Friday, December 18, 2009

Just in Time for the Holidays

So, I don’t mean to be a real Scrooge here – you know, a Mrs. BAH HUMBUG! But, let’s face it, the holidays can be stressful – for anyone, but especially for that person that waits until the very last minute to start Christmas shopping. Ok, I did give myself 2 days before my first of four Christmas celebrations. What was I thinking? Maybe that sales would be plentiful the closer it gets to the 25th? Nah, not the case – in fact, I have witnessed the opposite – stores are practically preying on the idle procrastinators out there. Perhaps I was thinking that I might have more free time if I took a few days off to concentrate solely on shopping? Well, that didn’t pan out – decided to save up all my vacation days for the week between Christmas and New Years. Nope, basically I just buried my head in the sand like an ostrich in denial…ignoring my impending shopping tasks for yet another day.

You see, my shopping usually kicks off right about the same time as the Christmas Gift and Hobby Show, which really is - in my humble opinion - the true “kickstart” to the holiday season. And, it usually just gets me in that warm and fuzzy holiday spirit. For some reason, it just didn’t work this year – in fact, I didn’t buy even one gift – not one silly Christmas tchotchke. Though my Mom bought plenty for the both of us, and half of Central Indiana.

And then I did make it to a
Roller Derby Girls bout – which was amazing by the way, and it made me think….”hmm, these tickets could make some really fine gifts for friends.” Later, my thinking turned to the Indiana Ice – “wow, those tickets too would make a great gift for that hockey-loving brother-in-law of mine.” Finally, the Pepsi Coliseum’s public skating crossed my mind – my kids LOVE to ice skate. And, ice skating passes wouldn’t break the bank! I have to admit, there are options right in my backyard – and I wouldn’t have to get in a mess of traffic to purchase anything. Um, yeah, I’ll finish this later…I have some shopping to do!

Submitted by Angie Foreman

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hockey in Hoosierland

I admit it, I’m a little strange. I like to go against the grain sometimes and not always conform to the norm. I’m a man working in a department full of women. I work at a State Fair, but have rarely been on a farm. I am an IU grad who used to live in Lexington, KY (home of UK). And now, I’ve turned into a huge hockey fan smack-dab in the heart of hoops country.

Hockey is such a fantastic sport that it’s hard to even explain, and I’m not sure why more Hoosiers haven’t caught on. Don’t get me wrong, I love basketball, too, (college more than NBA), but hockey has a faster pace and the athleticism is just amazing!

In basketball, five guys work together to put an object in a goal. In hockey, five guys work together to put an object in a goal WHILE ON SKATES as the opponent tries to shove you down and slam you into the boards with the help of a long, hard stick… and it’s perfectly legal!

Maybe that’s what keeps more Hoosiers from following hockey, the “violent” component to the game. But then again, didn’t we all love seeing Danica Patrick stomp down pit road ready to duke it out with Dan Wheldon a couple years back?

In fact, after seven years of coaching my son’s hockey teams at the Pepsi Coliseum, I can tell you that hockey is much safer as a rule than many other youth sports. I can only remember one incident in all those practices and games where medical attention was needed.

Why extol the virtues of hockey? Because it IS a great sport – both for spectators and participants – and I want to challenge you to check it out. Take in an Indiana Ice game sometime soon. You might be surprised with how much fun it is. If you have kids, take them out skating. You might even want to bring them to one of our “Friday Night Hat Trick” events where equipment and coaching are provided.

So the next time you’re frustrated watching the Pacers/Hoosiers/Boilers clang another free throw off the rim, do yourself a favor and check out a hockey game. And if you actually get out onto the ice, try not to get checked into the boards. It can leave a mark.

Submitted by Andy Klotz

Yes, Virginia...It is a full-time job

When people find out I book entertainment and plan events at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, many have this reaction: “Ooh, that sounds fun! Do you guys work year-round, full-time?” My response: “Yes, most of the time, it is fun, and yes…we do work more than three months out of the year.”

Most people don’t know exactly what goes on day-to-day at the corner of 38th Street and Fall Creek Parkway, but with anywhere from two to five events each weekend, Fairgrounds staff supports the respective promoters with things ranging from publicity to setting up tables and chairs. After the events, buildings must be cleared and cleaned, which is especially a lot of work following livestock shows what with taking down stalls, tie-outs and removing any…um…unpleasantness…left behind by the animals.Up in the Presentation & Development Department – particularly my position as a Special Event Planner – our involvement is less with day-to-day operations and more looking ahead…WAY ahead. We begin searching for the next year’s entertainment immediately following the annual State Fair, and sometimes even before the Fair has ended if the show or attraction is a large, popular one desired by several other fairs around the country. There are promotional packets to review (which is a blog entry in and of itself), emails to read and websites to visit. Artists to track down and “entertainers” to avoid. Then performance offers to be made and “ding” messages to send. Dreams to be made and hopes to dash.

And we do it 365 days a year. Wait…make that 351 days a year. State workers receive holidays off, including Columbus Day and Washington’s Birthday. Employment has its privileges.

Submitted by Bobbi Bates

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Naptown Roller Girls ROCK & ROLL

So, what can be better than tasty beer, a fun *rowdy* crowd, great music, and some kick-butt roller skating action?! Nothing, really. This is just what you get at the Naptown Roller Derby - now rollin' at the Pepsi Coliseum. These bouts are something to see.

On Saturday, Nov. 7th, I had the honor of seeing these girls in action - a double header titled 'Whip This' - Naptown Roller Girls versus Bloomington's Bleeding Heartland. The first bout pitted the junior-varsity leagues: Warning Belles against the Code Blue Assassins - more like Code RED and BLACK. The Warning Belles beat the Assassins quite handily - final score 124 to 33. A blow-out to be certain.

The second bout was just as pummeling as the first - the veteran Tornado Sirens came out like gang busters - skating their striped socks off. That final score was a loaded 121 to 34. I gotta admit - I was expecting more romping action - girls tumbling into each other and innocent bystanders. We even sat in the coveted "Suicide" seating - right at the perimeter of the track - to no avail - no one even came close to being taken out. Ok, that's probably fortunate. Apparently, when the bouts are a little more...competitive...they do get a little less *friendly* - more testosterone-charged shoving and pushing to get ahead.

I will definitely go again - maybe even bring my 6 year old - she would dig the crowd and face paint - and probably a temporary tatoo or two. Check them out for yourself - next home bout is a double header, December 5, at the Pepsi Coliseum against Burning River! Live a little - sit in the suicide seating and just roll with the punches!

Submitted by Angie Foreman