By Bob Burchfield, Editor
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
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 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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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/
- Dig IN: A Taste of Indiana at White River State Park in Indianapolis
- Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival on Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis
- Indy Irish Fest at Military Park in Indianapolis
- Freedom Blast Fireworks Show on July 4 in downtown Indianapolis
- 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.
15 Public Events in Indianapolis and Indiana
VERIFY ALL EVENT LISTINGS TO BE CERTAIN THEY WILL BE HELD AS SCHEDULED
- SUN: 21st Annual Miracle Ride at Allison Transmission, Inc.
- WED: Indiana Pacers NBA Playoffs Basketball at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
- FRI-SUN: NCAA Division I Women’s Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park
- WED-SUN: 10th Annual Historic US Highway 40 Yard Sale Across Indiana
- WED-SAT: Indianapolis Charity Horse Show at the State Fairgrounds
- MON-SUN: Indianapolis Indians Baseball at Victory Field
- SAT: 20th Annual Wicket World of Croquet® at Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
- WED: Original Farmers Market at the Indianapolis City Market
- FRI-SUN: Indy 1500 Gun and Knife Show at the State Fairgrounds
- FRI-SUN: Summerfest at St. Therese Little Flower Parish
- SAT: Bill Maher at the Old National Centre
- SAT: Indy Eleven Pro Soccer at Michael Carroll Stadium at IUPUI
- THU: ‘Concerts on the Canal’ at the Indiana History Center
- THU, SAT: Indiana Fever WNBA Basketball at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
- SUN: Jack Johnson in Concert at The Lawn at White River State Park
To see thousands of upcoming events and things to do in Indianapolis and Indiana, visit our main Web site at http://aroundindy.com/, or go mobile at http://aroundindy.com/mobile. Thank you for using AroundIndy.com as your #1 source for things to do in Indianapolis!
15 Public Events in Indianapolis and Indiana
VERIFY ALL EVENT LISTINGS TO BE CERTAIN THEY WILL BE HELD AS SCHEDULED
- SUN: 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- SAT: 58th Annual IPL 500 Festival Parade in Downtown Indianapolis
- TUE: Indiana Pacers NBA Playoffs Basketball at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
- SAT: KeyBank 500 Festival Snakepit Ball at the Indiana Roof Ballroom
- MON: Spotlight 2014 at Clowes Memorial Hall
- THU: Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds
- WED-SUN: 31st Annual Banks of the Wabash Festival in Terre Haute
- WED: 500 Festival Community Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- WED: 34th Annual Zoopolis 500 at the Indianapolis Zoo
- THU: Statehouse Market at the Indiana State Capitol Building
- THU: Rev Rally in Brownsburg
- SAT-SUN: 38th Annual Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous in Knox County
- SAT: 69th Annual Visit Hendricks County ‘Night Before the 500’ at Lucas Oil Raceway
- FRI: Indiana Fever WNBA Basketball at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
- FRI: 500 Festival Memorial Service on Monument Circle
For more information about thousands of upcoming events and things to do in Indianapolis and Indiana, visit our main Web site at http://aroundindy.com/, or go mobile at http://aroundindy.com/mobile. Thank you for using AroundIndy.com as your source for Indy events!
By Stevi Stoesz
Indianapolis City Market
Just as the asparagus, sweet pea and broccoli sprouts peek through tilled fields throughout central Indiana, City Market officials are preparing for the launch of the 17th annual Original Farmers’ Market season set to begin May 7, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. The downtown market runs every Wednesday, May through October, from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Market Street between Alabama and Delaware Streets rain or shine.
“Mark your calendar, grab your market basket and join the more than 60 Original Farmers’ Market vendors for a great season of fresh produce, meats, eggs, cheeses, honey, syrups, vegetable starts, flowers, baked goods and more!” said Stevi Stoesz, Executive Director of the Indianapolis City Market. “We have a record number of vendors who will set up on City Market’s Whistler Plaza, as well as all of the great vendors who line Market Street.”
In its 17 years, the Original Farmers’ Market has helped to sustain the state’s food and farming community by providing a lively and profitable sales outlet for small family farms and local producers, many of which count on farm-direct sales as their main source of income.
DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR MATCHING PROGRAM EXPANDS TO INCLUDE MORE MARKETS
The Fresh Bucks program enables those who use SNAP benefits to double their spending dollars up to $20 on Indiana-native fruits, vegetables, honey, herbs and spices, maple syrup, and seedlings for edible plants. The program’s expansion to include several area markets was made possible through a Specialty Crop Block Grant awarded by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
The Original Farmers’ Market is pleased to welcome several new vendors to the Original Farmers’ Market family this year:
Craneberry Farm (Lafayette, IN) – Produce, pesto, variety of hummus flavors.
Harker Family Farms & Orchard (Waldron, IN) – Peaches, apples, tomatoes, sweet corn, pears, plums, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries.
Home Ec (Indianapolis, IN) – jams, jellies, marmalades, chutney, pickles and relish.
Husk (Indianapolis) – Frozen sweet corn, frozen green beans, frozen peas.
Indiana Microgreens (Indianapolis, IN) – Single breed arugula, basil, cilantro, cress, fennel, mache, popcorn shoots, custom salad blends.
Indy Family Produce (Greenwood, IN) – Lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, leeks, beets, peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots, beans, zucchini, cucumber, eggplants.
Lick (Indianapolis, IN) – Specialty ice creams.
Sage’s Simple Syrups (Whitestown, IN) – Lime/mint, cucumber/basil, guava, mango/ginger, peach/lavender, coffee/vanilla bean, roasted apple, cranberry, spiced pumpkin simple syrups.
Scratch Street Food (Indianapolis, IN) – Bacon Marmalade.
Shamrock Farms (Arlington, IN) – Mushrooms, greens mixes, watermelon, potatoes, cabbage.
Tulip Tree Creamery (Zionsville, IN) – Artisan cheeses.
PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES
- BUY TWO GIVE ONE
In collaboration with Gleaners Food Bank, the Original Farmers’ Market will accept donations of produce items every Wednesday at the OFM information booth located directly in front the City Market on Market Street. The collected produce will be distributed through Wheeler Mission.
- MARKET DAY MUSIC
The Market District Stage on City Market’s Whistler Plaza comes alive every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. when local musical and performing acts take the stage to entertain market-goers.
- LITTLE RED DOOR COOKING DEMOS
The first Wednesday of each month, Little Red Door Cancer Agency hosts a local celebrity in the Clark Appliance Demonstration Kitchen in City Market demonstrating healthy cooking techniques featuring cancer-fighting ingredients as well as recipes that provide countless healthy benefits to those in remission. Demos begin at 11:30 a.m.
- IN THE KITCHEN SERIES
The “In the Kitchen” series boasts local chefs from the area’s top restaurants who shop for product at both the Original Farmers’ Market and inside City Market, then prepare a meal for an audience. Market-goers will leave with a recipe provided by the presenting chef. Demonstrations occur during lunchtime on all but the first Wednesdays of the month, through October.
The Indianapolis City Market is a non-profit organization, and the Original Farmers’ Market was established in 1997 to provide a platform for local producers to sell their Indiana products directly to consumers. For further information, call 317-634-9266, visit our Web site at www.indycm.com, our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/IndyCM?ref=ts or follow us on Twitter @IndyCM.
Things to do in Indianapolis
For the week of Jan. 26 to Feb. 2, 2014
- MON-SUN: 92nd Annual Indianapolis Home Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds
- MON-SUN: ‘Devour Downtown’ Winterfest in Indianapolis
- FRI: 5th Annual Winter Nights Film Series at the Museum of Art
- FRI-SUN: Hearthside Supper at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park
- WED: ‘A Downton Abbey Evening’ at the Carmel Palladium
- SUN: College Men’s Basketball at Indiana University
- THU: Darius Rucker in Concert at the Allen County Coliseum
- THU, SAT: Indiana Pacers NBA Basketball at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
- THU: Indiana Ice USHL Ice Hockey at Pan Am Pavilion
- FRI-SUN: ‘Defending the Caveman’ at Theatre on the Square
- FRI-SUN: ‘The Color Purple’ at the Indianapolis Athenaeum Theatre
- FRI: Kenny Rogers in Concert at the Carmel Palladium
- MON-SUN: ‘Ice Age Giants: The Mystery of Mammoths and Mastodons’ at the State Museum
- SAT: Indy Winter Farmers Market at the Indianapolis City Market
- MON: ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ at the Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne
To see thousands of upcoming events listings and things to do in Indianapolis and Indiana, visit our main Web site at http://aroundindy.com/, or visit AroundIndy.com Mobile: http://aroundindy.com/mobile/mobile.php.