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Snowfall Express opens @IndianaMuseum Nov. 26, 2021

November 22, 2021 Leave a comment

By Bob Burchfield, Editor
AroundIndy.com, LLC

The Indiana State Museum debuts its new Snowfall Express train ride and exhibit for the 2021 holiday season, opening Nov. 26 and covering 13,000 square feet on the 3rd floor of the museum. The Snowfall Express is part of the museum’s popular Celebration Crossing holiday festivities presented each year.

Well…

Let me tell you this: the museum has totally outdone itself with this exhibit! The amount of craftsmanship and artistry that has gone into this exhibit is nothing short of outstanding! With a 4 1/2 minute train ride, music and audio, special effects, animation, and even a snowfall, this is one charming exhibit that is a perfect complement to the holiday season!

If you’ve got youngsters in your household, Snowfall Express is a great new option in downtown Indy in 2021 while you are visiting this year’s Celebration Crossing. I love it, and I hope you and your kids will love it, too!

The Indiana State Museum is located in White River State Park at 650 West Washington Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information about Celebration Crossing and the Snowfall Express, visit https://www.indianamuseum.org/experiences/celebration-crossing/.

DISCLOSURE NOTICE: The Indiana State Museum provided free parking and admission for media members to attend the preview on Nov. 22, 2021.

Categories: Uncategorized

“A Christmas Carol” at Indiana Repertory Theatre @irtlive

November 12, 2021 Leave a comment

Indy’s holiday tradition A Christmas Carol returns to the Indiana Repertory Theatre 
After a forced pause, the annual favorite lights up the stage with new changes, hope

Indianapolis, Ind.—After an interruption of its decades-long run due to COVID-19 last season, the Indiana Repertory Theatre joyfully brings back its holiday tradition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol this monthFeaturing the return of local acting favorites and the familiar hopeful spirit, this version, adapted by Tom Haas, will be directed for the first time by IRT’s Playwright-in-Residence James Still and will feature a new Scrooge, Indianapolis’ own Rob Johansen. This reimagined treasure will be live on the OneAmerica Mainstage November 26 – December 26 and available for streaming December 10 – 26, 2021.

“We have been longing to return to the beloved landscape of A Christmas Carol, having interrupted its 25-year stage life during COVID,” IRT’s Margot Lacy Eccles Artistic Director Janet Allen said. “The production will preserve the many beauties of our historic production, while re-examining Dickens’ text to find new resonances to our current times. It will also mark the return of beloved local actors David Alan Anderson, Ryan Artzberger (our Scrooge of the last many years), and Jennifer Johansen, playing new roles.  Given our social isolation and worries during the pandemic, we need the heart-opening lessons of A Christmas Carol like never before.”

At its heart, A Christmas Carol is a tale of redemption: of the scourge of isolation and fear examined and overcome through the guidance of four ghosts. Bringing that journey to new life, Rob Johansen will step into the iconic role of Scrooge. While Johansen is new to Scrooge, he’s not new to A Christmas Carol. It’s his 14th year in the production and his 50th production at the IRT.

“Each year the IRT lovingly makes a new version that celebrates Mr. Dickens’ story of redemption and like all art that endures over time, our relationship to A Christmas Carol continues to evolve as the story finds new meaning,” James Still said. “The IRT production is a celebration between actors and audience that ultimately restores a sense of awe and gratitude.”

HEALTH & SAFETY GUIDELINES
IRT’s focus on artistry is also matched by its focus on safety, and entry to the IRT will require a mask and photo ID, as well as proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test (administered no more than 72 hours prior to the performance). This vaccine and mask requirement will also apply to IRT artists (except when performing), staff, and volunteer ushers.

In an effort to welcome families and offer greater accessibility for all to share in the joy of live theatre and our holiday tradition, unvaccinated children between the ages of 4 – 11 who attend A Christmas Carol with vaccinated adults will only be required to wear a mask and are not required to have a PCR test. Due to production content and length, IRT’s policy is that children under 4 are not permitted in the Theatre.


The IRT will also have two performances of A Christmas Carol solely for patrons who are fully vaccinated. There are no exceptions for these performances and all patrons, regardless of age, must be fully vaccinated.

Vaccination-only A Christmas Carol performances: Sunday, December 12 at 6 pm and Tuesday, December 21 at 7:30 pm.  

Please visit irtlive.com/faq for the full information regarding IRT’s health and safety policies.

Categories: Uncategorized

10 New Things at the 2021 Indiana State Fair @indystatefair

July 22, 2021 Leave a comment

By Sharon Smith
Indiana State Fair

10 NEW Things Added to Your 2021 Indiana State Fair

July 22, 2021, INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indiana State Fair, July 30-August 22 (CLOSED Mondays and Tuesdays), is full of traditions and memories for Hoosiers, but equally important, are the exciting, NEW experiences to enjoy. Sign up for a yoga session with goats and pigs, be amazed as Mighty Mike bends horseshoes, or sit back and relax at the new Backyard Outdoor Bar. The 2021 Indiana State Fair is back in an even bigger way and has something for everyone! These are just some of the interactive new experiences that will be at your 2021 State Fair:

  1. Budweiser Clydesdales
    Known for their extreme strength and striking appearance, the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales are some of the most recognizable animals in the country and now you can see them while visiting your 2021 Indiana State Fair from July 30 through August 8! Visit these majestic horses located just inside Gate 12 north of the Farm Bureau Building or catch them in the Daily Parade.
  2. Forever Forest
    Explore how our lives are connected to forests in the all-new Forever Forest exhibit. Presented by Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association, Forever Forest is an interactive exhibit where children can play and learn about sustainability, selective harvesting, transportation needs, and the every-day products we use that are made from trees. This exciting new exhibit is located at the Farm Bureau Building and is open daily from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
  3. Double Decker Carousel
    The 2021 Indiana State Fair will feature a brand new ride: it’s the Double Decker Carousel! Located just west of the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand, the Double Decker Carousel features two levels of beautifully handcrafted figures, completed with tigers, zebras, and giraffes. Don’t miss a ride on this timeless classic, now twice as nice!
  4. The Mighty Mike Show
    Step right up! The Mighty Mike Show is coming to the 2021 Indiana State Fair. Witness Mighty Mike juggle bowling balls and sledgehammers as if light as a feather while dressed in a 1920s- style bathing suit. Prepare to be amazed as he bends horseshoes and tears decks of cards but try not to laugh at his goofy dance routines. Shows will take place daily in Hoosier Spirit Park at 1:00, 2:30, 4:00, 5:00, and 6:30 PM.

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  1. Bubble Tower
    Come visit the Family Fun Park to witness the world’s BIGGEST bubble toy in action! This machine is a solar-powered attraction sure to delight fairgoers all day, every day. Stop by for some bubble popping fun and to soak in the beauty of shiny bubbles floating through the hot summer air. Just follow the bubbles!
  2. Backyard Brats & Brews
    Looking for a shady spot to sit back and relax during your visit to the 2021 Indiana State Fair? Located in Hoosier Spirit Park, Backyard Brats and Brews is the perfect place to grab a cold beverage, grilled brats, and other snacks while enjoying live music and yard games. With its unique “backyard barbeque” atmosphere, this family-friendly area is great for all ages. Stop by Backyard Brats & Brews open from 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM daily during the Fair.
  3. The Great American Duck Race
    One water track, four racing lanes, unlimited smiles! Whether you’re chosen to participate or not, everyone’s a winner at the Great American Duck Race. Learn about Mallard ducks and watch them splash to the finish line while you cheer on your favorite. Located in the Family Fun Park, this unique and educational show takes place at 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 4:30 PM, and 6:00 PM daily beginning August 4.
  4. Street Drum Corps
    Street Drum Corps is a world-renowned, high energy, drum and percussion show, as seen on America’s Got Talent, American Idol, Master Chef, Glee, MTV, and numerous professional sporting events. The group has a punk-rock sound and uses unique instruments, such as garbage cans, rain barrels, kitchenware, recycled products, and even power tools. Catch their daily performances at the Fair, starting at 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. Shows will take place at the Family Fun Park July 30-August 1 (Opening Weekend) and will take place at the Gate 12 Kids’ Zone for the remainder of the Fair (August 4-22).
  5. The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show
    Filled with action-packed competition and lots of laughs, it’s the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show! The show features quality lumberjack competitors known throughout the world for their strength, skill, and athletic ability. Stop by the WGU Indiana Parklet to see them compete in events like log rolling and axe throwing. Shows start at 12:30, 2:00, 3:30, 5:30, and 7:00 PM daily.

10. Animal Yoga
The Indiana State Fair is excited to offer animal yoga this year, featuring some of your favorite animals including goats, pigs, bunnies, and lambs! These cute animals will climb, cuddle, and entertain as you partake in a 45-minute beginner-level yoga session. Yoga sessions will take place July 31 at 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM, August 1 at 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM, August 12 at 6:00 PM, August 18 at 6:00 PM, and August 19 at 6:00 PM. Each session costs $35 per ticket and includes admission to the Fair. Space is limited, so make sure to register today at IndianaStateFair.com and secure your spot

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ABOUT THE INDIANA STATE FAIR

The Indiana State Fair is the state’s largest multi-day event celebrating Hoosiers’ spirit and agricultural heritage. These 18 days celebrate Indiana agriculture and promote it to hundreds of thousands of people across Indiana, and beyond. Nationally recognized for offering great entertainment, showcasing 4-H youth, interactive agriculture education programs, premier facilities and a variety of unique, fun foods, the Indiana State Fair has been an annual attraction for generations of Hoosiers since 1852. The 2021 Indiana State Fair will be held July 30-August 22 (CLOSED Mondays and Tuesdays). The theme for this year’s fair is Celebrating the Hoosier Spirit.

One of the best ways to save money at the fair is to order tickets in advance. Tickets purchased online before 11:59 PM on July 29 are only $10 plus convenience fee, while general admission tickets purchased at the gate during the Fair are $13. Value packs of tickets, including the Family 4-Pack and Super Family 4-Pack, are available online only through July 29 at 11:59 PM. The Family 4-Pack includes 4 tickets and a parking pass for just $40 and the Super Family 4-Pack includes 4 tickets, a parking pass, and 50 Fair Bucks for $90. And don’t forget that children 5 and under get in FREE! Purchase tickets at IndianaStateFair.com today.

For more information, visit www.indianastatefair.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The @Amtrak California Zephyr: What an experience!

June 11, 2018 4 comments

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The Amtrak train station in Emeryville, California.

Peaceful. Relaxing. Quiet. Scenic. Breathtaking. Comfortable. Spectacular! These are all words that come to mind when I recall my first-ever Amtrak ride on the California Zephyr recently.

I’ve done some pretty cool things in my life. But none of them quite compare with the experience I had from May 29 to June 6, 2018, when I spent six days (three days straight each way) in coach seating on the Amtrak California Zephyr Superliner from Chicago, Illinois to Emeryville, California and back. It’s one of the longest and most scenic train rides in America.

Westbound it’s the #5 train, eastbound it’s the #6 train. The service operates daily.

On May 15, 2018 I published a blog that summarized my research into riding on Amtrak. Here’s a link to that blog post: https://aroundindy.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/tips-for-long-distance-travel-on-amtrak/. You know what? The advice I gave in that blog post turned out to be pretty accurate, so it’s still good reading if there is a long-distance Amtrak trip in your future.

Here are my thoughts after spending six days and 122 hours through eight states covering more than 5,200 miles:

    1. I was impressed with how smooth and quiet the ride is. The Superliner train is definitely a cut above the regular trains on the short-distance routes. When quiet hours were in effect from 10 pm to 7 am each night, it was so quiet that it almost felt like I was floating.
    2. The train doesn’t go very fast for much of the journey. Some sections of the tracks have mandatory speed limits that the train must observe, and in the Rocky Mountains I’d guess the train was only doing 20-30 mph a lot of the time as it snaked its way through the curves, canyons, and valleys. I think overall we averaged around 50 mph.
    3. I didn’t have any trouble sleeping at all. There’s a certain point where I simply “hit the wall” and just dozed off, waking up hours later in a different state. Sleep mask? Didn’t need it.
    4. On the other hand, I consider a travel blanket and travel pillow to be MANDATORY items for a train trip, especially in coach where I was. Let me tell ya: it’s C-O-L-D on the train. But after I thought about it, I’ve decided that this is intentional. I don’t think it would be a good idea to have a bunch of hot and sweaty passengers in a confined space for three days. So I think Amtrak keeps the temperature low on purpose. I wore a t-shirt, hoodie, and jeans, and I was comfortable with my travel blanket and pillow.
    5. Westbound we left Chicago five minutes after scheduled departure at 2:05 pm on May 29 and arrived in Emeryville three days later at 4:18 pm on May 31 — just 8 minutes after the 4:10 pm ETA.
    6. Eastbound we left Emeryville at 9:10 am on June 4 and arrived in Chicago three days later at 4:14 pm on June 6 — this time 84 minutes after its 2:50 pm ETA, but still in time to catch my ride on the Hoosier State #850 train to Indianapolis at 5:45 pm.
    7. Clearly Day #2 of the 3-day trip each way is the best. Amtrak plans it that way. That’s when the Zephyr travels through the Rocky Mountains during daylight hours between Denver and Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The views are simply spectacular (see photos herein). And here’s a YouTube video I shot traveling through the Rocky Mountains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKYOw8VWMOg

  1. I was really glad I took a 6-foot extension cord. There are two power outlets in each row of seats. I was assigned an aisle seat from Chicago to Denver westbound. Having the extension cord enabled me to keep my smartphone, laptop, and camera batteries charged without disturbing the passenger in the window seat. And although I had the window seat eastbound, I had passengers in the aisle seat from Sacramento to Salt Lake City, and then from Osceola, Iowa to Chicago. I plugged in the extension cord and shared it with those passengers, and they were very appreciative!
  2. I took raisins, peanuts, chocolate, and Little Debbie snacks in my carry-on bags. I supplemented my snacks with these microwaved items from the snack bar in the Lounge Car: Buffalo Chicken Tenders, Angus Beef Cheeseburger, Hot Dog, Jimmy Dean Sausage and Egg Biscuit, plus Lay’s potato chips and some orange juice. I only spent $36.50 on food in total over the six days (east and west bound), plus $10 in gratuities to the snack bar attendants, and $30 in gratuities to my coach car attendants. Hence, total cost for round trip on the Zephyr: $350, or about $0.06 cents per mile! 
  3. Your ticket cost will vary depending upon when you make your reservations, what type of accommodations you choose (coach v. sleeper), what meals and food you choose in the Lounge Car or Dining Car (sit down dinners were $18 to $39), and any discounts for which you may be eligible (I qualified for the senior discount). For these reasons, it’s impossible to tell you exactly what it will cost you. Just visit amtrak.com to evaluate your fare choices.
  4. The hot dogs were the most popular item in the snack bar. They ran out of hot dogs both westbound and eastbound.
  5. There was plenty of room for all my gear in the coach section. I put a suitcase and two carry-on bags in the overhead rack above my seat with no problem, plus my big suitcase went into the luggage rack just inside the door of the train on the lower level of the coach car. I had full access to my big suitcase whenever I needed a change of clothing or other items.
  6. I shot GoPro video, shot still photos with a small Canon point-and-shoot, and shot high-quality photos with a Canon digital SLR camera. I had audio, video, and camera gear spread all over my lap and seat and on the floor, and there was still plenty of leg room without annoying the passengers in the adjoining seat. Coach seating is very comfortable on the California Zephyr!
  7. There were no passengers in the adjoining seat from Denver to Emeryville westbound, and from Salt Lake City to Osceola, Iowa eastbound. The extra space was very nice indeed! But certainly there is no guarantee of this.
  8. The restrooms are not roomy, but they were clean and functional throughout my trip. Coach passengers do not have access to a shower. The lounge restroom in each coach car is large enough to accommodate a suitcase when you want to get a change of clothing and clean up. The tap water in the restrooms is drinkable, which I used to fill my water bottle. But there is also cold tap water with small paper cups available in each coach car.
  9. I’m glad I took a small roll of duct tape. I broke the cover on my video lighting unit, but was able to repair it with a little bit of duct tape.
  10. I must confess that I was really nervous about safety and security prior to my trip. I didn’t want to be robbed, and I didn’t want any of my digital gear stolen. Turns out that I was needlessly worried about this. I kept an eye on my stuff, of course, but I was pleased that there were Amtrak police in the stations, plainclothes officers riding in the train, and crew members constantly moving through the aisles. I felt safe throughout the trip (although I was panhandled in the Great Hall at Chicago’s Union Station).
  11. There were delays: A Union Pacific freight train held us up for 45 minutes in Denver (freight trains have priority over Amtrak), there was a medical emergency on the eastbound Zephyr that required paramedics to evacuate the affected passenger from the train, and there was a passenger situation at one of our stops in Illinois that required police intervention. But when a train travels nearly 2,500 miles in three days and comes in just 8 minutes late, I consider that a win!
  12. Don’t get off the train unless it is your stop! A man and his little son got off the train at a stop in Iowa, and the train started rolling without them. Fortunately, the attendant in the last coach car saw them running across the platform and was able to get the engineer to stop the train. Then we got a stern warning over the P.A. to stay on the train.
  13. I took way too much stuff: clothing, snacks, camera and digital gear, toiletries and travel items, etc. I could have gotten everything I needed into one big suitcase and left the other three at home.

SUMMARY: I’m now in love with the Amtrak California Zephyr. The “romance of the rails” is real and I understand why so many people prefer this method of travel. I’d do it again in a minute because (1) the price was right, (2) the scenery in the mountains was nothing short of bucket-list spectacular, (3) there are no long TSA lines or excessive baggage fees compared to the airlines, and (4) the experience is unforgettable and enjoyable.

Valentine’s Day Celebration at the Indianapolis City Market, Feb. 14, 2018 @indycm

January 25, 2018 1 comment

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Indianapolis City Market in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Joe Perin
Indianapolis City Market

Married couples are invited to start their Valentine’s Day celebrations with an opportunity to renew the vows they took when first married by attending the Indianapolis City Market‘s “Sharing the Love” celebration.

The event is open to the public and will include a wedding vow renewal ceremony officiated by Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. There will also be live music, cake and punch, a photo station, a card writing station, and special coupon offerings to participating City Market merchants.

The event will be held on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Those participating should arrive around 10:30 a.m. The wedding vow renewal ceremony will begin at 11:00 a.m., and couples will be welcome to remain after the ceremony. Cake for the event will be provided by City Market merchant Circle City Sweets.

WHAT: Sharing the Love – Valentine’s Day Celebration & Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony

WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2018, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

WHERE: The Indianapolis City Market – North Mezzanine

INFO: http://www.indycm.com or 317-634-9266

Wheelchair Accessibility Info
Enter the City Market from the East Side of the building. The East Entrance has door opening assistance and is distinguished by double doors. An elevator to the Mezzanine is located on the first floor at the north side of the building after passing through the breezeway as you approach the Platform.

ABOUT INDIANAPOLIS CITY MARKET
Indianapolis City Market (ICM) feeds the community and its guests by offering distinct foods, products, and services, in an environment that preserves and perpetuated central Indiana’s agricultural, architectural, and cultural history. ICM was on the original Plat of the City design by Alexander Ralston in 1821. ICM’s main Market House celebrated its 130th birthday in November 2016. Indianapolis City Market Corporation, a nonprofit organization, is governed by a 13-member board of directors appointed by the Mayor of Indianapolis and the City-County Council.