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Staff Picks: Tailgating

Posted in: Indiana University Comments

Ah, fall. It's got to be my favorite season, followed closely by Christmas (which is a season, thank you very much). I love pulling out the comfy sweaters, attending the plethora of fall festivals, watching the lush tree canopy that covers Bloomington turn to a fiery orange and red, and attending IU Football games. And maybe just as fun as the actual games is the tailgating. Even though we aren't the dominant football team in the conference (though I am every hopeful we will be, someday) we can tailgate with the best of them! 

IU Football Marching Band 

In celebration of this fantastic fall season and the glorious tailgating opportunities now available, our staff will share their tips for having a success tailgate. Now, some of our staff are not tailgating pros (it does take practice) so they're sharing some tips on other ways to enjoy football games while in Bloomington, even if you're not at the football game.

  • Jordan - I like to set up in the grass lot between Fess and Woodlawn. There are plenty of flat spots in that area, so it's perfect for playing cornhole and those other classic tailgate games, and just right for setting up a grill and cooking juicy burgers.
  • Mike - Tailgating in the grass lots is more fun for the kids, with more room to run and play. But even if you're sans kids, there's plenty of entertainment in people watching (those students put on a show). And I bring salsa con queso, veggie chili and 7-layer dip to go with my chicken wings. And good beer, like an icy cold growler of Ruby Bloom from BBC.
  • Teal - My favorite place to "tailgate" now as an alumna who lives in town is Nick's! You can go with the family and sit downstairs or head upstairs with your friends, and always order some Sink the Biz fries!
  • Erin - The best place to tailgate is in the RV lot near 17th and Dunn. I tailgate with my friends who have a vintage, gold Winnebago named Hoosier Gold. That's where the party is at.
  • Marcia - I don't tailgate much these days, but I enjoy the grassy areas over the paved or gravel areas. (Note: there gravel areas are all gone, because IU Athletics paved the north lot this year. There are also some grassy areas in that newly paved lot- more places to play cornhole!) You have to do a pitch-in too, so there's a good variety of food.
  • Laura - There is great atmosphere for tailgating no matter where you are around Memorial Stadium, but some spots are reserved so it's good to plan in advance (see link at bottom of post). My favorite spot is along 17th street, in the grass in front of Assembly Hall. And I keep the food and drink simple: a cooler with an adult beverage, plus snacks or a pot of chili kept warm on the grill.
  • Abby (our newest staff member, let's see how well she answers her first blog question) - If your favorite part about football is that it provides an excuse to consume tasty snacks and chilly beers, then you'll want to follow me to Yogi's on 10th Street. They have plenty of TVs to keep all the football fans engaged, but they also have a marvelous selection of beers on tap and some of the best wings in town. (Not to shabby, Abby.)
  • Julie - I've tailgated on every side of the stadium and I think my favorite is between the stadium and Assembly Hall. Tons of people, you can watch the "Walk to the Rock", and watch the students across 17th Street act like, well, students. If I'm taking my kids, I like the lot between Assembly Hall and the tennis pavilion, it's a little less busy so we can spread out and not worry about traffic. And I pretty much always have some Upland beer on hand.
  • Ryan - I'm not much of a tailgate guy, but I've got a few tips to make it more fun: bring a hacky sack (mark my words, the hacky sack is making its return); don't forget the veggie burgers; leashed dogs make everything more fun; wear red or risk being on the wrong side of tribal retribution (he's kidding, Hoosier fans are incredibly hospitable and friendly); bring a lawn chair for people watching; invite your crazy uncle, as 9:30am with a beer in his hand is when he really shines.

So there you have it, our favorite places to tailgate, plus a few other random tips and tricks. It's a fun time, and the entire game day experience has been amped up over the last few years, with some great programming, facility upgrades and general positivity beaming from the IU Athletics personnel.  It's pretty awesome, for hard core fans and those who just enjoy the atmosphere. Check out the IU Hoosiers football fan guide page for all the logistical details of attending a game, including costs, traffic patterns and where not to park. And make sure you sign up for our countdown to kickoff contest for a chance to win two tickets to a game this season!

Now, where do you tailgate or watch the game?

10 Sure Bets in B-town for September, 2014

Posted in: Arts & Culture Comments

September means back to school for the little ones AND the college kids here in Bloomington!  Whether you're a freshman, upperclassman, family of a student, or just visiting town...we've got lots for you to do while you're here.  We hope to see you around town!

Even more great events can be found on our full calendar.  

West Side Story

West Side Story with George Chakiris - September 5

Actor George Chakiris is scheduled to be present at this viewing. West Side Story highlights the tensions between two rival gangs through a modern-day tragic love story based in "Romeo and Juliet." It brings to light aspects of race relations in a blue collar NYC neighborhood through an incredible cast, Leonard Bernstein musical score, Stephen Sondheim lyrics, and choreography. 

pride summerfest

Bloomington Pride Summerfest - September 4-7

Summerfest is a celebration of queer people and allies. This kickoff event is presented by Bloomington PRIDE and The Back Door and it's the first day kicking off a weekend of fun! Be ready for drag shows, comedy, and interactive activities. Attendees to the kickoff must be 21+. 

Monroe Lake

Harvest Moon Weekend & Cornhole Tournament - September 12-13

Head out to the lake for the weekend!  Friday activities include apple tasting and campfire recipes, Saturday you can try your hand at natural harvest tie-dying and of course the Cornhole Tournament.  Lots of crafts and things for families to do as well both days!

Balloon Festival

2nd Annual Kiwanis Hot Air Balloon Fest - September 12-14

The Kiwanis Club of South Central Indiana will conduct our 2nd Annual Kiwanis Hot Air Balloon Fest to support Riley Children's Hospital, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington, and more. We will host 20 colorful, enormous hot air balloons at this event and there is nothing more beautiful than to see these multicolored balloons ascend into the sky at dusk. Live music, food vendors, and retails vendors will be there as well!

Ok Go

OKGO - September 14

OK Go is back and touring to support their upcoming album, Hungry Ghosts, due out in Fall on the band's own label Paracadute. I could impress you with all of their accomplishments (the GRAMMY, New York Times op-eds, presidential re-tweets, the car that plays music video in that Super Bowl commercial....) but we all know their music and videos have stood for themselves over the past decade. Come out to the Bluebird to hear them!


Diabolique International Film Festival - September 18-20

The Diabolique International Film Festival is presented by Diabolique Magazine, the fastest growing publication in the world dedicated to genre cinema. Diabolique is the premiere showcase in Indiana for independent, international cinema in a variety of genres, including horror, sci-fi, fantasy and animation. The festival presents both short and feature films in multiple screening blocks spanning three days at the IU Cinema.

Lotus Festival

21st Annual Lotus World Music and Arts Festival - September 18-21   

Lotus brings artists from around the world to downtown Bloomington for a memorable long weekend of music and more. Showcases happen in multiple downtown venues; one wristband grants entrance to all performance venues (some events are free!). Also visit the free Arts Village for interactive visual arts. Check the website for updates and a full schedule of the festival!   

Harvest Wine Festival

Oliver Winery's Harvest Wine Festival - September 20

An all-day outdoor music event. Free wine tasting, behind-the-scenes winery tours, food trucks, gourmet food samples and live music all day. Bring lawn chairs or blankets! 

Comedy Attic

David Koechner - September 25-27

Actor, writer and producer David Koechner, an alumnus of Chicago's Second City Theater, got his first break as a cast member on "Saturday Night Live" and since has become an instantly recognizable face appearing in more than 120 films and TV shows. Best known for his roles as Todd Packer on "The Office" and Champ Kind from "both Anchorman films. Koechner recently received rave reviews for his role in the dark, twisted and film festival award-winning thriller "Cheap Thrills."

Rosanne Cash

Rosanne Cash - September 25

For much of her eclectic career, the Grammy-award winner has sought to spread her wings beyond the confines of the country music genre-infusing her rich and soulful tunes with influences from pop, rock, soul, and R&B.


Bloomington PRIDE Summerfest

Posted in: B-town's Rainbow Flavor Comments

Written by guest blogger Sarah Perfetti, Director of Fundraising and Events for Bloomington PRIDE, Bloomington resident since 2009 and IU alumnae.   

Bloomington PRIDE Summerfest 
Finally!  An LGBTQA summer event in Bloomington!

We at Bloomington PRIDE are often asked why Bloomington, the gayest city in Indiana, doesn't host a summer pride event. Well, it takes quite a bit of planning and volunteer brain power, not to mention financial muscle, to pull off a grand street festival. But that hasn't stopped this new nonprofit from taking on this awesome challenge. Our volunteers are a bunch of Energizer bunnies, and with the support of The Back Door, we've succeeded at bringing three days of rainbow-colored fun to the streets of our city. That includes dozens of musicians from a variety of genres, drag shows, and an array of family-friendly hands-on art activities like a photo booth with costumes, rainbow jewelry making, and balloon twisting. Of course, folks can also pig out on tasty food truck grub and wash it down with their favorite local beer or keep it classy with a glass of wine. Visit our website for more Summerfest details but here's the gist of it.

Bloomington PRIDE'sSummerfest Steering Committee is a group of nine dedicated volunteers, the owners of The Back Door, and PRIDE's director of fundraising and events. Our volunteers include IU students and alumni, parents, straight allies, and a drag queen --who've all been meeting twice a month since April. They take care of everything from collaborating with City officials and other pride festivals to graphic design and talent management. Because of this passionate group of volunteers, the first annual Summerfest will be bigger and better than we could have imagined.

There are loads of summer pride festivals around the country,so why bother hosting one in Bloomington? What's so special about our city and what makes this festival different from others? We often hear from LGBTQ people and our straight allies that there aren't many places in the Midwest - and specifically in the Hoosier state - to celebrate queer culture. But Bloomington is unique in its acceptance and celebration of the entire spectrum of LGBTQ and allied individuals. But there still aren't enough ways for LGBTQ folks to get together, celebrate, and make connections, because most of the time we're just living our normal lives. When we leave our homes we all just want to be treated like regular human beings because that's what we are. We're small-business owners, people with kids who worry about not mowing our lawns enough, people who like to play nerdy board games with our neighbors, people who accidentally wear mismatched socks to work, or people who want to hold our partner's hand on the way to dinner. Bloomington is one of those uniquely safe and supportive spaces where folks can just be themselves. It's the perfect progressive, artsy Indiana city to host an event like Summerfest to attract all sorts of unique people. 

We hope visitors will attend multiple Summerfest events. For people who just spenttoo muchon new rainbow sequin suspenders, there are affordable lodging options in town, or for the outdoorsy folks there's always free camping at the Hoosier National Forest. Fortunately, Summerfest is free so you won't need to spend money to enter. There are a number of adorable bed and breakfasts in Bloomington like the Grant Street Inn and Scholar's Inn Bed and Breakfast,or for a discounted rate, book a room at Hyatt Place, the newest hotel in town. Other lodging options can be found here on Visit Bloomington's website. 

Staff Picks: Tenderloin Sandwiches

Posted in: Wine & Culinary Comments

The Monroe County Fair just ended the 2014 run, and the state fair is still going on this week, so it seems timely to talk about one of Indiana's most famous fair foods: the pork tenderloin sandwich.  

Monroe County Fair

It's a beaten, breaded, fried circle of goodness, sometimes bigger than a dinner plate, sometimes thick and juicy like a steak. You can always find good ones at the Monroe County fair (the little stand between the animal barns and the fairway has the best- as you can see from the photo of me chowing down on one) but you can also get these glorious gut busters year-round at a number of fine establishments. So I asked our staff: where do you pig out on pork tenderloins?

• Mike - The Irish Lion tenderloin is a little different but very good. And the one at the Convenient Mart is good; they have the best convenience store food in town.
• Ryan - Upland Brewing Company has a delicious seitan tenderloin sandwich! That's my (only) choice. (Ryan is our resident vegan, which gives us a good perspective for all the herbivores out there. For those who don't know what seitan is, here's a link to a definition.)
• Teal - The Irish Lion! There's something about the sauce they put on it that's so good. I knew their Irish food was good, but was surprised that the all-American tenderloin was so tasty!
• Julie - I love me a fried tenderloin, but if we're talking pork tenderloin in general, I have to go with the shaved pork loin sandwich at Sweetgrass. The pork is juicy, and it's covered in bacon, ranch, cheese and southern style slaw. Now I'm hungry.
• Laura - The Office Lounge has a great tenderloin - the breading isn't too heavy-and I get it with mayo, pickles, onion and their old-school crinkle cut French fries!
• Erin - I haven't ever eaten a tenderloin in Bloomington (shocking!) but I've heard Yogi's has a good one.

So there you have it-several places to enjoy a good old tenderloin sandwich. I would say there are probably a dozen more that we didn't list. So tell us, who has the best tenderloin sandwich?

Uncork the Uplands: A Signature Event

Posted in: Wine & Culinary Comments

Guest blog written by Donna Adams, co-owner of Winzerwald Winery in Bristow, Indiana.  Donna and her husband and co-owner, Dan, come from German wine-making families and have certificates from Purdue University in viticulture and enology.

Uncork the Uplands 2014: 4th Annual Indiana Uplands Wine Trail Signature Event 
So, why does the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail call Uncork the Uplands its "signature event?"   In 2010, the Uplands Wine Trail received a grant from the Indiana Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant Program to create an event that would showcase southern Indiana agriculture and more specifically - grapes as a specialty crop.  The event was to showcase Indiana wines and foods and educate consumers about the importance of agricultural tourism and wineries to the State's economy.  The hope was to brand southern Indiana as a viticultural and agri-tourism destination to strengthen the rural economy and its agribusinesses in the region.

The first Uncork the Uplands in 2011 was held at Huber's Orchard and Winery in Starlight whose winery is surrounded by acres of vineyards and other fruit and specialty crops including blackberries, strawberries, peaches, apples, pumpkins and Christmas trees.  This setting proved to be a great backdrop for the event's featured guest speaker, Andrea Immer, renowned chef and the first female certified sommelier.  The event was a two day event with Friday evening's reception entitled "Culinary & Cocktails" featuring Andrea performing live cooking classes and marrying those dishes with Indiana Uplands wines.   Andrea had amazing things to say about the quality of the Upland's wines while delighting the audience during live cooking demonstrations with her and her husband's laid back humorous style.  Guests enjoyed wine tasting, Indiana foods from Farm Bloomington, Capriole Cheeses, Mapleleaf Farms, 240 Sweet Treats, the Indiana Pork Producers, Tabula Rosa, and Eagle Point.  Mango Salsa, Venison, Soba Noodles, Honey Ginger Ice Cream, Gourmet Cheeses & Tortes were just among a few of the items served from these magnificent Indiana restaurants and agribusinesses.   

The Saturday event titled "The Winemaker's Dinner" was a huge success with guests including wine lovers, event sponsors and Indiana legislators being seated for a 4 course meal.  Each course of the meal highlighted wines from the trail and throughout the dinner the nine wineries and their owners came forward to speak on behalf of their wines and their winemaking style.  What an awesome opportunity to hear directly from those who care for the grapes, harvest, and produce the wines that were being poured throughout the evening!  And if that wasn't enough Andrea Robinson spoke about the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail wines and how they compared to those she had tasted both nationally and internationally.  Andrea was on hand for a book signing and to talk to guests about her simple approach to wines from her recent book "Great Wines Made Simple".   And, guests were given a special wine glass designed by Andrea herself.

We returned to Huber's Orchard and Winery for year two and decided to create a single day event to make it easier for those attending to experience the entire event.  Hotel packages were still offered in 2012 as a convenience for those wishing to stay and visit the wineries as part of their getaway. 

We learned that the Friday night informal event was much more enjoyed by the guests and a much better way to showcase the agricultural products of our region than was the formal banquet dinner.   So, 2012's event took on a the form of a grazing dinner with the Saturday evening event beginning with  culinary demonstrations with special guest Daniel Orr, the internationally renowned chef and creator/proprietor of FARMbloomington.  The celebration featured sensational pairing stations of the Indiana Upland Trail's first-rate wines and regional foods, featuring Mr. Orr as special guest.  Daniel Orr is the author of Daniel Orr:  Real Food, FARMfood - Green Living with Chef Daniel Orr and creator of the popular radio show and podcast Earth Eats.

The grazing dinner proved to be a tremendous success with special wine cocktails, fantastic musicians, incredible green cooking all married with the best wines Indiana has to offer from the wine trail wineries.

It was time to make it more convenient for our guests in more northerly locations to attend and our event was moved to Bloomington with our grazing dinner taking place at the downtown convention center with optional tours at Oliver Winery's showcase vineyard of over 30,000 vines.  The wine trail was celebrating its feat of obtaining a American Viticultural Area designation for the Indiana Uplands which was announced in February. Therefore, adding vineyard tours to the event was important in educating wine lovers about the designation and its importance to the wine trail and to Indiana agriculture.

The Indiana Uplands AVA, encompassing 4800-square miles of South Central Indiana grape-growing terrain, has been pursued for nearly ten years by the nine wineries of the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail.   Implemented in 1978, the AVA system identifies the origin of American wines in a manner similar to a system used by France and since that time 200 AVA's have been established. A wine with an AVA designation on its label must have 85 percent of its grapes grown in that viticultural area. The designation also allows wineries in the AVA to designate wines grown in the region as "estate bottled."

The Indiana Uplands AVA runs in a band from the Morgan-Monroe County line near Bloomington south to the Ohio River, a distance of just over 100 miles. Its greatest east/west distance is approximately 65 miles, from near Jasper in Dubois County to Knobstone Ridge near Starlight.  The area is unique in its climate, soils and terrain and is defined by the remnants of an unglaciated plateau.  To be a member of the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail, your winery must be located within the Indiana Uplands AVA.

Building on the importance of the State's new American Viticultural Area designation, Uncork 2014 will take place at Oliver Winery's Creekbend Vineyard itself in Ellettsville.  This country venue will really help guests to truly experience the vineyard ambiance and the important role that the wineries play in both regional agritourism and agribusiness. Unocrk the Uplands 2014 will include a Barbecue Dinner and hog roast with music by Art Four Sale - a great Nashville-based jazz quartet http://www.artfoursale.com.  All nine wineries will be featured in the wine tasting tent set atop a hill in the middle of the expansive Oliver vineyard.  Tours of the vineyard will talk about the various grapes grown in Indiana and will include wine tastings in the vineyard of wines made from those grape varieties.  Hotel packages are available at three area hotels and tickets may be purchased on-line through the website at www.uncorktheuplands.com.  New this year, guests will be able to purchase their favorites from the varieties offered to take home with them.  We hope you can join us for this incredible celebration - all nine superb Uplands Wine Trail wineries and their wines in one great location!

10 Sure Bets in B-town for August, 2014

Posted in: Arts & Culture Comments

We're more than halfway through July, which means August and back-to-school time are just around the corner!  Bloomington still has plenty of fun events happening, so you can soak up every last drop of summer before it disappears.  

 Even more great events can be found on our full calendar.  


First Friday/Gallery Walk - August 1

Downtown Bloomington is celebrating First Friday & Gallery Walk! Check out all the participating galleries to see special exhibits, entertainment, & food.  Even the little ones can get in on the action with special exhibits and demonstrations at Wonderlab. 

2014 uncork

4th Annual Uncork the Uplands - August 2

Uncork the Uplands celebrates the new American Viticulture Area, the Indiana Uplands AVA.  For one night you get to enjoy tastings of all nine south-central Indiana Upland Wine Trail wineries in one beautiful location at Oliver Winery's Creekbend Vineyard!


Wonder Wonka Food Factory - August 3

Get your golden ticket to the Wonder Wonka Food Factory!  Enjoy such magical edible chemistry activities like making "aerobic ice cream", frozen cheese puff "dragon's breath", fizzy fruit soda, and much more.

comedy fest

The 6th Annual Bloomington Comedy Festival - July 15-August 27

40 Comedians.  11 Weeks.  39 Frowny Emoticons.  1 Champion.  With almost all sold out shows, the best audiences of the year, and the ability to decide the winner, the Bloomington Comedy Festival returns for the 6th year.  Wednesday nights, all summer long!


2014 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour - August 22-23

Showcasing a wide variety of story and style, the Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour is a 94-minute theatrical program of eight short films from the 2014 edition of the January Festival.  

creekbend blues bash

Creekbend Bluegrass Bash - August 23 / Grant St. Jazz Festival - August 23

The Creekbend Bluegrass Bash is $20/car and allows you to enjoy wine tasting, food trucks, self-guided vineyard tours, and live bluegrass music! Don't forget to hit up the Grant St. Jazz Festival while you're in town as well to hear some of Bloomington's finest jazz talent.

hillbilly haiku

Hillbilly Haiku - August 29     

Come listen to some live music at Upland's Brew Pub and enjoy some of their great food and beer!  The lineup includes headliner Murder by Death, Lydia Loveless, and the Kopecky Family Band.     

IU Football

IU Football vs. Indiana State - August 30

Indiana, our Indiana!  Help kick off the first game of the IU football season. Bring your friends and family for some tailgating and hit up the Hoosier Village before the game starts!   


Makevention - August 30

Local and regional makers of all kinds will be here showing off the things they've made.  This is a family-friendly event for all ages and a fun way to get involved in the Maker movement.     

4th St. festival

4th St. Festival of the Arts & Crafts - August 30-31

Exhibitors display their fine arts and crafts on the beautiful tree-lined section of 4th St. in Bloomington, close to downtown and Indiana University.  The festival attracts artisans and craftsmen from all over the country to exhibit, but regional talent is well represented as well.


Staff Picks: Summer Swimming

Posted in: Family Fun Comments

July in Indiana means scorching hot days with humidity high enough to be visible by the naked eye.  I'm sweating just thinking about it.  So what does one do to keep cool during these unbearably hot days?  Go swimming, of course!  We're lucky, around here there are plenty of places to go swimming, each with their own unique assets.  So our staff has provided their favorite places to cool off during the summer months.

  • Mike- The spillway on Monroe Lake is my favorite place to go swimming.  It's free, easy to access, not a lot of people are around, and you can take your dog with you. 
  • Jordan- Lake Monroe of course!  The side west of the causeway is great for wakeboarding and tubing, and the east side is good if you want to relax a bit, since it's the idle zone and a little more quiet.  (Jordan's answer hinges on having access to a boat-but if you don't own one, there are several boat rental places at the lake! Also, the official name is Monroe Lake, but most people reverse it, like Jordan.)
  • Splash PadJulie- The splash pad at Karst Farm Park is fantastic for families.  It's not so much a swimming hole (there's no pool, or even pooling of water) but the sprayers are great for cooling off and young kids can take part, which is awesome.  They have a playground right next to it as well, so kids can get wet then dry off zooming down the slides.  And maybe best of all, it's free!
  • Laura- Hardin Ridge Recreation Area at Monroe Lake is my favorite.  It's a little bit further away, but there is a good mix of sunny and shady areas, and places for kids to play.  There are also trails nearby for hiking, and camping sites too.
  • Teal- I LOVE the IU Outdoor Pool!  I have great memories of the one summer of college I worked as a lifeguard and taught swim lessons. They have lap swimming in the mornings and then open it up for recreational swimming in the afternoon, and have a separate shallow pool for the little ones.  My favorite part is the diving well.  They usually open up the 1, 3 and 5 meter platforms for jumping...it's the only pool in town where you can jump off a board that high!
  • Ryan- I like to go to Grubb Ridge trail head in Deam Wilderness and hike off-trail (north) to Monroe lake.  There are countless "private beaches" along the shoreline.
  • Erin- The IU Outdoor Pool is my favorite.  It's got a great pool deck with lots of chairs to layout out and good music over the PA system!
Fairfax Beach

So many options!  There are several other public swimming pools and beaches worth checking out, including Bryan Park pool (an excellent family option with water slides and zero-depth kiddie pool), Jellystone Park (they have a cool new splash zone) and Riddle Point Park at Lake Lemon (an excellent beach with less traffic than the Monroe Lake options.)  So the question is, where do you like to splash around?

10 Sure Bets in B-town for July, 2014

Posted in: Arts & Culture Comments

It's the middle of June, which means two things -

1) summer is really, officially here (well, as of the 21st anyway), and 
2) it's time to plan your July getaway to Bloomington! 
Here's a quick list of 10 awesome events happening in July. Trust us - there's something here you really want to experience! From family fun to grown-up comedy, Bloomington is ready and waiting for your summer fun. Even more great events can be found on our full calendar.  

School House Rock Live!

School House Rock Live! - through July 12

You remember Conjunction Junction, right? See it live on stage as part of the IU Summer Festival of the Arts! Get your friends from school together for a weekend, and be sure to bring the kids so they can experience it, too! 

Maria Bamford

Maria Bamford - July 2 & 3

Fresh from being named "Best Club Comic" at the 2014 American Comedy Awards, Maria Bamford comes bck to Bloomington for two performances at The Comedy Attic. Show time is 8 pm - you might want to get those tickets in advance...

4th of July Parade

4th of July & First Friday - July 4

Everyone loves a parade! Come downtown for the annual 4th of July Parade and live music, then stick around to celebrate First Friday at a variety of downtown businesses and attractions. 

Creatures of the Night

Creatures of the Night - July 5

Enjoy an interactive live animal show, presented by Indiana Wild. Presentations will be at 1:30 and 3:30 pm, focusing on the special survival adaptations of a variety of noctural species. Cost is $3 per ticket, plus museum admission.

Jazz in July

Jazz in July - July 6-25 

Join the IU Art Museum on four dates in July as they feature free Jazz performances outdoors on the sculpture terrace. Refreshmans are availble and the special exhibits gallery will be open from 5:3o-8:30 pm.  

Heritage Days

Paynetown Heritage Days - July 11-13

Take a peek into the past at Paynetown SRA's Heritage Days. The highlight of the event is Heritage Village, where reenactors portray time periods from 1745-1890s. As you wander, you may see a craftsman twisting a rope, try throwing a tomahawk, or step into a trader's tent.

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz - July 13 

Grab the whole family and head for the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre to see this classic, beloved family film starring Judy Garland... on the big screen! A unique experience, especially for little ones who've only see it on TV.  

Creekbend Vineyard

Taste of Creekbend - July 18-19 & 25-26

You've tasted the wine... now experience Creekbend Vineyard! Explore the beautiful vineyard firsthand in this unique event featuring a walking tour, wine tasting and personal cheese plate. There are four tour times available on each date. 

Red Eye Relay

Red Eye Relay - July 19

Take your summer running routine up a notch! Put together a team to run this 100-mile relay...overnight. That's right, they run all night long (and it's sponsored by Upland Brewing Company, so you know it'll be amazing). 

Monroe County Fair

Monroe County Fair - July 27- Aug. 2

Nothing says summer like a traditional county fair, complete with carnival rides, games, 4-H projects, animals and, of course, loads and loads of yummy food vendors! 


Staff Picks: Limestone Rocks!

Posted in: Arts & Culture Comments

June is limestone month, a time when the communities in Monroe and Lawrence counties celebrate the limestone heritage, industry, architecture and artistry that permeates the area.  Besides enjoying the sights along the Indiana Limestone Heritage Trail (as you can do all year long), there are special events and activities that only happen in June.  There are guided tours, presentations and special exhibits that all highlight that unique geological feature that lies under our feet.  You can find a calendar of limestone events and more information on that trail at www.limestonemonth.com.  To celebrate limestone month with this month's Staff Picks blog, I asked everyone to share with me their favorite limestone experience or attraction. 

    Bloomington Banquet
  • Teal- My favorite limestone feature is located in one of my favorite spots in town where all my favorite events happen!  The Bloomington Banquet sculpture is located on the B-Line trail right behind city hall, the same spot where the Farmers' Market and Taste of Bloomington take place.  It represents all the things that the town & the community bring to the table to make Bloomington so great & unique, and it reminds me of all the great food & restaurants we have here as well!
  • Ryan- I love the natural limestone bluffs along the western most portion of the Grubb Ridge Loop in Deam Wilderness.
  • Mike- I love the Gothic styles of many of the building on Indiana University's campus.  Every time I walk through there I know I'm being watched by gargoyles, serpents, owls and bats as I've caught a couple of their eyes moving on occasion.  It's a little bit freaky but very cool.
  • Erin- My favorite limestone feature in the area is the building that my great-grandfather owned and ran his cobbler shop out of (on H Street in Bedford) that has my last name, Erdmann, carved into a limestone header at the top of the building.
  • Tosha- Touring the underground quarry at Elliott Stone Company is unique and fascinating. (Check out Tosha's previous blog about the experience here.)
  • Carol- Several years ago I had the good fortune to take a walking tour of the IU campus led by Brian Keith of the Indiana Geological Survey. While I had always admired the beauty of the limestone buildings, the expertise and enthusiasm he demonstrated led to an even greater appreciation. The raw material itself is beautiful, but to see what generations of artisans have constructed from it - both massive buildings and intricate carvings - with a most knowledgeable guide was a terrific experience.
  • Sam- I've always been intrigued by the "little Stonehenge" at the Bloomington Harley  store.   How it got there is just as puzzling as the real Stonehenge, but I bet it was just a bunch of tough bikers.
  • Marcia- I like the limestone sculpture (Red, Blonde, Black and Olive) Red, Blonde, Black & Oliveat the Miller-Showers Park as you enter town from the north.  The two faces just say welcome home!  It shows that Bloomington is an outgoing and welcoming community to everyone.
  • Laura- I think the limestone carvers are amazing artists.  That they can take this huge block of stone and turn them into works of art is pretty awesome.  The visions they have and the care in creating something (one wrong tap or cut and they have to start over) is pretty cool.  (Check out the Indiana Limestone Symposium this month to see some carvers in action, or take a hand carving class yourself!)
  • Julie- It's not very experiential, but I like seeing the old quarries along the side of the road.  They're kind of haunting; these massive piles of stone surrounding cavernous quarries now filled with water.  But they're pretty too, and reminders of the powerful industry and the unique geology of the area.

The variety of experiences you can have with limestone is expansive.  There's great artwork, amazing architecture, nature appreciation and historical appeal.  And many times, there's a local connection to the stone or the industry.  Limestone is a part of Bloomington's culture from the bedrock underground to the gargoyles high overhead.  I'd say limestone pretty much rocks!


Explore Artistic Spaces in Bloomington - June 7-8, 2014

Posted in: Arts & Culture Comments

"I love to explore the places where people create their art, like being privy to the laboratories of scientists with their workings, formulas, diagrams and mysterious-to-me machines on display. Just this type of opportunity to explore exists in the Bloomington Open Studios Tour on June 7 and 8th. Forty artists will open their doors to any who wish to experience the inner workings of a studio space, to meet and talk with the artists and to see their art, both in-progress and completed, and to have an opportunity to purchase a piece directly from them.

An artist's studio is full of designs and renderings and is usually strewn with curious diverse materials like oily paint, shredded plastic bags, onion-dyed textiles, or torch-cut industrial scrap. Each space varies according to the needs of the maker, sometimes being tightly organized like a Montessori classroom or another an open, retrofitted space with materials, tools, and partially completed works oozing out into the surrounding woods. Myriad tools or mechanisms that assist the artist's making are layered about such as hand-punches for leather, a wood-fired outdoor kiln, hanging from the ceiling gantry devices, a sewing machine or loom, a computer, or a laser-jet cutter.

I had just moved to Bloomington prior to last year's event and thought that this might be the perfect opportunity to check out the art-maker community of my new home. It far exceeded my expectations. Not knowing my way around the city the maps guided me on delightful tours including city walks through Bloomington's architecturally significant BEAD district, tightly knit urban neighborhoods, the outer suburban ring with glorious gardens, and beyond the city into greater Bloomington's famous cascading countryside replete with yellow fields, hilly ravines, and limestone outcroppings. Some of the artists shared work or exhibit space while others worked in complete isolation. As a visitor, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in a dialogue with an artist, to simply listen to an ongoing conversation, or to view quietly and have only an internal relationship with the works of art. I found there was simply not enough time to experience all that I wanted to given the richness of offerings.

One artist showed her narrative daily diaries that took colorful pictorial form in machine quilted collages, another showed fancifully decorative furniture, and another displayed geometric, suspended pieces that juxtaposed brightly-hued fused glass with polished, sculptural steel elements. Yet another had a magnificent vintage letter-press on which the artist printed a range of objects from broadsides and chapbooks to posters and teeshirts, taking an early 20th century technology of communication and using it both as a nostalgic device while making it still relevant. Various painters used traditional watercolor techniques, or improvisational bold gestures in oil paint, or miniature brushed egg tempera in jeweled layers to render landscapes while ceramicists used humble clay to create mugs that fit beautifully in the hand to monumental hand-built sculptures that resembled cairns. Jewelers showed studios on an almost miniature scale, displaying diverse pieces that ranged from expressive connections of found objects to meticulously crafted, hand-sawed or cast silver elements imbedded with gemstones. There was such a broad range of ideas, processes, materials, and techniques this list could go on for pages.

Inspired and amazed by this enormous outpouring of creativity in Bloomington, I determined that I would participate in the 2014 BOST. My husband and I have almost completed the build of our studio/shop and will open it to all of you on June 7th and 8th. My blacksmith and steel fabrication shop is close to completion where I would love to show you some of my wares and sculpture, the glass shop isn't quite up and running yet but examples of torchworked jewelry are here, and another artist who paints birds and landscapes principally with watercolor and sumi ink in the manner of a Chinese brush painting will be displaying her work in our classroom/gallery. Many such duo showings are happening on this year's tour and in addition, some artists will be demonstrating their techniques.

This year's BOST has 40 artists who each will be delighted to talk with you about how their work unfolds, share with you their discoveries, and will value the fresh eyes that you bring to their process. And not so incidentally, there will be treats including the famous thumb-print jelly cookies of one of our artists!"

Open Studios Tour - Luna Song Designs  Michal Ann Carley - Luna Song Designs

Special thanks to our guest blogger, and BOST participant, Michal Ann Carley. With an impressive background painting, working for art museums and as a professor of art and art history, Michal Anne recently relocated to Bloomington. Here, she and her husband mantain Luna Song Designs, which is a teaching studio specializing in forging and fabrication, glass and woodworking. 

Did you know...

Bloomington was voted one of the top 50 places to live by Men's Journal Magazine...more



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Bloomington, Indiana

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