Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Just Green It

Green, Green, Green. It’s a buzz word I know you’re hearing a lot right now. But, what does it really mean - to “be green?” Is it just a matter of recycling your paper and plastics? Perhaps it’s referring to composting your kitchen waste instead of tossing it in the trash? Or, maybe it’s taking a shorter shower to conserve a little water. Truly, it’s all of these things and so much more. You really can BE as green as you want. But, maybe you just need a little guidance - a push in the right “green” direction.

Well, mark your calendars, the first ever Greenfest Indy 2010 is heading to the Toyota Expo Hall from March 26th to the 28th.

According to Tina Jesson with Green Fest Expos, Inc., event organizer and promoter, “the expo’s purpose is to take green mainstream with the aim of informing, educating, and connecting businesses with consumers in our community.” Ultimately, the goal is to “be a little greener everyday.”

Promoters also hope the festival will create greater public awareness and easy access to resources available in Indianapolis and surrounding areas by hosting passionate individuals, green and eco-freindly businesses, and non-profit groups who are taking a small step in “being a little greener everyday. “

Many fun and family-friendly exhibits will be available along with educators, vendors with healthy food options, and community activities for kids and grown-ups alike.

Speakers include TV personality and Green Living Expert, Sara Snow. You may remember her from her early days as a Fox-59 morning news anchor? Now a best selling author of Sara Snow’s Fresh Living and host of the Discovery Channel’s “Get Fresh with Sara Snow”, Sara will share her enviable green living expertise with all attendees. Also speaking is Timothy Gray, an architect, educator and environmental advocate with extensive expertise in sustainable design.

Though this is the first of its kind in Indianapolis, promoters anticipate attendance will reach over 10,000 for the three day event. Expo sponsorships will be split into five Zone areas: Reduce It, Recycle It, Re-Use It, Re-new, Green Businesses & Jobs, Organic & Health. If you are interested in more information, please visit www.greenfestindy.com.

Submitted by Angie Foreman

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Flowers, Patios & Swag

Do you like to garden? No? Me either, but I do it anyway… and I do like the end result.

There’s something about having a well kept yard with flowers in bloom and fresh mulch connecting it all that makes the world seem right. Add a babbling brook and a fire pit with seating, and you’ve just created an outdoor paradise perfect for reading, entertaining or a nice summer siesta.

That’s what makes the Indiana Flower & Patio Show such a great event. Throughout the 4 ½ acre West Pavilion and the Toyota Expo Hall, you get to see a variety of outdoor paradises that will make you forget we’re still at the tail end of winter (with snow always a possibility).

This year’s show is themed “A Novel Idea” and boasts 29 sensational gardens inspired by each landscape artist’s favorite book, which range from The Bible to “Robin Hood.” I strolled through most of the gardens right before today’s show opening and they are absolutely incredible! Check ‘em out:

I know there has been some confusion about the other 3-day flower show that debuted in downtown Indy last weekend, but there is simply nothing that compares with this show. It is way better than any other show in the Midwest and compares favorably to just about any show in the country. It has 57,000 square feet of gardens, for Pete’s sake! It is also locally owned and operated, which always means something to me.

After 52 years here at the State Fairgrounds, this show has become a family tradition for many Hoosiers – a place to get excited about the upcoming seasonal change and a great resource to prepare for that outdoor project you’ve been putting off.

And there’s one other great thing about the Indiana Flower & Patio Show: FREE STUFF! Each day, the first 100 visitors that visit a show information booth and say “I love the Indiana Flower & Patio Show” will receive a free swag bag full of very cool items related to finer outdoor living. Another 100 bags will be distributed at random. How can you beat that?!

So make sure to visit the show sometime between now and March 21. And even if you don’t like to garden, you will love shaking off the winter blahs.

Submitted by Andy Klotz

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Big Cheese CONTEST

On any ordinary day, when I’m pondering great works of art (I mean, don’t we all?), my mind wanders with thoughts of marble…clay…bronze…and cheese.



If you’re a fairgoer, you are probably very familiar with the gargantuan cheese sculptures made by the “cheese lady”, Sara Kaufman. Each year, the American Dairy Association of Indiana sponsors Sara to sculpt something out of 1300 pounds of cheese throughout the entirety of the fair. Take a look at past years’ projects to jog your memory.

This year, ADAI is holding a contest. They want YOUR help in deciding what the Cheese Lady should create at the fair!

Click here for rules and guidelines of The Big Cheese Contest!

So what do you think? Michaelangelo’s Statue of David in a nice light Swiss? A Pepper Jack version of Rodin’s The Thinker? Personally, if someone were to sculpt a likeness of me, I would like to think I’d be made of a good sharp Cheddar, perhaps with Mozzarella hair.

After your winning idea is on display for the 17 days of the fair, just be sure to bring lots of crackers. And a really big knife.

Submitted by Claire Wilcher

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lions and Tigers and CLOWNS

Oh my! To be precise – one lion, twelve tigers and countless clowns.

Yep, it can only mean one thing: the circus is in town. But not just any circus – the classic Murat Shrine Circus!! Only the fellas with the fezzes can put on this kind of show.

Way back when, I can remember Mom taking my brother and me to the circus and being absolutely transfixed on the wonder of it all – from the lights, to the music, to the animals and the limber acrobats. And then I had my first taste of cotton candy – I was hooked.

I now have the pleasure of being able to take my own kids to the Circus. Ah, the sheer joy of watching their little faces light up at the action is truly worth the price of admission. In fact, I really don’t know what I enjoy more – watching ‘Neecha and her Dazzling Dobermans’ or my son’s face grinning from ear to ear for literally the duration of the show.

Luckily, I will have the opportunity to do both! We snagged affordable tickets for the Sunday, 11:30 performance. But don't despair, there are many opportunities to visit. The Murat Shrine Circus will take place in the Pepsi Coliseum from Thursday through Sunday. Click here for the full schedule with times. Yum, I can taste the cotton candy already!

Submitted by Angie Foreman

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Indy a hockey town?

It’s March. For some, that means spring is right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about outdoor activities. For others, it means “let the hoops madness begin.” But in the world of youth hockey, it means it’s time to get ready for end-of-the-year tournaments, trophies and celebrations.

DON’T CLICK TO A DIFFERENT PAGE JUST YET! I know that “roundball” is the sport of choice in Indiana, but you can’t deny that hockey is gaining a strong foothold – even in the Heartland.

TV ratings for the “Winter Classic,” the NHL’s annual outdoor New Year’s Day game, are strong here in the Circle City. And how about that Olympic Gold Medal Game – weren’t you on the edge of your seat? According to NBC, 29 percent of all Indianapolis residents watching TV were tuned in to Canada’s dramatic overtime win over Team USA… and that’s while Purdue was battling Michigan State for first place in the Big Ten on a different channel!

I believe that Indy does have a strong hockey culture and that youth hockey is really starting to thrive here. The Pepsi Coliseum Youth Hockey League presented by St. Vincent Health is doing everything possible to grow the sport for both boys and girls by offering:
· Free ice time and equipment for kids through its Friday Night Hat Trick program
· The cheapest league dues in town
· Payment plans for parents on a budget (and who isn’t?)
· Expert coaching through a partnership with the Indiana Ice

Although it’s too late to get kids involved this season, it’s something to think about next fall if your son or daughter likes to ice skate or just be around a great family activity. And who knows… maybe one day you could be in the stands rooting for your kid at the Olympics shouting “U-S-A, U-S-A.”

Submitted by Andy Klotz

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Indiana State Fair -- a Young Person's Perspective

Recently, my 11 year-old niece was given a school assignment to “create a brochure about something they know a lot about.” I was giddy to hear Laira had chosen the Indiana State Fair, excited to read how she saw the event and interested in what about it was important to her.

My sister emailed it to me: a tri-fold, six-panel, A+ marketing piece complete with clip art and copy written entirely by a 5th grade student. Three panels consisted of the basics: address, phone number, website, dates, ticket price and the all-important testimonials from classmates singing the praises of our Indiana State Fair.

Inside are some of the most enticing marketing promos I’ve ever read:

“The Ride are very fun, we have a water ride, big slides, roller coasters, just about everything. Sometimes we have the Mummy that one makes my stomach go crazy. The Rides do cost money you can get tickets. So those are The Rides hope you enjoy!”

“There are 4-H animals and 4-H exhibits. If you get a sign at your own fair that says you’re going to the State Fair that means you have to make your exhibit again and take it to the State Fair and we will judge it there. Then your animals, you can choose to take them if you want. The first week of the fair is 4-H week.”

“The Indiana State Fair is a place that you can see some really famous people. The best part is the tickets are only up to $20 per person. (Note: Aunt Bobbi was not consulted regarding these ticket prices.) Not like other places where it is $100 for one person. Some people that have been here are Raven, Carrie Underwood, Demi Lovato, Rascal Flatts, Rodney Atkins, Corbin Bleu, Kelly Clarkson, and Jason Aldean. Lots of very famous people. You should come by and see who is coming in 2010. Check it out it’s really fun!”

“Now you are probably wondering what the main theme is of the fair. Well every year we have a Year of the… One year as the Year of the Corn, and once year was the Year of the Big Tree, and last year was the Year of Tomatoes. It’s really fun to go into the mane gift shop and see everything we have.” (Obviously, this piece was created prior to our 2010 featured agriculture product announcement. Once again, the Gift Shop will be decked out…this time highlighting the “Year of Pigs”.)

“The Petting Zoo is more for little kids. We some years have a circus, we had Acrobats come last year in 2009, and there are animals. We have had Dora the Explorer come visit, and we have an Alligator show every other year. It is a really good spot at the fair to take your younger kids too. Oh yeah and a big hit is the pony rides! A lot of the kids love the ponys.” (Those in the know will recognize this description of the Riley Fun Park.)

“The Pepsi Stadium is where the 4-H animals are shown. We have the Queen Contest in the Pepsi Stadium, and the horses are shown there as well. Sometimes people go in there just to sit and get cooled off. It is one of the biggest buildings at the fair. So it’s just a little idea of where and what the Pepsi Stadium is.” (Yea…she mentioned the Queen Pageant! Apologies to Pepsi-Cola and our sponsorship contract that states the building be referred to as the Pepsi Coliseum.)

If those don’t make you want to visit the Indiana State Fair, nothing will. There’s something for everyone: crazy rides, fun gift shop merchandise celebrating pigs, champion 4-H exhibits, a good spot for younger kids, and really famous people! What does the Indiana State Fair offer to you?

Submitted by Bobbi Bates