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Hamilton County, Indiana’s summer bucket list: part 1

May 26, 2016 by Kate Burkhardt

The summer season arrives once a year and brings with it the promise of drippy ice cream cones, colorful beach towels, al fresco dining and days that run well into the night. And, for me, summer means a long but curated list of "must do's" before the air chills and the school bus rolls.

This year, the Hamilton County Tourism team transformed into summer scouts, combing every nook and cranny of the county in search of the best activities for our summer bucket list.

Here is the first installment of our findings:

1. Enjoy waterfront dining - with two reservoirs and multiple access points to the White River, Hamilton County has a lot of water - and a lot of waterfront dining options. Get into vacation mode at Lazy Frogg on Morse Reservoir in Cicero with an outdoor bar and shrimp hut. Find Italian flair with a view at Bella Vita, located on Geist Reservoir in Fishers. Try famous baby back ribs at Wolfies Grill on Morse in Noblesville.

2. Splash around at The Waterpark at Monon Community Center - relax on the lazy river or hit the waves at The Waterpark! Kids can test their surf skills on the Flowrider, a wave simulator; climb the 3D ice wall and slide down one of three waterslides. For new swimmers, the zero depth activity pool and playground provides the perfect place to play and stay cool.

3. See a concert at Klipsch Music Center - a regularly top-ranked venue to see outdoor concerts; Klipsch (formerly known as Deer Creek and the Verizon Center) is a "must" for anyone who enjoys spending a summer evening outside. This season, 35 concerts will draw the masses to Klipsch's lawn and pavilion to rock out with names like Luke Bryan, Gwen Stefani and Jimmy Buffett.

4. Channel your creativity at Nickel Plate Arts - just because school is out doesn't mean creativity has to be! At Nickel Plate Arts in "hipstoric" Noblesville, both kids and adults can take a walk on the artsy side. Housed inside a charming historic home, guests can experience rotating art exhibits, classes, events and opportunities to meet the artists-in-residence.

Keep us in the loop while you check items off your summer bucket list! Tag #VisitHC in your adventures on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Kenny Chesney Tix

2016 Nickel Plate Arts Festival - Art-centric summer can last all year

May 26, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

The Nickel Plate Arts Festival is not a one-day event. Is it not about just fine art, just music or just growing community. It is not about one venue, one organization or one town. It is all of these things and more!

Born in 2012 out of a desire to draw together existing arts events and resources across the area we call the Nickel Plate Region, the Nickel Plate Arts Festival has grown - and continues to evolve - to celebrate, collaborate and nurture the arts.

HeART"Very quickly, it became clear that our efforts had yielded so much more than we could handle in one day," says Aili McGill, Nickel Plate Arts Director. In 2013, the festival expanded to highlight a particular community during each weekend of June, but more opportunities and stronger collaborative partnerships drove the festival's boundaries further.

This year, the Nickel Plate Arts Festival kicks off June 4, 12-5 p.m., at the Noblesville Library, and highlights communities and events that stretch well into July. McGill sees the future of the festival and Nickel Plate Arts' role in it as being an arts resource for anyone seeking to experience the arts in eastern Hamilton County and southern Tipton County.

"This year is more of a full-on celebration, trying to pick up events that drive the most engagement with the arts. We are getting to a point where we are helping organize, promote and direct people to arts opportunities throughout the entire summer," McGill says.

Borrowing a page from arts tourism success stories such as ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Nickel Plate Arts is working to become a robust hub of community activities including the Boys & Girls Club Bed Race, HeART of Tipton, Curiosity Fair at Conner Prairie, Old Mill Festival and more. The festival initiative is partly about introducing people to local artists and giving artists opportunities to sell their work.

ClayThe partnerships and energy that an event can create doesn't end once it's over. The HeART of Tipton is one such success story. Now in its third year, this festival's offerings are expanding and discussions about developing a Tipton arts council are taking place, which would benefit the community year round.

In 2016, the Nickel Plate Arts Festival continues to grow organically through grassroots efforts and seeking input.

"It's an opportunity to see what citizens love about art, and then developing ways to help them connect with art," McGill says. "One of the things that Nickel Plate Arts was founded for was to address the challenge arts organizations face when they work in silos, running up against each other for resources and sponsorship dollars instead of seeking chances to leverage resources and increase participation together."

Under the Nickel Plate Arts Festival model, multiple events taking place at the same time increases the chances for crossover among audiences to build attendance.

"There have been so many times in the past when the connections between the arts and people have been broken, and we're trying to bridge those gaps whenever possible," McGill says.

Nickel Plate Arts Festival Events Guide
Stop by Nickel Plate Arts to get your copy of Nickel Plate Arts Festival Events Guide or download it at NickelPlateArts.org. Inside, you'll find a whole lotta arts events to make your summer amazing!

Kenny Chesney Tix

Hamilton County Happenings - May 25

May 25, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

Summer has officially arrived in Hamilton County, Indiana! It's the perfect time to wade into the water or check out a farmers market to see what produce is in season. Read on for Memorial Day Weekend events and check out the Visit Hamilton County online calendar for even more. Be sure to check out our online calendar for even more Hamilton County happenings.  

Splash Around
Time to Splash Around
May 26
Various Hamilton County Locations

‘Tis the season for pools to open! Check out the River Crossing water play area at Conner Prairie or The Waterpark at the Monon Community Center in Carmel. Or head to the Aqua Adventure Park at Morse Park and Beach, complete with slides and obstacle courses. Relax on the beach and build sandcastles at Saxony Lake & Beach.
All that Jazz
Music and All That Jazz
May 26
Noblesville, Indiana

This is the kick off the summer concert series with some local student talent. Students from Noblesville High School will present the most unique final exam you'll ever find, a concert for the community on the courthouse square.
Drawn to the District
Drawn to the District
May 28-29
Carmel, Indiana

Carmel Arts and Design District welcomes plein air artists to paint the district. Join other artists and have fun creating art as often as you choose - paint 1 hour... 1 day... both days!
Noblesville Mini
Noblesville Mini Marathon
May 28
Noblesville, Indiana

This scenic event offers runners and walkers a tour of beautiful Noblesville and showcases the area's most beloved attractions such as the Courthouse Square, Forest Park, Morse Beach, and Potter's Bridge.
Westfield Ghosts
Westfield Historic Underground Railroad Ghost Walk
May 28
Westfield, Indiana

Take a walking tour filled with stories of ghosts of the historic Underground Railroad mixed with modern-day gangsters and spirits from Westfield's haunted history.

Want to always know what Hamilton County weekend happenings are coming up? Sign up to have this list and more delivered right to your inbox.  

Brews that Cruise

May 24, 2016 by Luis Ruvalcaba

Have you ever stood in front of the "local beers" section of your local grocery store and felt your heart sink when your favorite draft wasn't there? Or have you ever tried to replicate an awesome dinner from a local microbrewery only to find that the beer pairing was essential to the experience? Have no fear, take-out is here. There are several options for bringing your favorite suds home from the pub, allowing you enjoy HC's best beer in the comfort of your own home.

Carry growlerBottles or Cans - Typically 12oz and pre-packed for your enjoyment. Going this route gives you a few benefits. Obviously, they are the most portable of all the options. As the weather warms up I recommend grabbing some cans of Upland's Campside Session IPA or a bottle of their Wheat Ale. These will make your Hamilton County camping or hiking even more enjoyable; as if that's even possible. Pick these up at Upland Brewing Company (make sure you sample and pick your favorite before you go!) $9-12 per six pack depending on location

Growlers - 64oz of jug-shaped deliciousness. Available nearly everywhere beer is brewed, but make sure you plan appropriately. As I learned upon arriving in Indiana, even breweries don't always offer fills on Sundays. So my suggestion is to make sure you hit up Barley Island Brewing Company this Thursday (beer is on sale) with TWO growlers in hand to ensure you'll have enough local libations to last through the weekend. Keep in mind growlers are like propane; they cost less when you fill your own versus buying new for the first time. Approximately $7.50 to $15 per fill

Bullets - 32oz, the growler's kid brother. Available wherever you can find a growler, but try my favorite: Sun King Fishers Tap Room & Small-Batch Brewery. Along that same line, for those of you who are enrolled in Hamilton Counties A+ schools, if you needed two growlers and they are twice the size, you're gonna want four bullets. Enough to bag a 10 point Indiana buck if you're a good shot! Again, these follow the propane rule but are obviously less expensive. Approximately $4 to $7 per fill

Brew Bus - A literal bus that safely shuttles you around HC's breweries. This option allows you to cruise while you booze in a fun and safe way. BrewsLine will shuttle you and your friends to different Hamilton County breweries while you sample all the fine beers our local brewHeady Hollowmasters have crafted. Make sure you share your photos with #visitHC, but maybe only on the first stop or two. After that I suspect you'll want to keep those to yourself and the company Christmas party. $35 per person

Can't wait to see what brews you choose! Here is a list of some of my other favorite breweries to get you started:

Heady Hollow Brewing Company, Fishers

Scotty's Brewhouse, Noblesville

Danny Boy Beer Works, Carmel

Grand Junction Brewing Co., Westfield

Cheers!

Bicentennial Events in Hamilton County

May 20, 2016 by Emily Peterson

Looking for more ways to get involved in the Hamilton County Bicentennial celebration? With only a few months left until the Torch relay makes its way all across Indiana, and local business are gearing up to show off their best Indiana pride. Here are my top picks for Bicentennial activities to get involved in Hamilton County listed by upcoming date broken down into two categories; food and entertainment.

Food

Bicentennial Pours & Pints At Heady Hollow Brewing Company - Indiana on Tap
Cheers to Indiana's Bicentennial! Join Indiana on Tap and Hamilton County Tourism to celebrate Indiana's 200th Birthday through the art of craft brewing. From squirrel stampedes to haunted legends, learn quirky bits of history while enjoying a local craft brew. Stop by Heady Hollow Brewing Company for Bicentennial specials and fun on May 21, 2016. Make sure to try their specialty Bicentennial brews:
• 1820 Pale Ale - named for the year Fishers was founded
• 60 Horses Scotch Ale - named after the settlement package of William Conner's first wife who left with their six children and 60 horses
And don't forget to share your beer tasting photos using #HCbrews16.

Prairie Plates • Bicentennial Celebration With J. Ford's Black Angus & Upland Brewery - Connor Prairie
On May 22, 2016, celebrate our state's bicentennial at the historic Conner Homestead with Terre Haute's acclaimed restaurant J. Ford's Black Angus and Upland Brewery. Enjoy upscale cuisine and Indiana-made beer while visiting our newly renovated Conner House exhibit. Meet our animals, test your knowledge of Indiana's past and enjoy live performances from our talented interpreters.
An adult series (ages 21+) celebrating the farm-to-table food and craft drink movement with unique dining experiences throughout the Conner Prairie grounds. Reservations required, online at connerprairie.org or by calling 317.776.6000.

Entertainment

200 Years Of Hoosier Transportation - Nickel Plate Arts
As the Crossroads of America, Indiana has had a staunch reliance on and affinity for transportation throughout the years, as dirt horse trails evolved into highways, and a humble car race became the Indianapolis 500. During the 200 Years of Hoosier Transportation exhibit at Nickel Plate Arts, on display May 06, 2016 - May 28, 2016 (Every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday), we will celebrate planes, trains, automobiles and all of the other ways we have traveled across Indiana history. Expect to see photographs, paintings, sculptures and more during this month-long exhibit inside the Judge Stone House on the Nickel Plate Arts campus.

Hoosiers In History Told In Miniature - Museum of Miniature Houses
From January 21, 2016 - May 29, 2016 (Every Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday), To celebrate the Bicentennial, the Museum of Miniature Houses will install a special exhibit showing items from our collection that relate to Indiana's history. These include small replicas of Levi Coffin's Underground Railroad house, Major Taylor's bicycle, and the car that won the first Indy 500.

Art Collection Featuring The Courthouses Of Indiana - Indiana State Bar Association
Throughout May-Sept 12, 2016, Conner Prairie will display an art collection of paintings and drawings of Indiana courthouses created by professional and amateur artists commissioned by the Indiana State Bar Association.
The project began in 2007 under former association President Douglas Church, who is a board member emeritus for Conner Prairie. Conner Prairie was chosen to house the exhibit because of Church's ties to the museum and because the Conner House used to serve as the county seat and county courthouse.
Indiana State Bar Association's Art Collection featuring the Courthouses of Indiana is designated an official Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project.

A Year Of Hoosier Plays And Playwrights: The Nerd By Larry Shue - Westfield Playhouse
A comedy by Larry Shue. In this character-based comedy, selflessness and selfishness butt heads when a simple dinner party goes awry when the houseguest interrupts the party. This play is set in Terre Haute, IN. The play runs from May 27, 2016 - June 12, 2016
Director - Pam Kingsley

The Great Indiana Songbook: Two Centuries Of Hoosier Music - Center for the Performing Arts
Running until February 15th, 2017, the Great American Songbook Foundation exhibit celebrates the singers, songwriters, and songs of Indiana. The yearlong exhibit surveys the famous and the forgotten in its exploration of Indiana's rich musical legacy that spans all genres from classical to pop to heavy metal. The FREE exhibit is located on the Gallery level of the Palladium and is open 10-4 M-F.

2016 Klipsch Music Center Concert Schedule

May 19, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

Outdoor concerts are the essence of summer. Bringing fans with tans and headlining bands together in perfect harmony while the striking sunset sets the whole scene. Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville is the largest outdoor concert venue in the Midwest and was voted the fifth best outdoor music venue in the nation in a USA Today poll.

Kenny Chesney Tix

KMCZac Brown Band - Black Out the Sun 2016 Tour - May 22

Keith Urban - ripCORD World Tour 2016 - June 4

Joe Walsh & Bad Company - One Hell of a Night Tour - June 16

Dead and Company - June 17

Florida Georgia Line - June 18

Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band - June 23

Darius Rucker - June 25

Phish - June 26

Kenny Chesney - June 30  *ENTER TO WIN 2 TICKETS*

Def Leppard - July 1

Luke Bryan - July 8 & 9

Weezer & Panic at the Disco with special guest Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness - July 12

Slipknot - July 13

G-Eazy & Logic - July 14

Steely Dan with Steve Winwood - July 15

Rock Hall Three For All: Heart, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Cheap Trick - July 17

Vans Warped Tour - July 19

Disturbed & Breaking Benjamin - July 20

Jason Aldean - July 21

Dave Matthews Band - July 22 & 23

Hall & Oates - July 24

Brad Paisley - July 30

Gwen Stefani - July 31

Rob Zombie & Korn - August 6

Snoop Dogg & Wix Khalifa - August 11

Dierks Bentley - August 13

Fifth Harmony - August 14

Brantley Gilbert with Justin Moore and Colt Ford - August 19

Counting Crows and Rob Thomas - August 21

Dixie Chicks - August 25

Hank Williams Jr. & Chris Stapleton - August 26

Black Sabbath - September 2

Toby Keith - September 9

Blink - 182 - September 10

Rascal Flatts - September 17

Hamilton County Happenings - May 18

May 18, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

With the return of warmer temperatures Hamilton County, Indiana is FILLED with fun things to do! From festivals and movies in the park to a unique culinary experience. Read on for great getaway ideas, and find even more (yes, more!) on our online calendar.

Saxony Market
Saxony Market Opening Day
May 21
Fishers, Indiana

Saxony Market features the freshest produce from some of the best local farmers, delicious baked goods and prepared foods, handcrafted items from local artisans and children's activities. Saxony Movies in the Park also kicks off with Minions at Witten Park. You can also see Pan at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater on Friday.
Mayday Concert
MAYDAY Concert
May 21
Fishers, Indiana

Enjoy live music and a beer garden featuring beers from Danny Boy Beer Works. This all ages event includes children's activities.
Todd Carter
Todd Carter and The Looking live at The Warehouse
May 21
Carmel, Indiana

Hear music that has roots not just in country and indie-rock, but immaculate ‘70s singer-songwriter classics by Jackson Browne and JD Southe.
Arcadia May Fest
Arcadia May Festival
May 21-22
Arcadia, Indiana

The annual May Festival is this weekend in Arcadia! Browse the booths for arts and crafts and flea market finds or check out the classic car show. Be sure to stop on the Historic Depot Museum that has a wonderful collection of Arcadia Glass.
ZBB
Zac Brown Band at Klipsch Music Center
May 22
Noblesville, Indiana

Concert season here! ZBB's Black Out the Sun 2016 Tour with special guest Drake White and The Big Fire.
Prairie Plates May
Prairie Plates • Bicentennial Celebration with J. Ford's Black Angus & Upland Brewery
May 22
Fishers, Indiana

Celebrate our state's bicentennial at the historic Conner Homestead with Terre Haute's acclaimed restaurant J. Ford's Black Angus and Upland Brewery
Russian Fest
Russian Festival
May 22
Carmel, Indiana

Celebration of culture diversity. Ethnic food, folk music, dance, ballet, art, crafts, activities for children and adults.

Want to always know what Hamilton County weekend happenings are coming up? Sign up to have this list and more delivered right to your inbox.

Head Back to the Future

May 17, 2016 by Indiana Landmarks

home tour 1Head Back to the Future in Carmel on June 4th with Indiana Modern, an affinity group of Indiana Landmarks, for their ninth annual Mid-Century Modern Home Tour. The tour features five standout Mid-Century Modern homes in Carmel's Eden Glen and Eden Estates neighborhoods.

Avriel Christie Shull's name is synonymous with Mid-Century residential architecture in Carmel. Two of the homes on the tour feature late Avriel designs, including the home of Chris and Amy Scott. Tour attendees will appreciate the large windows which allow ample natural light into the Scott's home. Stone veneer features dominate both the exterior and interior and will deepen the public's appreciation for Shull's design aesthetic. A second Avriel design on the tour is the home of Jeff and Priscilla Ball. If you've never experienced an Avriel Shull design first hand, don't miss an opportunity to explore both of these properties.

home tour 2Jack Munson designed a home for noted neurosurgeon Dr. Julius Goodman in 1976. Goodman co-founded the Indianapolis Neurosurgical Group and was a national leader in neurosurgical education. Goodman collaborated on the design for his home with Munson, which includes stone veneer and wood paneling. This Mid-Century design is nestled into a robust tree canopy and overlooks Cool Creek. Now the home of Jeff and Nan Gerson, tourgoers will be delighted by the Gerson's art collection which includes several original animation cells.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the tour. Tickets are available online. Mohawk Trails Elementary School, 4242 E. 126th St. (east of Keystone), serves day-of tour headquarters, where you'll find parking and tour shuttles. Tickets are available at the school and each tour home the day of the tour.

home tour 3Proceeds from the tour support Indiana Modern's advocacy, documentation, and preservation of important Mid-Century Modern buildings and landscapes across Indiana. Indiana Modern stages Back to the Future: A Mid-Century Modern Home Tour to raise awareness for the preservation of Mid-Century residential architecture. Gain a new appreciation for Mid-Century architecture and interior design after touring the five distinct homes on the tour.

*ENTER TO WIN 4 MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME TOUR TICKETS!*

Photography credit: Garry Chilluffo 

Thank You for Smoking

May 12, 2016 by Caroline Mosey

For me, May signals the unofficial start of barbeque season. The warm weather is fairly reliable by this point in Hamilton County and backyard cookouts are in order.

BBQWe own a gigantic, burly smoker and there's no better smell than a pork shoulder in the midst of its low-and-slow transformation. It's a labor of love and well worth the effort. But sometimes, the need for barbeque hits and there's no time for an 8-hour smoke session. So then what?

Not to worry. Our 8 Great Towns have some unbeatable barbeque joints, ready to pile your plate with mouth-watering meats anytime we need it!

 City BBQ will hook you up with tender sliced brisket and perfectly pulled pork-not to mention some noteworthy sides. Their baked beans and vinegar slaw top our list of favorites, although you can't really go wrong with anything you plate next to a heap of smoked meat.

Big Hoffa's BBQ will change the way you look at ribs forever. Their pork ribs spend 12 amazing hours in the smoker achieving finger-licking perfection.

Big Dog's Smokehouse BBQ brings the heat with a variety of sauces, which you should drizzle liberally over plates of steaming brisket and pulled chicken (with mac-and-cheese on the side, of course).

And The Local may not be a BBQ joint, but they know how to make a mean pulled pork sandwich-give it a try next time you're in!

Visit a local meat market for choice cuts if you're doing your own smoking, or let the pit masters in Hamilton County do it for you. Your mouth (and stomach) will win either way.

Hamilton County Happenings - May 11

May 11, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

Art lovers, craft beer fanatics and country music fans will all be thrilled with the upcoming events in Hamilton County, Indiana! There is truly something for everyone coming up on the calendar. Be sure to check out our online calendar for even more Hamilton County happenings.

Drawn to the District
Drawn to the District
May 14
Carmel, Indiana

A trip to the Carmel Arts & Design District is a must for art lovers. This special weekend brings Drawn to the District continues where you can see artists creating right before your eyes and the Second Saturday Gallery Walk complete with music, caricatures and a scavenger hunt.
Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert at Klipsch Music Center
May 14
Noblesville, Indiana

It's time for the first show of the season at Klipsch Music Center, voted #5 Best Outdoor Music Venue in USA TODAY's Reader's Choice contest. Miranda Lambert with Kip Moore and Brothers Osborne will light up the stage for an evening of country smash hits.
Hotel Transylvania
Movies in the Park - Hotel Transylvania 2
May 13
Fishers, Indiana

Families are encouraged to arrive early and secure their seats as all movies will begin at dusk. Don't forget to bring blankets, chairs and your favorite movie snacks!
Rock the Junction
Rock the Junction
May 14
Westfield, Indiana

The inaugural Rock the Junction craft beer and music festival features approximately 25+ Indiana breweries and will showcase some of the state's best craft beers.

Want to always know what Hamilton County weekend happenings are coming up? Sign up to have this list and more delivered right to your inbox.  

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