolis arts scene. The 2015 Indy Jazz Fest will take place September 10-19, 2015.  For more information, visit

Bacon and Beer Classic at Victory Field, July 11, 2015

June 30, 2015 Leave a comment
Bacon and Beer Classic at Victory Field

Bacon and Beer Classic at Victory Field. Image provided by the event organizers and used with written permission.

By Sam Schaible
On behalf of the Bacon and Beer Classic

Bacon and beer — what combination could be better? Taste all the deliciousness for yourself at the Bacon and Beer Classic. Held on Saturday, July 11, 2015 at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, this event brings together over 75 of the best local breweries and restaurants for an unforgettable mix of food and fun.

Cannonball Productions brings the Bacon and Beer Classic ( to Victory Field, for an all-you-can-eat-and-drink tasting experience.

Guests can choose to attend the Brunch session (1 to 4 p.m), or the Dinner session (7 to 10 p.m.). VIP guests will have 1-hour early admission (12p.m. and 6p.m. respectively), entrance to the VIP area on the warning track and dugouts, samples of exclusive craft beer on the field, and more.

In between all-inclusive craft beer samples from local breweries and bacon-inspired tastes from local restaurants, guests can dance to music and bring out their inner kid by playing interactive games (think inflatable bungee run and cornhole).

Hosted in major and minor league baseball stadiums on non-game day Saturdays across America, the Bacon and Beer Classic national tour visited New York City, Seattle and the Bay Area earlier this year and has grown exponentially to include more than 10 destinations nationwide in 2015.

“Indianapolis is a hot spot for craft beer and is the unofficial ‘pork state’, so we’re very excited to tap into the market with the first Midwest Bacon and Beer Classic!” says Kate Levenstien, founder of Cannonball Productions and Bacon and Beer Classic.

The all-star line up of breweries and restaurants participating grows each day. Over 50 local brewers including Bier Brewery, Fountain Square Brewing Co., People’s Brewing and Quaff On Brewing are all signed up to serve at least two of their most coveted craft selections.

Chefs from 30 expected restaurants are challenged to bring their most inventive and delicious bacon-inspired dishes to the plate. Local restaurants including Shoefly Public House, The Exchange Pub + Kitchen, Fermenti Artisan, The Pint Room and The District Tap will be dishing out their best bacon-themed dishes. The combination of refreshing craft beer and delectable bacon is sure to please all palettes!

The Bacon and Beer Classic also brings in an all-star lineup at each event to judge all the sips and tastes, and award winners in select categories. This year’s judges include Indianapolis Star food and beverage reporters Liz Biro and Amy Haneline; founder of the blog and website Eat.Drink.Indy, Jolene Ketzenberger; and Certified Cicerone Bob Mack; Jennifer Rubenstein, editor, and Rachel Russell, writer, at Edible Indy, among others.

The Bacon and Beer Classic is always an all-inclusive event! General Admission tickets are $49. Fans may choose to purchase the VIP Experience ticket for $89. All tickets include a souvenir Bacon and Beer Classic branded glass to take home.

Designated driver tickets are available at a cost of $29 for unlimited bacon. Indy’s Bacon and Beer Classic welcomes families and children with unlimited bacon tickets for kids 5-20 for $19.

Cannonball Productions partners with neighborhood vendors and organizations to give the event that local hometown feel. This year they have partnered with the Indianapolis chapter of the American Cancer Society.

For up-to-date information on the event, please visit:

Direct link to tickets:…


Twitter: @bandbclassic

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Hashtag: ‪#‎bandbclassic‬

A Great Day at the Indianapolis Zoo

June 27, 2015 Leave a comment
Indianapolis Zoo.

Indianapolis Zoo in White River State Park. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

By Bob Burchfield, Editor, LLC

It’s easy to dream about taking a trip to the beach or the mountains or some special place that’s captured in your imagination, but we often overlook the obvious gems right under our noses.

You don’t have to travel all over the country or the world to have a good time. Indianapolis is living proof of that. And one of those gems is the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens.

In the course of covering Indianapolis events, I drive by the zoo almost every week. But I haven’t been inside the zoo in nearly five years. I discovered this week that a LOT has changed since the last time I visited.

With its entertainment and rides, dining options, special exhibits, and all those animals, the Indianapolis Zoo is among the best attractions in Indiana. The Oceans, Forests, Deserts, Plains, and Flights of Fancy areas—in addition to White River Gardens—offer visitors a wide variety of viewing and interactive activities and a full day of fun.

Bath Time at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Bath Time at the Indianapolis Zoo. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

My personal favorites during this visit were the elephants in the Plains area. I found two active youngsters in the pond just swimming and splashing and having a good time and putting on a real show for the spectators (see photo above). Simple enjoyment at its best! I also enjoyed getting up close and personal with the giraffes (as the photo below reveals!).

Up close and personal with the giraffes at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Up close and personal with the giraffes at the Indianapolis Zoo. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

That’s not to overlook or overshadow the other activities at the zoo. Each day from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the zoo offers a regular summer schedule with special chats at designated hours of the day, such as Tiger, Cheetah, Parrot, Baboon, Python, and Meerkat Chats, plus the Dolphin Presentations three times a day in the Dolphin Pavilion and the All-Star Dog Challenge four times a day most days of the week.

Butterflies Exhibit at White River Gardens.

Butterflies Exhibit at White River Gardens. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

Two notable temporary exhibits—the Butterflies exhibit at the Hilbert Conservatory (see photo above) and the Koalas exhibit in the Forests area (see photo below)—both end on Sept. 7, 2015.

Koala action (?) at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Koala action (?) at the Indianapolis Zoo. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

But the biggest noticeable change since my last visit is the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center in the Deserts area, an imposing structure with a cathedral-style architecture. The entrance almost made me feel like I was entering a church! And you can get up within inches of the orangutans (as well as many of the other animals, on the other side of the glass, of course). Fascinating creatures!

Hire wire act at the Indianapolis Zoo Orangutan Center.

High wire act at the Indianapolis Zoo Orangutan Center. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

As my photos reveal, many of the animals are as curious about you as you are of them. It makes for an interesting and visually-appealing experience, and is certainly a photographer’s delight! I had a bear-y good time [grin]:

A bear-y good time at the Indianapolis Zoo.

A bear-y good time at the Indianapolis Zoo. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

On a side note, I was wheeling my camera equipment around in a sizable cart, and so I’m happy to report that the grounds are fully wheelchair- and handicap-accessible.

There’s so much more than I’ve covered here in a short blog post. When you throw in special events like Zoobilation, Zoolapalooza, Animals and All That Jazz, ZooBoo, Christmas at the Zoo, and all the other special events each year, the zoo is definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been lately!

Flamingo Exhibit in the Flights of Fancy area at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Flamingo Exhibit in the Flights of Fancy area at the Indianapolis Zoo. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

The Indianapolis Zoo is located in White River State Park at 1200 West Washington Street, just on the west side of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, and is open daily beginning at 9 am.

For more information, visit, or call 317-630-2001.

DISCLOSURE NOTICE: The Indianapolis Zoo provided a free media pass and tour guide for this visit. Thank you for the hospitality! Please note that these photos were taken from the general visitor areas that any zoo visitor can access.

Kombo Coaster in the Deserts Area at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Kombo Coaster in the Deserts Area at the Indianapolis Zoo. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

Riding the Zoo Train in the Plains Area at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Riding the Zoo Train in the Plains Area at the Indianapolis Zoo. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

3rd Annual Curiosity Fair at Conner Prairie, June 13-14, 2015

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. staff photo, (c) 2012, all rights reserved.

By Duane Brodt
Conner Prairie Interactive History Park

Thousands of curious minds of all ages will explore science, physics and nature through hands-on experiments and interactive activities in mid-June at Conner Prairie. The third annual Curiosity Fair runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 13-14, 2015.

New this year, the Smithsonian Institution’s Places of Invention affiliates project, in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and with support from the National Science Foundation, will guide guests through what it takes to build a pipeline from Kokomo, Ind., to Chicago with its Indiana Gas Boom activity.

Guests can help Purdue University assemble and design race cars and test them on a track. And 3D Parts Manufacturing, Club Cyberia and Nickel Plate Arts will engage guests in building a large 3D sculpture in a maker’s space.

>> A complete list of Curiosity Fair activities:

>> Photos from last year’s event:

>> Video:

The Wonder Wheels BMX Stunt Show will perform at 11:00 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. Dow Agroscience will provide interactive opportunities to explore chemistry and science while Eli Lilly and Co. will present its “Chemistry is a Blast” show at noon, 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Indianapolis Engineering for Kids will offer hands-on engineering activities.

Returning favorites will include IndianaFirst Robotics, which will host hands-on robot demonstrations, and Indiana University’s Pervasive Technology Institute, which will demonstrate the inner workings of computers. Kroger will reveal how ice cream is made, Pace Dairy will demonstrate how cheese is made and Fair Oaks Farm will share how milk is produced.

Other attractions will include Cirque Amongus, the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra which will help guests explore making music with a variety of instruments and share how instruments are designed and function. And Columbian Park Zoo will showcase its exotic animals and share what they eat, how they live and more from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. each day.

Presented by Dow Agroscience with support from Kroger, Curiosity Fair is included with paid admission to Conner Prairie and free for members.

Spanning 850 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes more than 360,000 guests of all ages annually. As Indiana’s only Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, Conner Prairie offers various outdoor, historically themed destinations and indoor experiential learning spaces that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today.

For more information, visit, or call 317-776-6006.


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