By Bob Burchfield, Editor
Today I visited the NinjaZone Academy at Grand Park – The Sports Campus at Westfield in #Westfield #Indiana to check out this new gymnastics, martial arts, obstacle training, and freestyle movement facility with my 12-year-old grandson, Zion.
The NinjaZone, which just opened last week, is located INSIDE the Grand Park Events Center at 19000 Grand Park Blvd in Westfield. It’s part of a national network of these franchises that just started two years ago. Right now, according to the manager, it’s open Mon-Sat 9 am to 12 pm and Mon-Thu 4-8 pm (hours may fluctuate as traffic patterns and classes develop).
This is a really cool fitness gym for kids with state-of-the-art equipment and fully-trained coaches and trainers. As you can see in the photos, trainer Tyler Robling was right there to keep an eye on Zion as he went through a little exercise routine on “The Rig!” in the The Challenge Room.
(Here’s a tip: my grandson has autism, which presents a lot of challenges of its own. But Zion kicked off his shoes and took to the equipment like a duck to water! I think kids will naturally be drawn to this equipment.)
Grand Park is the first-ever Academy location for NinjaZone — and there’s going to be a 2nd location opening this summer in the Geist area at 116th Street and Olio Road.
The NinjaZone Academy offers child-centered personalized instruction with small classes of a 6:1 ratio. Students receive one class per week and eight 20-minute challenge classes per month. Each regular class lasts for 40 minutes.
It is designed to meet the developmental needs of children ages 3 to 13 (you can enroll your kids up to age 11 and they can stay on through age 13).
So although Zion is too old to enroll in the Academy, two of my favorite bloggers Jenny Lear (Fortville Mama) and Katy Mann (Indy with Kids) have kids in that age group who are ideal candidates for this program.
In fact, Jenny Lear is actually the one who suggested that I visit NinjaZone and check it out, and when I got there, I discovered that both Jenny and Katy have already beat me to the punch!
By the way, NinjaZone can also do birthday parties for your group!
I’d like to personally thank Scott Rudicel (yes, it’s Rudi: THAT Scott!) and Megan Noel for taking time out of their busy day to give Zion and me a tour of the facility. And as a bonus I discovered that my good friend Jason Nye, who used to work with me at the University of Indianapolis, is now the Digital Content Manager for NinjaZone!
For more information, visit http://theninjazone.com/location-learn-more/ or call 317-418-8761. You can also follow NinjaZone on Twitter @ninjazonegpacad or on Facebook at https://facebook.com/. Check it out when you get the chance!
DISCLOSURE NOTICE: Rudi gave Zion a free T-shirt during our visit.
By Amanda Dorman
Downtown Indy, Inc.
Fourth of July weekend
Indy’s most popular fireworks show and festival – the Donatos Downtown Freedom Blast – returns to the grounds of the Indiana War Memorial July 4. More than 20,000 people are expected to be Downtown on Veterans Memorial Plaza and American Legion Mall from 6:30 – 10:30 p.m. The fireworks will launch from the Regions Bank Tower at 10 p.m. (North and Michigan streets will be closed throughout the day and New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware streets surrounding the Regions Bank Tower will be closed 9:30 – 10:15 p.m. during the fireworks show.)
Crowds will gather for many music festivities including the Indiana Historical Society’s patriotic-themed Concerts on the Canal July 4 from 5 – 9:30 p.m. The two-day INDYpendance Day Concert for Cancer is back on Georgia Street July 2 & 3 from 2 – 10 p.m. with headliners Ludacris, Awolnation, Kongos and more. On July 1, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will perform a one-night only concert Star Spangled Symphony at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State and The Doo! are playing at the Rathskeller Biergarten July 4. The Indianapolis City Market hosts Party of the Plaza July 4 from 7 – 11 p.m. complete with corn hole, checkers, sidewalk chalk and a great view of the Downtown fireworks.
IBE Summer Celebration
The Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration returns July 7 – 17. The 46th running of Summer Celebration includes business seminars, an employment fair, concerts and more. More than 80,000 attendees will take part in events at various locations Downtown, with most events taking place at the Indiana Convention Center. The FREE Music Heritage Festival takes place Friday, July 15 at American Legion. Music Heritage Festival II takes Place Saturday, July 16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Downtown gets festive
There’s still time to enjoy some of Downtown Indy’s best summer festivals. Saturday, July 2 from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., the Taste of Indy will present an assortment of Asian, Soul, Greek, Mediterranean, Cajun, Hispanic and American food on Monument Circle. Tickets are $6 in advance or FREE for kids 6 and younger.
The Indy Criterium Bicycle Festival, taking place Saturday, July 9 starting at 9 a.m., offers cyclists a unique opportunity to race the city streets that they would rarely do otherwise. Families and bicyclists will also enjoy many of the activities taking place throughout the day including food and beer vendors, music, expo area, free community rides, free Kids Zone activities, BMX stunt shows, kids and juniors bicycle races and more. This festival is FREE to attend.
Step into the West at the Eiteljorg Museum’s West Fest on July 23 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. This festival is a family event featuring entertainers, animals, food and family fun. Tickets are included with museum admission.
On July 30 from 3 – 7 p.m., the Indiana Microbrewers Festival will showcase more than 100 breweries all in one location – Military Park. Tickets are $40 general admission, $60 for early bird entry and $10 designated driver.
Take in the sights and sounds of summer
Summer concerts are officially here and national and local artists alike will bring Downtown to life this summer. Two big names are coming Downtown this month. Coldplay performs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July 20. Also at Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Twenty One Pilots on July 31.
Enjoy nine concerts at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park this month: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra July 1; “Weird Al” Yankovic July 7; Barenaked Ladies July 8; Sublime with Rome July 16; Peter Frampton & Gregg Allman July 20; WTTS Rock on the River with The Head and the Heart July 25; Bush and Chevelle July 26; Tedeschi Truck Band o July 27; and Halsey July 29.
The Indianapolis Zoo’s Zoolapalooza series continues for two more Friday nights: July 1 & 8. Another Zoo concert series – Animals and All That Jazz – kicks off July 7 and continues Thursday nights through Aug. 4.
Two big names are coming to the Cabaret: catch Rumer Willis July 22 &23 and John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey July 29.
Cheer the Fever, join the Tribe
Catch one (or more) of the 15 Indianapolis Indians home games at Victory Field this month. On July 4, enjoy two firework shows following the games (the Indians’ own firework show plus the Donatos Downtown Freedom Blast). There are four chances to catch the Indiana Fever at home: July 1, 13, 15 & 19. The Indy Eleven play at IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium July 9, 13 & 23.
Georgia Street action continues
Workout Wednesdays strengthened by Indiana University Health continue through the end of July on Georgia Street’s west block. Downtown Indy, Inc. partners with the YMCA to provide fun, all-levels hip hop classes weekly from noon – 12:45 p.m. New this year: Sunrise Yoga on the Canal in partnership with Invoke Studio takes place Wednesday mornings from 6 – 6:45 a.m. on the Vermont Street Plaza.
Downtown residents and workers are invited to wind down the week during Happy Hour Thursdays on Georgia Street. Every Thursday from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., enjoy music from RadioNow DJs, appetizers from the Severin Bar and domestic beers and craft brews. This event is free to attend, but everyone must be 21 or older.
Eat lunch alfresco on the Boardwalk and enjoy the sights and sounds of Downtown during Food Truck Fridays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
For more information, visit http://www.downtownindy.org/ or call 317-237-2222.
By Amanda Dorman
Downtown Indy, Inc.
Wholesale District Beautification Day
Community members are coming together for a morning of partnership, productivity and fun as district employees participate in the ninth annual Wholesale District Beautification Day Monday, May 2. More than 200 volunteers will create a clean, pedestrian-friendly environment for the district’s sidewalks, store fronts and businesses. Tasks include sweeping the sidewalks and curbs, removing stickers, painting over graffiti and picking up litter.
100th Running HandleBar Hot Lap on Monument Circle
In the spirit of the 100th Running of the Indy 500, HandleBar, Downtown Indy, Inc. and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are hosting the 100th Running HandleBar Hot Lap on Monument Circle Friday, May 6 at 11:30 a.m. Races include one-on-one laps around Monument Circle with pit stops and vehicle tweaks. The races will be structured into a 24-team single elimination bracket, narrowing down Indy’s best, culminating in a championship race between the top two teams. Businesses are invited to register a team (10 participants) online for $100/team.
Georgia Street comes to life with Downtown Indy, Inc.’s Summer Series
Downtown Indy, Inc. has again partnered with local fitness studios for Workout Wednesday – fun, all-levels group fitness sessions on the Boardwalk. Hip Hop on Georgia Street in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis begins May 4 and reoccurs weekly from noon – 12:45 p.m. Each workout will begin with a local personality/celebrity for the warm-up. The celebrity will be announced each week via Twitter (@GeorgiaStIndy). A new addition to Workout Wednesday this year will be Sunrise Yoga on the Canal in partnership with Invoke Studio. Sunrise Yoga begins June 1 and takes place weekly on the Vermont Street Plaza from 6 – 6:45 a.m.
Happy Hour Thursdays return to the Boardwalk beginning May 5.
Georgia Street’s center block will turn into a work respite from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. every Thursday. Listen to music from live DJs, relax with friends and order appetizers and drinks from the Boardwalk Bar staffed by the Omni Severin Bar. There’s no cover charge, but all attendees must be 21 and older.
Downtown workers can also enjoy ongoing Food Truck Fridays.
Eat lunch alfresco on the Georgia Street Boardwalk and enjoy the sights and sounds of Downtown during weekly from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
May means 500 Festival events
Race fans are invited to Rock-IN-Roar 500 – a music festival and community celebration on Georgia Street that officially “drops the green flag” on Race Week in Indianapolis. On May 20 from 5 – 10:30 p.m., 500 local musicians, led by John Mellencamp keyboardist Troye Kinnett and IndyCar driver Will Power, join together to perform One Republic’s “Love Runs Out” in a musical tribute to the spirit of the 100th Indy 500. Attendees can witness SPECTACLE: Sights & Sounds of the Indy 500 on Georgia Street, featuring a unique light show with some of the most memorable radio calls from the past 100 years. Following this FREE Rock-IN-Roar 500, SPECTACLE will run at 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. May 21 – 29.
The 40th OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon takes off Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 a.m. The course begins at the intersection of Washington and West streets, heads west to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and does a complete lap around the 2.5 mile track before heading back down New York Street. In addition to the Mini, kids ages 3 – 10 can participate in the non-competitive Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run May 14 at 10:30 a.m. After the Mini, head to Military Park for the FREE 500 Festival Post Race Party.
The 60th IPL 500 Festival Parade kicks off at noon May 28 at noon. About 300,000 spectators from around the country will line the streets of Indianapolis for one of the nation’s premier parades. The month-long roster of events culminates with the 100th running of the Indy 500 on May 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Original Farmers’ Market returns May 4
Downtown’s Original Farmers’ Market returns to Indianapolis City Market on May 4 and continues every Wednesday through October. The market is open from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Market Street between Delaware and Alabama Streets. Market Street will be closed each Wednesday during this time.
Bring Mom Downtown on Mother’s Day
Downtown attractions and restaurants will make Mother’s Day extra special. Visit Mother’s Day Weekend at the Indianapolis Zoo May 7 and 8 and enjoy a Zoo-wide scavenger hunt, photo stations, free treats and more. Attend Mother’s Day at the IRT on May 8 and enjoy brunch at noon followed by a performance of The Mousetrap at 2 p.m. Georgia Reese’s is offering a special Mother’s Day brunch buffet all day from 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Hot happenings at Downtown attractions
Mini Golf that combines original art and playful competition is coming to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The much anticipated Artist Designed Mini Golf opens to the public May 10. The course features 18 holes designed by local and regional artists and in honor of Indiana’s Bicentennial, each hole is inspired by Indiana history and landmarks. Tickets are FREE for IMA members and included in regular admission for non-members.
Easley Winery’s outdoor music series Groovin’ in the Garden kicks off on May 21 and runs through September. Enjoy daily wine specials and live music in a relaxing environment every Saturday from 2 – 5 p.m. This series is FREE.
Indiana Historical Society’s Concerts on the Canal return on May 26 and take place every Thursday night from 6 – 8 p.m. through July 28. The 2016 Concerts on the Canal series features a spectacular lineup of entertainers including Shannon Forsell, Flying Toasters, Funk Quarter and The Bishops. Seating is FREE on the grassy hill across the Canal or reserve a table on the terrace for extra.
Cheer on your favorite teams
Catch one (or more) of the 16 Indianapolis Indians home games at Victory Field this month. Enjoy monthly promos including 2-for-1 Tuesdays, Thursday Craft Beer Night, Friday Fireworks and Kid’s Eat Free Sundays. On May 3, share your favorite game with your pup: Bark in the Park allows dogs and their owners a chance to enjoy the game from the right field lawn. There are two chances to catch the Indy Eleven at home: May 7 and May 21.
For more information, call 317-237-2222.
By Amanda Dorman
Downtown Indy, Inc.
Forget hosting a New Year’s Eve get-together this year. These Downtown parties, events and specials offer everything from exciting daytime sports matchups to classy top-shelf parties in the sky. To view all these events online, visit: www.downtownindy.org/event-collection/52/new-years-eve.
Be safe – don’t drink and drive. Plan your transit to and from your Downtown NYE destination ahead of time. For more information on Downtown parking visit: www.downtownindy.org/get-around-downtown/park. For information on Downtown bus routes visit:www.downtownindy.org/get-around-downtown/bus.
Downtown Indy’s New Year’s Eve Celebration brought to you by The Indiana Union Construction Industry, Georgia Street
Headliner Kap Slap will bring his electrifying EDM (electronic dance music) craze to Downtown. At 11:59 p.m., when in most cities the traditional ball drop takes place, a suspended IndyCar hoisted high above the crowd will descend to a collective countdown amidst fanfare and fireworks at midnight. Warm up inside the Hoosier Lottery Countdown Pavilion inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, plus enjoy full bars and food trucks all night. A new element this year will include the opportunity for one lucky person to race away just seconds after midnight in a street-legal IndyCar ushering in the march to the 100th Running of the famed Indianapolis 500 on May 29, 2016.
Entertainment throughout the night includes:
8 p.m.: Dave and Whitney
9 p.m.: Izzy and the Rubbaband
9:30 p.m.: Corey Cox (inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse)
10:30 p.m.: Kap Slap
Make an entire Downtown outing on New Year’s Eve! Attend the Indiana Pacers vs. Milwaukee Bucks game on Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. then head right over to Downtown Indy’s New Year’s Eve Celebration on Georgia Street.
CIROC the New Year, Regions Bank Tower
Party in the sky from 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. and enjoy a 360-degree view of Downtown. This rooftop event features an all-inclusive top-shelf bar with light appetizers, a champagne toast and a special midnight presentation. Music provided by DJs Indiana Jones, DJ Gabby Love, DJ Lockstar, DJ Hugh Jeffner and DJ gNo.
*New Year’s Eve with ComedySportz, The Athenaeum Theatre
Celebrate with the most unique comedy show around! There are two celebrations – the first from 7:30 – 9 p.m. and the second from 10:30 p.m. – midnight (ends with a countdown to midnight) – and two live improve matches where ComedySportz players battle each other for a prize.
$20; $18 students and seniors
*Countdown to Noon, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
At The Children’s Museum annual New Year’s bash, families can experience the excitement of a countdown to the New Year at a reasonable hour. Head to the Museum between 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and celebrate the final day of 2015 with activities, music and Water Clock countdowns at noon and 1 p.m. Receive hats and other festive favors for the big moment.
$21.50, $18.50 youth 2-17; $20.50 seniors 60 and older
Family New Year’s Eve, Indiana State Museum
Enjoy face painting, stilt walkers, clowns and music at the Indiana State Museum from 6 – 9 p.m. A balloon drop at 8 p.m. allows the little ones to celebrate in style.
$13 non-members; $7 members
Hard Rock Cafe New Year’s Eve Party
Celebrate New Year’s Eve with live music from DJ T-Bone and a dinner buffet with prime rib, shrimp cocktail, roasted potatoes, green beans and more. VIP tickets include a hotel room, dinner buffet and champagne toast.
$15; $50 – $215 VIP
New Year’s Eve at Howl at the Moon, Howl at the Moon
Howl at the Moon offers three different packages: Champagne Supernova Package ($90) includes reserved seating and dinner from 6 – 8 p.m. The Big Shot Package ($75) includes reserved seating on the rail and dinner from 6 – 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $25 and do not include dinner.
$25 – $90
New Year’s Eve Party with Zanna Doo, The Rathskeller
Enjoy a hors d’oeuvre buffet and midnight champagne toast while rocking out to Zanna Doo. Doors open at 6 p.m., the opening act performs at 7 p.m. and Zanna Doo performs at 9 p.m.
$50 in advance; $55 at the door
New Year’s Eve Date Night, Chef JJ’s
Enjoy fresh, local food prepared by Chef JJ’s culinary team. Tickets include a five course dinner, beer and wine tasters and a sweet treat to take home. Book an overnight stay Downtown after dinner: Chef JJ’s is partnering with the Omni Severin Hotel to offer discounted room rates.
New Year’s Eve Limo Bus Crawl, various locations
Party in style on a limo bus with My Drink On! Tickets for this Crawl include no cover, champagne toast at midnight, party favors, specials and limo transportation.
$15 before 12/19; $22.50 after 12/19
New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball, Union Station
This New Year’s Eve party takes over three ballrooms at Union Station, each with their own theme and entertainment. Enjoy live bands in the Grand Hall, acoustic singers and songwriters in the Iron Horse Lounge and a club-style DJ party in the Illinois Street Ballroom. Plus, there will be photo opportunities, magicians, psychics and face painters.
$50 general admission; $99 VIP
New Year’s Eve at Adobo Grill
Before you head out for the night’s festivities, celebrate New Year’s Eve with a Tequila Dinner Featuring Tequila Patron at Adobo Grill at 6:30 p.m.
New Year’s Eve Bash at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis
Ring in 2016 with one of three hotel and party packages or general admission tickets from the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis. This action-packed night of music and celebration includes several live performances on three stages with The Flying Toasters, My Yellow Rickshaw, Dance Club, Cousin Rodger, Hanover Chase, DJ Helicon, DJ Brian Jackson, Casino Tables and Pyramid of Enlightenment (Palm Readers). The highlight of the night will be a massive midnight balloon drop in the center of the hotel’s magnificent 21-story atrium lobby. The party begins at 8 p.m. and the dress code is dressy casual. VIP tickets include light hors devours, general seating and an upgraded cash bar.
$45- $50; $75 VIP; various hotel packages available
Pat McAfee Presents: A Ridiculous New Year’s Eve, Old National Centre
Get ready for some pure Pat ridiculousness with a full theatre show loaded with surprise guest experiences and laughs. After the show, party in the Egyptian Room and ring in 2016 with music, dancing, a midnight countdown and a toast.
$45 – $200 (tickets include both events)
Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites: Room and Dinner Package
· Overnight accommodations
· Complimentary valet parking
· Champagne toast
· Party favors
· Breakfast for two
· Five course meal for two with Music by The Sax Guy at 120 West Bar & Grill
JW Marriott Indianapolis
· Overnight accommodations
· Complimentary overnight self-parking
· Late check out at 3 p.m.
· Choice of one of three in-room amenities
· Overnight accommodations
· $50 credit in Plat 99
· Prosecco and chocolate covered strawberries
· Brunch for two in Market Table
· Valet parking
· Late check out at 1 p.m.
For more information, visit http://downtownindy.org/, or call 317-237-2222.
By Aubrey Sitzman
Brown County CVB
Bring the entire family to the Village of Nashville for the 8th Annual Taste of Brown County on May 16, 2015. From noon to 5 p.m., local restaurants, confectioners, and vendors will serve up samples of specialty dishes and sweets that can only be found in Brown County.
The event also will feature plenty of kids’ activities, live music, a family-friendly beer and wine garden, as well as hourly giveaways and prizes. Savor the local flavor and treat your taste buds to a day of food, fun, and entertainment at the Taste of Brown County.
Presented by the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Brown County, this year’s Taste event is chock-full of exciting new features.
In addition to its new central location at the Courthouse parking lot and grounds, this year’s event will provide the opportunity for guests to win several top-notch prizes, including an overnight getaway for two to Brown County.
Not only will guests be able to sample the best dishes, treats, and drinks Brown County has to offer, but they also can kick back and relax to an afternoon of live music, performed from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
After filling up on delicious local fare in the sampling area and family-friendly wine garden, guests are encouraged to bring along their blankets and chairs and stay a while.
The Taste of Brown County will have plenty of activities to keep the kids busy as well. A kid zone, complete with a bounce house and other fun games, will be a guaranteed good time for children of all ages.
A People’s Choice Award winner for best sample also will be announced at 5 p.m., as guests are encouraged to vote throughout the day for their favorite.
Laura Moses, Program Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Brown County and Bartholomew County encourages everyone to check out the event, “Brown County is such a gorgeous community with so much talent and lots of energy.”
“The Taste of Brown County is a great opportunity to experience cuisine maybe you haven’t before and to support the local community,” says Moses. “Maybe you will even find a restaurant or two to add to your annual bucket list while you’re at it.”
Admission to the event is $5; children 5 years and younger are free. Samples and other food items will be available for purchase, with no samples exceeding $5.
General admission also includes free entry into the Pioneer Village, a museum complex designed to collect and preserve the history of the county, complete with live demonstrations of weaving, blacksmithing, and more.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Brown County. Tickets are available online at www.TasteofBrownCounty.com, and will be sold the day of the event.
All those purchasing tickets will automatically be entered into Taste giveaways and must be present to win. Prize winners will be announced hourly beginning at 1 p.m., with the overnight getaway winner being announced between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
For more information on the Taste of Brown County and for a full list of participating vendors, please visit http://TasteofBrownCounty.com/, or call 812-988-7303.
With plenty of food and entertainment to satisfy even the hungriest of appetites, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Taste of Brown County. Come hungry, leave happy, and savor the local flavor in Brown County on May 16.