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Downtown Indianapolis Heats Up in July

June 26, 2016 Leave a comment
skyline-with-bicyclists-april-23-2016

Bicycling along the White River in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2016, all rights reserved.

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.

May 2016 in Downtown Indianapolis

April 22, 2016 Leave a comment
Indianapolis skyline

Indianapolis skyline. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

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.

Ten Great Indiana Events: Number 3 Might Surprise You

October 3, 2015 Leave a comment

By Bob Burchfield, Editor
AroundIndy.com, LLC

Once again this week a reader asked, via email, “What are the best events in Indiana?” Hmmm…talk about a loaded question! That’s kind of like trying to name Indy’s best burger (which is sure to provoke an argument) or trying to answer the eternal question: “What is Hip?” (sometimes hipness is what it ain’t). One person’s pleasure is another’s poison.

Nevertheless, in an attempt to address the question, I’m going to offer ten of my personal favorite events in Indianapolis and Indiana. I’m well aware that others would likely choose an entirely different list, because we all have our own likes and dislikes.

Also, if I lived in South Bend or Fort Wayne or Evansville or elsewhere, I’m certain my list might be different. So please don’t send vehement text messages or emails saying something like, “I can’t believe you left the Three Rivers Festival off your list,” or “Why didn’t you include the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival?” or “Where’s the Covered Bridge Festival on your list?” (But I would like to hear your choices in the comments section below.)

Having made those disclaimers, here goes!

#10. Christmas City Walkway of Lights

Christmas City Walkway of Lights

Christmas City Walkway of Lights in Marion, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2014, all rights reserved.

Matter Park in Marion, Indiana, about 90 minutes north of Indianapolis, presents the Christmas City Walkway of Lights every November/December. For $5 you can drive your car load of passengers through the park and see a huge variety of colorful and visually-appealing holiday light displays, with millions of lights, featuring everything from the IU logo to the 12 days of Christmas. Be sure to time your visit so you arrive just after dark. It’s even cooler if you park your car and walk through the park. Your kids will love it. See http://www.walkwayoflights.org/

#9. St. Joan of Arc French Market

St. Joan of Arc French Market

French Market at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church at 46th and Central Avenue in Indianapolis holds its parish festival every summer in August. I finally made it to the French Market in 2015 and was enthralled by the laid-back, easy-going setting, the big crowd, the variety of French cuisine, and the many vendors and activities in a beautiful neighborhood setting. Admission is free, but parking in the neighborhood can be a challenge. See http://www.sjoa.org/frenchmarket/

#8. Mid-Summer Festival

St. Christopher Mid-Summer Festival

Mid-Summer Festival at St. Christopher Catholic Church in Speedway, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

St. Christopher Catholic Church conducts an annual parish festival each summer in July. I love this festival for its neighborhood setting in Speedway on Indy’s west side at 16th and Lynhurst, plus its excellent variety of cuisine and carnival rides. Admission is free, but finding parking in the neighborhood can be a challenge. It’s pay-as-you-go at the food booths and rides. See http://indyfestival.com/

#7. Indianapolis Indians

Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana

Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

The Indians are the AAA minor league baseball team in Indianapolis. They play their home games at Victory Field, 501 West Maryland Street, in downtown Indy. I love to go out to the ball park because the action is up close and personal, tickets are reasonably priced in the $10-15 range, and the skyline of Indianapolis presents a beautiful backdrop for a baseball game. Monday Dollar Nights offer hot dogs, peanuts, potato chips, Cracker Jack and popcorn for just $1 each. See http://indyindians.com/

#6. Indy Greek Festival

Middle Eastern dancing at the Greek Festival in Carmel, Indiana

Middle Eastern dancing at the Greek Festival in Carmel, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

This is a colorful event held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Carmel, Indiana each summer in August. The Greek food is plentiful, the Middle Eastern dancing and music is so enjoyable, and the sanctuary inside the church is breathtaking. Be prepared for long lines in the food court, and you may have to park at Marsh Supermarket more than a mile away on Michigan Road and wait for a shuttle bus to transport you to the church. See http://indygreekfest.org/

#5. Italian Street Festival

Italian Street Festival at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

Italian Street Festival at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

I love the Italian Street Festival at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 520 Stevens Street in Indianapolis, across the street from the Eli Lilly Company. The food is terrific (the four-layer carrot cake is unforgettable), the neighborhood atmosphere is enjoyable, admission is free, and I can usually find free parking across the street from the church. By now you are probably thinking that I’m a devout Catholic based on my selections thus far, but I’m not. I just love a good festival. See http://www.indyitalianfest.org/

#4. Indiana Flower and Patio Show

Indiana Flower and Patio Show at the State Fairgrounds

Indiana Flower and Patio Show at the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2012, all rights reserved.

This show is held each spring at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 East 38th Street, in Indianapolis. It’s a great event with colorful displays, lots of good ideas for decorating and home improvement projects, and a photographer’s delight. See http://hsishows.com/wp/indianaflowerandpatioshow/

#3. Feast of Lanterns

Feast of Lanterns at Spades Park in Indianapolis, Indiana

Feast of Lanterns at Spades Park in Indianapolis, Indiana. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

This one-day festival doesn’t always get a lot of media coverage, but when they turn on the lanterns after dark, this is one of the most beautiful and colorful events in the city, in my opinion, held at Spades Park on Indy’s near east side in August. Food trucks, lots of vendors, a beer garden, and a neighborhood setting combine to make this event so enjoyable. Admission is free, but parking in the neighborhood can be a real challenge. Take your own chair and enjoy a lovely evening (opting for acoustic music would further improve this event, IMO). See https://www.facebook.com/IndyFeast

#2. Circle of Lights Celebration

Circle of Lights as viewed from the Skyline Club.

Circle of Lights on Monument Circle as viewed from the Skyline Club. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2009, all rights reserved.

Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis transforms into a holiday showplace with the lighting of “the world’s tallest Christmas tree,” free live entertainment, and a festive atmosphere. Admission is free, so join me and 100,000 of my closest friends for this annual holiday tradition. See http://www.downtownindy.org/happening-downtown/hot/circle-of-lights/

#1. Indiana State Fair

Indiana State Fair midway.

Indiana State Fair midway in Indianapolis. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

I’ve been going to the Indiana State Fair since 1953 when I was still in diapers. It’s unquestionably my number one favorite event of the year. There is so much to see and do. You can’t really see it all in one day, but it’s fun to try! I like to ride the shuttle train all the way around the fairgrounds at least once just to see what’s new, then jump off the shuttle and work my way around the fairgrounds on foot.

My mom’s favorite was the quilt display in the Family Arts Building, so I always stop by and view the quilts to honor her memory. My brother played trombone in the Anderson High School marching band that won three consecutive state championships in the late 1950’s. So our family has a long and enjoyable history at the fair. The food is unbeatable, the midway is lively and colorful, the concerts feature national recording artists, the hot air balloon launch is inspirational, and a stop at the Dairy Bar for an official State Fair milk shake is a must. There’s something for everyone. See http://www.in.gov/statefair/

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Dig IN: A Taste of Indiana at White River State Park in Indianapolis
  2. Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival on Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis
  3. Indy Irish Fest at Military Park in Indianapolis
  4. Freedom Blast Fireworks Show on July 4 in downtown Indianapolis
  5. St. George Festival at St. George Orthodox Christian Church in Fishers, Indiana

How did I do? What are YOUR favorite Indianapolis and Indiana events of the year? Let me know in the comments because I try to cover as many Indianapolis and Indiana events as possible each year, and I’ll try to get to as many of them as I can.

DISCLOSURE NOTICE: AroundIndy.com, LLC received a Media Pass to the 2011 Indiana State Fair, complimentary tickets to the 2012 Indiana State Fair, a 2015 Media Pass, and a media pass to the 2015 Indiana State Fair. You may think I’m biased as a result, but I was going to the fair decades before these complimentary passes were offered.

South Bend 150th Birthday Weekend, May 22-24, 2015

South Bend Visitors Guide

South Bend Visitors Guide. Image provided by VisitSouthBend.com and used with written permission.

By Lindsey Horner
Visit South Bend Mishawaka

May 22, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of South Bend, Indiana being incorporated as a city. As such, the entire calendar year of 2015 has been, and will continue to be, packed full of special events and programming – known as SB150 – dedicated to celebrating South Bend’s sesquicentennial “birthday.”

The highlight of the yearlong festivities will take place Friday, May 22 through Sunday, May 24 in downtown South Bend, affectionately called the “SB150 Birthday Weekend.”

“This celebration will be unlike any other in the region and a way to experience the best South Bend has to offer all in one action-packed weekend,” said Aaron Perri, executive director of Downtown SouthBend, Inc.

“In both scope and scale, this is the most ambitious festival South Bend has ever hosted. This one-time event is somewhat like a mashup of your favorite music festival, art fair, food festival, and adventure park…with a basketball tournament and other twists in between.”

Some highlights of the birthday celebrations will include:

• Opening ceremony the evening of Friday, May 22 with the dedication of the new South Bend River Lights, which will become the permanent, lasting component of SB150.

• Live performance by national recording artist Ben Folds on the Main Stage, accompanied by the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.

• Taste of South Bend – a stretch of Jefferson Blvd. will be dedicated to the best of South Bend’s cuisine with nearly 50 food vendors offering up their specialties.

• Kid’s Activity Zone with bounce houses, face painting and more.

• Adventure Park offering the second-longest zip line in the state over the St. Joseph River, ropes course, whitewater rafting, Zumba and more.

• The Gus Macker basketball tournament will be taking over part of Howard Park.

• Artisan Alley featuring all art mediums being displayed and created.

• High flying helicopter and hot air balloon rides.

• Memory Lane outdoor exhibit offering a visual tour of South Bend’s 150-year-long history.

• An ice rink turned go kart track.

• Huge fireworks displays lighting up all of downtown South Bend.

“This sesquicentennial celebration is going to be one that people will be talking about for long after the weekend is over,” says Rob DeCleene, executive director of Visit South Bend Mishawaka.

“We invite visitors from every corner to come enjoy this very special time in South Bend, and to be a part of what is sure to be a history-making bash with the people that call South Bend home.”

Tickets for the Ben Folds performance can be purchased through the box office of the Morris Performing Arts Center in person, or online here:http://morriscenter.ticketforce.com/.

Many programs and events will be offered free of charge, while select offerings and activities will require a nominal fee to be enjoyed.

For more information, visit http://sb150.com/birthday-weekend. And be sure to request your 2015 South Bend/Mishawaka Visitors Guide (pictured) at http://visitsouthbend.com/.