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8 Great Things to do the First Weekend of November 2014

Oct 30, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB

Beards, brews... and skulls? It's going to be a frightfully fun first weekend of November in Hamilton County, Indiana. Take part in events like Day of the Dead at Nickel Plate Arts (that's where the skulls come in) or attend the brand new Beards & Brews event this Saturday. Read on for those ideas and more, or discover our full list of Hamilton County happenings on our online calendar. Day of the Dead NPA

1. It's the last week of the Apple Store at Conner Prairie! The shop will close for the season on Friday at 5 p.m. so get your fill of fall treats while you can.

2. Day of the Dead at Nickel Plate Arts is being celebrated in an artsy way. You can pick up a Calavera skull to decorate, or just come to the Nickel Plate Campus on Saturday to see a display of all of the decorated skulls. Plus there will be music, storytelling and snacks.

3. Thursday is the final day to take a haunted hike at Cool Creek Park. The Haunted Trails event not only has a spook-tacular trail, but also a much less intimidating options like the Trick-or-Treat Trail or Not-So-Scary Nature Trail.

Haunted Trails - Image4. No kiddos on board? Head to a Halloween celebration that has adults in mind. Check out the costume contest at Wolfie's in Carmel or enjoy the festivities at Blackhawk Winery. The winery will host A Night of Wine, Magic & Chocolate complete with chocolate and wine pairings.

5. Got a beard? Love local brews? Noblesville's newest event is for you! Ok, you don't HAVE to have a beard to enjoy this, but maybe at least appreciate them. This Saturday 6 participating breweries will have their brews for sale, plus supply best beard nominations for the Beards & Brews Championship. Categories include Best of Show, Longest Beard, Thickest Beard, and Most Creatively Groomed Beard.

6. Want to go on a Ghost walk? Better make reservations quick! Unseen press is hosting a Westfield Historic Underground Railroad walk on Halloween and Conner Prairie is giving creepy tours Thursday.The Academy & fitting area

7. Two new Hamilton County Artists Association exhibits open this weekend in Noblesville! Head to the Birdie Gallery to see the Community Creates exhibit that opens Thursday. Or check out the 64th Annual Fall Show at the Noblesville Library. Be one of the first to see the show by attending the open house from 6:30- 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.

8. Despite the changing weather, you can continue to work on your golf game all winter at Prairie View Golf Club! Attend their Academy Open House to learn more about the golf fitness programs and practice facilities. Plus you can get your clubs fitted on the spot.

How about some treats? No tricks! We are giving away a fun Hamilton County prize pack just in time for Halloween. Enter to win by 10 a.m. on October 31, 2014. Winner will be notified via email.  

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All-IN with William Knox

Oct 29, 2014 by Kate Burkhardt

William Knox, Hamilton County Sports Authority director and golf aficionado, loves weekends Hamilton County for many reasons - one of which involves time at a beautiful place of worship and reflection. William enjoys spending his Sunday mornings worshipping alongside his wife and two sons at Eastern Star Church in Fishers.

"We have a large church family at Eastern Star," William said, "but the friendly atmosphere helps us to feel like we know everyone."Eastern Star Church test

Eastern Star Church originally opened in 1920 and now operates at three different locations in the greater Indianapolis area. Hundreds gather every Sunday to attend services under the leadership of Senior Pastor Jeffrey Johnson.

"I love our church. It not only has great programs for adults, but for kids as well," William said.

Family-friendly activities are important to William. When asked about his favorite aspects of living in Hamilton County, he quickly answered that the excellent parks, community atmosphere and abundance of free family events make Hamilton County an excellent place to live or visit.

William Knox Head ShotWhen William is not leading the sports sales team at Hamilton County Tourism or taking his family to church on Sundays, he can usually be found teeing off at Gray Eagle Golf Course or munching on a "Big Ugly" at Bub's Burgers.

William Knox
Job: Director, Hamilton County Sports Authority
Town: Fishers
Social: @teamknoxwrk
Birthplace: Gary, IN
Years in Indiana: 37

Last chance! Show that you're All-IN and WIN! Share a photo of you and your family completing All-IN challenges on Twitter with the hashtag #ALLin_HC or go to to enter! Winners will be drawn Nov. 2.

(NEW) Prize packs include:
Tickets to Midwest School of Voice
Chocolate for the Spirit gift card

Brewsline brewery tour certificates
Simply Sweet Shoppe gift card
Dooley O'Toole's gift card

Golf School of Indiana lessons
Ricker's Cash Card

Indiana Transportation Museum tickets
Tucanos gift card

Jordan’s Eats: Strange Eats in the Arts & Design District

Oct 27, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB

Jordan, our Digital Marketing Coordinator, has a passion for good eats. And as a former football player, he sure knows how to chow down on lots of grub! So who better to tell you about some of Hamilton County's fan favorite dishes and eating challenges? Read on to find out "What will Jordan eat?"

I've recently tried some interesting culinary creations in the heart of the Carmel Arts & Design District- the P-B-B & J Burger from The Pint Room and Gator Jambalaya at Mudbugs Cajun Cafe.

PBB&J Burger- Pint Room

The Pint Room is one of my favorite places to, well, grab a pint. Their beer selection is out of this world! I decided to try a rather unusual pairing with my beer one evening in the form of a new burger. The P-B-B & J burger is described as being topped with sea salt peanut butter, candied bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, plus strawberry preserves and strawberry slices. I've seen burgers with peanut butter before, but jam too? This I had to try. Unfortunately, I don't think this combo was for me and there wasn't a substantial enough amount of the toppings to really make a difference in the flavor. I'll be sticking to one of The Pint Room's many other burger choices.

Gator- Mudbugs 

Obviously I am all for trying new foods, but the risk in trying strange new meats is something else entirely. That's why when I ordered the Gator Jambalaya at Mudbugs I was a little nervous. My food adventure turned out to be quite a delicious surprise. I have always thought highly of the local Carmel Cajun eatery, and the Gator Jambalaya lives up to their tasty standards. Having never had gator, I would describe the meat as being a mix between chicken and pork but healthier. It is on the denser side of meats but does not have a gamey or fishy flavor. I have a new favorite dish at Mudbugs! The only downside is that Mudbugs only serves Gator on certain Saturdays, but they will give you a heads up on their Facebook or Twitter pages.

Stay tuned for more of Jordan's Eats! What do YOU think he should try next?


8 Great Things to do the Last Weekend of October 2014

Oct 23, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB

Boarding Hayride headlessOctober is almost over, but the festive fall fun continues in Hamilton County, Indiana! Hop aboard the Pumpkin Harvest Train, see giant pumpkins fall from the sky, or do some early trick-or-treating (or local beer sampling for adults!). Read on for those ideas and several more, plus check our online calendar for additional happenings.

1. Have you always wanted to see a giant pumpkin hurled to the ground from great heights? Get to the Smiley Pumpkin Drop at Hamilton Town Center this Thursday morning from 6-10 a.m.! Pumpkins weighing several hundred pounds will be dropped from a crane for your enjoyment.  

2. Speaking of enjoyment, it's the LAST weekend to enjoy Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie! "Conner Scairie" will be open Thursday- Sunday for hayrides and many other activities. Also don't forget to visit the Apple Store before it closes on October 31. PumpkinTrain 149

3. Boo Bash is taking over the Nickel Plate District in Fishers this Friday. From 6:30- 8:30 p.m., kids (and kids at heart) can enjoy safe trick-or-treating, a costume contest, live music, and more. Be sure to look for our mobile tourism vehicle Pinny! Pinny will be dressed up just for the occasion. 

4. Pinny will also pay a visit to Boo ‘N Brew at Clay Terrace and you should too! In addition to treats for kiddos, there will also be a beer garden with local beer treats for adults. Plus, this event is free to attend.  

5. It's the last weekend to ride the Hamilton Harvest Train. Hop aboard to be transported via train to a local FFA pumpkin patch. Pick your favorite pumpkin and enjoy some fun and treats before hopping on the train back home.

6. There's a full weekend of fun coming up at the Palladium. Thursday catch the a cappella sensation Home Free. Saturday see acrobats fly high during The National Acrobats of the People's Republic of China: "Cirque Peking". Sunday night is a real treat. Ethan Bortnick, the youngest performer ever to headline his own concert tour, will stop by the Palladium to share his piano and singing skills.  Palladium Video

7. Rather see a play? See the impressive one woman show presented by Civic Theatre: "Golda's Balcony" that chronicles the life of world leader Golda Meir. 

8. Find treats and maybe a few tricks at Simply Sweet Shoppe in the Carmel Arts & Design District.  From Halloween shaped truffles to retro candy from your own childhood, this newly renovated shop has it all (including a gummy worm weighing several pounds).  



Fall Fun = Pumpkin Harvest Festival

Oct 22, 2014 by Sarah Buckner

Chris & Emmy at Pumpkin Harvest FestOne of the longest standing fall traditions in Hamilton County, Indiana is visiting the Stonycreek Farm. Quietly tucked away off of highway 38 in Noblesville, Stonycreek is a family friendly farm celebrating their 42nd annual Pumpkin Harvest Festival.

As a little girl, I remember going to Stonycreek Farm with my family to pick out pumpkins to carve for our front porch. I can still remember being surrounded by the pretty fall trees and crisp air, all while attempting to carry out a pumpkin way too heavy for my little arms - and these are now lifelong memories I am able to help create with my kids, family, and friends.

Pick a great weather day (which is easy to come by during fall in Indiana), because with all of the fun happenings, you will spend the entire day outside. Once parked (inside tip, parking is $5 on weekends), the kiddos of all ages are set free to explore. Tons of cool activities are set up around the farm, but I recommend the bouncy pillow and the bike track, two really silly events perfect to burn energy on a nice day. Hayride at Stonycreek Pumpkin Harvest Fest

Once you are ready for a break from all the action, hit the concession stand for warm cider and an elephant ear - a delicious fall treat (another tip, you need tickets for purchases at the farm, but they do take credit cards). After everyone is full and happy, take a short hayride to the field of pumpkins. Relax and take your time exploring for your pumpkin (prices do vary by size), and be sure to take a few gorgeous fall photos.

Found that perfect pumpkin? Hop back on the hayride so that you don't have to worry about carrying your heavy load back with you. Before heading home, sip on a cup of hot chocolate and leave happy, knowing your family just had the perfect autumn Indiana day...
The Pumpkin Harvest Festival is open daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., until October 31. Find Stonycreek Farm at 11366 SR 38 East, Noblesville, IN.

For more information on the Stonycreek Farm Pumpkin Harvest Festival, and for more fall events in Hamilton County, check out!


Pumpkin Fest cutouts



All-IN with Ellen Rosenthal: “Tell someone about a book character who you'll never forget.”

Oct 21, 2014 by Kate Burkhardt



Ellen Rosenthal, as her Twitter handle suggests, is Hamilton County's own museum expert. The Conner Prairie president helped earn the interactive history park a Smithsonian affiliation as well as a coveted spot as one of six museums in the book Magnetic: The Art and Science of Engagement. But when it comes to history, the New Jerseyan gone Hoosier is most interested in the STORY.


Ellen Rosenthal Head Shot

"The past is fascinating not because it happened, but because the stories are more complex than we can even imagine," Ellen said.

One story that has recently captivated Ellen is that of Thomas Cromwell, in the book titled Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

Wolf Hall is set in England in the 1500's and casts a well-known set of characters including Henry VII, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell. The novel recently won the Man Booker Prize, an honor for the best in British fiction.

"I will never forget Thomas Cromwell's character," Ellen said. "Mantel excellently portrays him as human, displaying the fullest range of human emotions. The way he feels the death of his wife and two daughters is expressed as if he sitting next to you, sharing his experience."

While Ellen enjoys reading, she also seizes every opportunity to be outdoors, no matter the heat index or wind chill.

"I walk and bike during warmer months and cross-country ski across Conner Prairie in the wintertime," Ellen said. CP Nature Walk sign

Ellen's favorite place in Hamilton County lies within Conner Prairie property lines, but isn't 350 feet above ground in the balloon, or even inside Prairietown, contrary to what many would think.

"We have a path on a bluff that runs alongside White River that I love," Ellen said. "You can just imagine some of the first settlers on canoes drifting downriver."

Ellen's passion for helping others learn and discover history's unique characters and stories is unmistakable. We hope to see her name on the cover of a book someday.

Name: Ellen Rosenthal
Job: President and CEO, Conner Prairie
Town: Fishers
Social: @museummaven
Birthplace: New Jersey
Years in Indiana: 15

Show that you're All-IN and WIN! Share a photo of you and your family completing All-IN challenges on Twitter with the hashtag #Allin_HC or go to to enter!

Prize packs include:

Try Something New!
Tickets to Midwest School of Voice
Al Basha gift card
Golf School of Indiana lessons
Chateau Thomas Winery gift card

Try Something Very New!
Indiana Transportation Museum tickets
Chocolate for the Spirit gift card
Brewsline brewery tour certificates
Scotty's Brewhouse Carmel gift card
$25 VISA gift card for souvenirs


8 Great Things to do the 3rd Weekend of October 2014

Oct 16, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB

Ghost walks, pumpkins, a run-in with the Headless Horseman... Halloween happenings are beginning in Hamilton County, Indiana! Discover tricks and fall treats this weekend throughout the county, read on for some great ideas. Check our online calendar for even more spook-tacular events!   GhostTour Group at tree

1. Only a few more weeks to catch the Headless Horseman and Apple Store at Conner Prairie! Don't miss these fall traditions of spooky fun and tasty treats. Conner Prairie transforms into Conner Scairie and it's a sight to behold!

2. Speaking of spooky, secure reservation now for local ghost walks, they are sure to sell out. Unseen Press guides walks in Noblesville and Westfield to show off history and haunts. Also check out the Conner Prairie ghost walk to hear tales from employees about sightings on the property. BOO!

3. Deal with the Dealer Day is this Saturday at the Carmel Old Town Antique Mall. Bring up to 3 items to be appraised by local antique dealers, or just stop in to buy or sell. The mall is a great place to uncover treasures like vintage Halloween décor. Halloween Classic

4. Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins. It's going to be a beautiful weekend for picking the perfect one in Hamilton County! Check out the Hamilton Harvest Train, Stonycreek Farm's annual Pumpkin Harvest Festival, Spencer Farm, or the Russell Farms Pumpkin Patch Country Fall Festival.

5. Touted one of the Midwest's finest tournaments, teams from Indiana and the region will gather for the 23rd annual Halloween Classic soccer tournament beginning this weekend. Fans are welcome to watch matches at Fishers' Cyntheanne Park and Hamilton Southeastern High School- admission is free! The boys tournament begins this Saturday and the girls teams will play October 25-26.

6. Love fish? Luckily for you, this Friday is the "Fish is the Dish" event. Participating restaurants in Hamilton County and the Indianapolis area will feature a special healthy seafood menu item. See the participating Hamilton County Restaurants here. Strawtown Koteewi Fall Hike

7. See some entertainment on the cheap in Fishers this weekend. Check out the free Fall Movies in the Park this Friday at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater. Or shell out just 12 bucks to see a fun musical at Studio 37. BEEHIVE! The 60's Musical is being presented both Friday and Saturday night. 

8. Strawtown Koteewi Park in Noblesville is ablaze with fall color! Take a hike on one of the many multi-purpose trails and check out the falling leaves on the banks of the river. Stick around in the evening on Saturday for spooky stories around a bonfire.

Live Beard Contest Shows Off More Than Flowing Facial Hair

Oct 15, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB

Beards & Brews

Just in time for the cool breeze of Fall, the brand-new Beards & Brews Championship will heat up a battle of beards, many representing local Central Indiana breweries. The event will be held on Saturday, November 1st from Noon to 4 p.m. in the 8th & Maple Ave. Parking Lot (just behind the Visitor Center alley) in downtown Noblesville. Barley Island

Now through the end of this month, partnering breweries Barley Island, Grand Junction Brewing Company, Triton, Fountain Square and Three Wise Men Brewery will all host preliminary beard contests on their turf. The preliminary winners from each of these breweries will compete to be named champion in the following categories on November 1st: Best of Show, Longest Beard, Thickest Beard, and Most Creatively Groomed Beard.

"This contest is not exclusive to those representing the participating breweries," explained event presenter Chris Owens, Executive Director of Noblesville Main Street. "Anyone wishing to enter their beard into the ‘community walk up' portion of the event is encouraged to do so-the more bearded, the merrier."

In addition to beard watching and contesting, this event is packed with fun for adults 21 and older. Each of the five breweries, plus Sun King will be on site selling their craft beer during the event. DJ Helicon will be on site to mix it up and derby girls will be doing demonstrations. Derby girls? Yes, The Circle City Derby Girls will show oHistoric Noblesville Squareff their derby moves at the top of every hour. Top it all off with shopping on the Retro 101 Fashion Bus and beard making, courtesy of Nickel Plate Arts

"Noblesville is known for having an abundance of great events," said Alaina Shonkwiler, Economic Development Specialist for The City of Noblesville. "Ultimately, the goal of Beards & Brews is to bring new people to Noblesville, showing off the great places and experiences we have to offer."

Tickets are available at the event for just $5 per person to attend, with a portion of proceeds being donated to Movember Indy in honor of November and its efforts to bring awareness of cancers affecting men. There is no fee to enter your beard in the "walk up" community category.

For event updates and information, visit




All-IN with Santiago Jaramillo

Oct 14, 2014 by Kate Burkhardt

Santiago All-In Fam pictureWhen Santiago Jaramillo completed the challenge to "share a family story piece of advice, photo or recipe from an ancestor," he not only reached back in time, but also across thousands of miles.

The photo above depicts his grandmother (left middle) at a social club called San Fernando in Colombia.

"The night this photo was taken, she didn't want to go to the party that particular evening," Santiago said. "However, in a twist of fate, this happened to be the night she met my grandfather (left)."

The Bluebridge CEO credits his grandmother with his love of board games. As a child, he frequently spent evenings at her home in Cali, Colombia playing games like Parcheesi.

"She was competitive," Santiago said. "She accused me of cheating whenever I won!"

Santiago's family immigrated to the United States when he was 10 years old, and at 18, he found himself in Indiana starting college at Indiana Wesleyan University.
After starting mobile app development company Bluebridge in his dorm room and graduating from college (in that order), Santiago learned about Launch Fishers, a coworking space for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Fishers Library's basement. In need of office space other than the 96th Street Starbucks, Santiago decided Hamilton County was the perfect environment to live and grow a business.

Now, two years and more than 25 employees later, Santiago still calls Hamilton County home - and still loves board games. When he's not leading the Bluebridge team or challenging friends to board game play, Santiago enjoys watching spectacular sunsets from one of Hamilton County's many green spaces or playing pick up soccer at Holland Park in Fishers. 

Show that you're All-IN and WIN! Share a photo of you and your family completing All-IN challenges on Twitter with the hashtag #Allin_HC or go to to enter!

Santiago JaramilloSantiago Jaramillo Head Shot
Job: Founder and CEO, Bluebridge Digital
Town: Fishers
Social: @santiagojara
Birthplace: Cali, Colombia
Years in Indiana: 6


8 Great Things to do the 2nd Weekend of October

Oct 09, 2014 by Hamilton County CVB

Headless_HorsemanTraditions are the theme of this fall weekend here in Hamilton County, Indiana. Annual events that visitors and locals alike love are back again. Get spooked at Headless Horseman, get your polka on, or attend a show during the Belfry Theatre's 50th anniversary season. Discover those ideas and more in this post, and find even more fall fun traditions on our calendar of events

1. The Headless Horseman will ride again beginning this Friday! Conner Prairie will transform into "Conner Scairie" for this annual October tradition. Explore this land of monsters, magic, and ghouls and take a hayride to catch a glimpse of the town's most famous inhabitant: the Headless Horseman. Need a break from the scariness? Hit up the Apple Store for caramel apples and cider slushies.  

2. Get those lederhosen out, it's time again for Oktoberfest at Carmel City Center this Friday. From 6-10 p.m. fest goers can enjoy entertainment from the Polkaboy band, a local legendary 14-piece band that plays everything from rock to, yes, polka. Grab a bite to eat and a German brew at one of City Center's restaurants while you're there! 

City Center3. Second Saturday Gallery Walk in the Carmel Arts & Design District returns again this Saturday. Make a glass pumpkin and check out the galleries to see what's new. Also stop by The Warehouse for the Art & Harmony event to hear various singer/songwriters take to the stage.  

4. Christmas shopping... already? Yes indeed, at the Christmas in October Craft Fair is this Saturday at Fishers High School. This annual show hosts over 150 juried crafters and benefits the funding for the Fishers Freedom Festival. Go ahead and get a jump-start on fining unique gifts for everyone on your list.   

5. There may be a fall chill in the air, but things at The Center for the Performing Arts are heating up! Grammy Award winning R&B singer Gladys Knight will perform this Friday and Saturday brings the international music sensation Samite to The Studio.    Day of the Dead NPA

6. Hop aboard the Indiana Transportation Museum Hamilton Harvest Train on weekends this October! A train will transport you directly to a pumpkin patch and fall fun area complete with fall treats and activities.   

7. Use every creative bone in your body to make one-of-a-kind spooky decorations for the season. Enter the Day of the Dead Calavera Contest this month at Nickel Plate Arts. Paint a skull to be entered into the competition, winners will be on display at the Dead of the Dead event on November 1. Or try your hand at painting pottery at Kiln Creations! They have several special ceramics available for Halloween.   Belfry Theater

8. 50th Anniversary season at the Belfry Theatre is here! This great local theatre group has stood the test of time. See why by attending the final performances of "The Desk Set" this weekend. This romantic comedy was originally produced at the Belfry for the 1983-1984 season and is now back for the 50th season.   

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