Carmel, Ind.-Hamilton County’s arts scene comes alive for the end of September with the 2013 Indiana Governor’s Arts Awards and several festivals that will bring thousands to the county.

Carmel is excited to be the host city for the biennial Governor’s Arts Awards on September 26. As part of the celebration the Carmel Arts & Design District hosts special performances as well as tastes from Hamilton County and the other four Indiana designated Cultural Arts Districts: Bloomington, Columbus, Lafayette and Nashville. Purdue cheese and Brown County ranch dressing, among other fun Hoosier-based foods will be served in the art galleries from Noon-4 p.m. on Sept. 26 in this “Warm-Up” event.

Following the awards ceremony at the Center for the Performing Arts, nearby Carmel City Center hosts special activities from 9-10:30 p.m.  Local artists including dancers, singers and a classical guitarist will surprise visitors with impromptu performances.  The “Finale” celebration includes specially selected sample culinary dishes from Eggshell Bistro, Hubbard & Cravens and Matt the Miller’s Tavern at Carmel City Center for a small cash fee, in addition to full menu items inside.

A crowd of more than 30 thousand people is expected for Carmel’s International Arts Festival on Saturday, September 28. The festival is a free two-day exposition of 125-juried artists, Italian Madonnari style sidewalk chalk artists, and performances including the Indianapolis Ballet and a Chinese dragon and dancers.  

Atlanta’s New Earth Festival, also on Saturday, has been drawing visitors since 1973 with more than 600 vendors for fine art, crafts, antiques and food. Visitors can board a train in Noblesville’s Forest Park for a ride up to the festival.

Visitors can round out the weekend in Fishers for the Oktoberfest at Saxony. Oktoberfest is Saturday, September 28 from noon to 10 p.m. This festival includes German food, arts and crafts vendors, games for the children and of course a beer garden with live music.

The Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau promotes tourism growth through strategic marketing, hospitality and community development initiatives. It has welcome centers in Carmel, Fishers, and Noblesville.