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:…


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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.

“Sizzling Day of Bacon” at Fair Oaks Farms, June 28, 2015

Fair Oaks Farms

Fair Oaks Farms. staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

By Nicki Mackowski-Gladstone
On behalf of “Sizzling Day of Bacon”

The grand opening of Fair Oaks Farms’ newest agritourism attraction, the Pork Education Center, will be an over-the-top, family focused event celebrating the only pork education center in the nation focused on transparent pig farming.

The “Sizzling Day of Bacon” will be held on Sunday, June 28, 2015, 10 AM to 5 PM, and will attract a wide demographic of individuals from around the nation.

The celebration will be hosted on the event grounds of Fair Oaks Farms, which are adjacent to the new Pork Education Center, and in the center itself, as well as across the rest of the Fair Oaks Farms campus.

“The grand opening celebration for this one-of-a-kind attraction will feature industry leaders, consumer products, great musical entertainment, delicious food and fun activities. It will be an exciting event for the whole family,” said Brian Martin, president of the board of directors for the Fair Oaks Pig Adventure.

The Pork Education Center is a nonprofit facility whose mission is to bring food to the table, educate consumers about the many uses of pork products and set industry standards, as well as offer a transparent look into the world of modern pig farming.

Guests to the center can learn amazing facts about how pork products are used in everyday life, challenge themselves on an exciting ropes course, watch videos about selecting and preparing pork, view a giant storyboard or play pig-related games.

Children will enjoy exploring the center’s tree house featuring a bacon slide and a “real” fireplace. This creative addition to the center was custom-made by Daniels Wood Land, Inc., and will be featured on the Animal Planet show “Redwood Kings.”

“We could have opened this amazing education center with just a ribbon cutting, but the creative minds of our board members and those at Mixdesign wanted to come up with a fantastic way to celebrate such a special building. I think we have planned a very memorable day,” Martin added.

The highlight of the grand opening celebration will be a concert showcasing the world famous Bacon Brothers Band – nothing says “bacon” quite like a performance by Michael and Kevin Bacon!

Additionally, the celebration will include a battle of the chefs’ pork cook-off competition, pork and related product samplings, a “bacon shake” for kids, a full day of kids’ activities and much more.

Tickets for the day’s events are $45 for adults and $21 for kids. The Bacon Brothers Band concert and entrance into both The Dairy and Pig Adventures, as well the educational centers on the Fair Oaks Farms campus, are included in the ticket price.

Fair Oaks Farms is located in Newton County in northwestern Indiana at 856 North County Road 600 East in Fair Oaks, just off I-65 Exit 220. For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, visit Tickets can also be purchased online on Ticketweb. For more event details, contact Nicki Mackowski-Gladstone at or call 219-322-7190.

Reggie Wayne To Receive Key to City, July 17, 2015

Indiana Convention Center

Indiana Convention Center. staff photo, (c) 2012, all rights reserved.

Press Release
Indiana Black Expo

On May 26, 2015, Indiana Black Expo announced that former Indianapolis Colt Reggie Wayne will receive the Key to the City of Indianapolis from Mayor Greg Ballard during the Pacers Sports & Entertainment Corporate Luncheon presented by Indiana University.

The luncheon will take place on Friday, July 17, 2015, at 11 AM in Halls D and E of the Indiana Convention Center, 100 South Capitol Avenue, as part of the 45th Annual Summer Celebration.

“Reggie has given back to our community on and off the field, and I am thrilled to present him with the key to the city,” said Mayor Ballard. “From being a fan favorite throughout his years wearing the Colts jersey, to lending his time and energy to benefit countless good causes in Indianapolis, Reggie has been a role model to many.”

“We are excited about honoring Reggie Wayne and declaring the last weekend of Summer Celebration ‘Reggie Wayne Weekend,'” said Tanya Bell, IBE president & Chief Executive Officer. “Besides his greatness as one of the best NFL wide receivers and the stellar example he set for the Colts franchise, Reggie has done so much for our community and we want to make sure that the state of Indiana is provided with an opportunity to thank him for his contributions,” added Bell. “Reggie has always supported the mission of Indiana Black Expo and has invested significantly in our youth. IBE will be forever indebted to #87,” added Bell.

Wayne played college football for the University of Miami and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round (30th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft. He is a six-time Pro Bowl selection, and was a member of the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI championship team. He is currently sixth all-time in NFL receiving yards (leading all active players in both categories) and tied for 22nd all-time in career touchdown receptions.

The Corporate Luncheon is the largest luncheon in the state of Indiana with nearly 3,000 guests. Tickets of $60 each and tables for $600 are available at the IBE Box Office located at 3145 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.

IBE will honor Reggie Wayne throughout Summer Celebration weekend. The full schedule of events will be published for the community.

A “Thank You Reggie” exhibit will be featured during the Cultural Arts Pavilion from Friday, July 17 to Sunday, July 19. The community will also have an opportunity to sign a display and see Reggie Wayne during the Annual Amp Harris & Reggie Wayne Saving Our Youth Celebrity Basketball game on Saturday, July 18 at 6:00 PM in Hall J of the Indiana Convention Center.

For additional information, call 317-925-2702.


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