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As we get closer to back-to-school time, we've all got things on our summer must-do list that we just haven't gotten to yet... but just in case you don't, here are 10 (+1) great things to do in Bloomington to add to your list along with some Townie Tips for getting the most out of your visit to Bloomington.
The Monroe County
Fair (July 28 - Aug. 4)
Everyone loves a good county fair, right? Whether you're into the rides, games, animals or performances you'll find something you love at the Monroe County Fairgrounds! (Townie Tip: Check here for details on admission and parking. If you're bringing the family it pays to know when bracelet and carload nights are in effect!)
Community Farmers' Market
The largest in Southern Indiana, this Saturday morning tradition is a don't-miss when you're in B-town. (Townie Tip: Don't miss out if you're not in town on Saturday - a smaller version of the Bloomington Farmers' Market takes place every Tuesday from 4-7 pm at 6th and Madison Streets.)
Starlite Drive In
If you've never experienced an old-fashioned drive in movie, it's about time you did! Starlite is one of the best drive ins around, featuring two recent releases for your admission. (Townie Tip: Arrive a little early - they often sell out - and come hungry - the concession stand is very good.)
4) Karst Farm Park
Located on the west side of Bloomington, Karst Farm Park is a soccer facility, but it's hidden gem is the splash pad, providing wet summer fun for all ages and abilities! (Townie Tip: The Splash Pad is open Friday - Monday. For smaller crowds, we recommend visiting on Mondays.)
Take in a Concert (or
Movie) in a Park -
Throughout the summer, the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department offers live musical (and theatrical) entertainment. Tuesday Lunch Concerts in People's Park, Thursday Concerts in Third Street Park, Friday Movies or Sunday Concerts at Bryan Park are all great options. (Townie Tip: Bring a lawn chair or blanket... and bug spray!)
Enjoy some Local Ice
Yes, we all love Dairy Queen Blizzards, but just this once, bypass the big-name favorites and experience locally-crafted ice cream at its finest! (Townie Tip: Here's the low-down on your three choices for locally made ice cream - The Chocolate Moose is the ultimate B-town tradition with several specialties, Jiffy Treet has multiple locations and an incredible variety of toppings and Hartzell's is the place to go if you're craving seriously unique flavors.)
Rent a Boat on Lake
Indiana's largest lake is the perfect place to cool off when the summer gets hot! Choose from Paradise Boat Rental at Fairfax SRA or Lake Monroe Boat Rental at Paynetown SRA. (Townie Tip: Yes, pontoons are fun, but if you want to see the lake -and possibly some wildlife - from a different angle, think about renting a kayak or canoe.)
Visit the Indiana
University Art Museum
One of the best collegiate art museums in the country, the building was designed by architectural legend I.M. Pei and features an incredible variety of works from some of the best known masters like Picasso and Monet. (Townie Tip: Go back after dark! One of the traditions that incoming IU freshman experience is to visit the IU Art Museum after dark and lie on the ground with their feet against the building's walls, relax and enjoy the light totem.)
9) WonderLab's Simple
WonderLab is a win no matter what time of year it is, but this summer they've got a super-cool temporary exhibit called Simple Machine Mania. Fun for all ages, it features hands on activities with pulleys, a giant biomechanical hand and more! (Townie Tip: Do not miss the giant biomechanical hand - it's very rare and a popular part of the exhibit, so be prepared for a short wait. Don't worry, it's worth it!)
10) Climb the Fire Tower
Yeah, it'll be a lot of steps... and you'll probably be hot and sweaty when you get to the top, but trust us... the view is worth it! (Townie Tip: Take your camera and go in the early morning or the evening for two reasons - first, it will be a little cooler than midday and second, watching the sun rise or set from the top of the fire tower is incredible.)
If you've been to Bloomington several times, or if you can't get here until after summer's over, here's our bonus activity that can take you through into fall:
+1 Bonus: Hunt for Brains
No, we're not talking about smart people, though there are a lot of those here in Bloomington. We're talking about the Brain Extravaganza, a public art project spearheaded by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist and IU professor who suffered a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain in 1996. The project will be on display through October 15 and aims to raise awareness about brains and brain injuries, but it also provides lots of fun! (Townie Tip: Check in with your mobile device at all 22 brains to color an image of your own brain that you can compare to famous Bloomingtonians or share with your friends on Facebook!)
Congratulations to our winner of two tickets to The Taming of the Shrew last week!
This week, we've got another voucher good for two Indiana Festival Theatre tickets - this time for the production of You Can't Take it With You, which opened last Thursday and runs through July 29,
This fun, family centered comedy features the unconventional Sycamore family and the mayhem that ensues when their daughter's fiance arrives with his prim and proper parents for an introductory dinner on he wrong night (can you say awkward?). Fireworks fly with the quirky behaviors of the Sycamores collide with the Kirbys' buttoned-up attitudes... and the audience discovers the universality of family and learns that sometimes our family eccentricities are the ties that bind.
So, you know the drill this time, right? Simply comment on this blog post for a chance to win. Tell us about your favorite memory or expereince in Bloomington involving family (or close friends - what can we say, we're flexible!). Each comment has a chance to win and a winner will be chosen this Thursday, July 19, in the afternoon, so you've got two days to get entered!
Be sure to share your comment on Facebook, so your family and friends can enter to win, too!
Posted on: Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 7:05 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
This is the first in a three-part series of posts about the Indiana Festival Theatre's summer productions. William Shakespeare's classic comedy The Taming of the Shrew is currently being performed at the Wells-Metz Theatre on the IU campus. The show will continue through July 27 and we've got a voucher good for two tickets for one lucky B-town Blog reader!
In Shakespeare's day, "comedy" meant only that the lead character didn't die. Here, it means that the fun button has been punched and turned up loud, " said The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about this play.
This is Shakespeare's take on the classic battle of the sexes as a desperate father insists that his eldest daughter, the temperamental Kate, find a husband before the fair younger sister may marry. Enter the passionate, cocksure Petruchio who spirits Kate away to "tame" her. Crockery shall be thrown!
So, how do you win the tickets? Simply comment on this blog post! Yep, that's it. Tell us what you love about Bloomington in the summer. Every comment has a chance to win and a winner will be chosen this Thursday, July 12, in the afternoon, so you've got two days to get entered!
Well, what are you waiting for?
Posted on: Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 6:01 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
If you love Jack Kerouac, you've got to make plans to be in Bloomington, Indiana between May 18 and June 2, 2012. The Bloomington Playwrights Project and Indiana University are gearing up to present Maggie Cassidy: An American Musical as part of the BPP & IU New Musical Series.
Maggie Cassidy is a musical adaptation of Jack Kerouac's highly autobiographical novel of the same name (a predecessor to On the Road). This production, created by Chris Jeffries based on Kerouac's novel, is the first stage play ever produced with the support of the Kerouac estate and we're proud that it's starting right here in Bloomington!
Maggie Cassidy presents a new and unfamiliar look at Jack Kerouac, before he wrote the American classic On the Road and became the father of the Beat Generation. The forces that shaped him - tensions surrounding his religion, cultural economic background and an America struggling to find itself again after the Great Depression - are all present and at play. Maggie Cassidy is the powerful sotry of a great American author coming of age.
The musical tells the story of Kerouac's early years as a French-Canadian high school start athlete and would-be writer on whom everyone in town pins their opes. He has everything, except someone who understands his passion for writing... until he meets and falls in love with the Irish girl from the other side of the tracks, Maggie Cassidy. His love for her creates a new dream that threatens to derail his plans to leave his hometown of lowell behind.
The cast will feature talented students from the Indiana University Theatre & Drama Department under the direction of BPP Producing Artistic Director, Chat Rabinovitz. The production will feature a one-of-a-kind scenic design by resident artist Shane Cinal.
Performances of Maggie Cassidy are scheduled for May 18, 19, 24 - 26 and May 31 - June 2 and 8 pm and May 20 at 2 pm at the Bloomington Playwrights Project theatre located on West 9th Street in downtown Bloomington. Tickets are $18, available online through the BCT Box Office. A special $89 rate is available at the Bloomington Holiday Inn in connection with the production. Details are available on our Special Offers Page.Posted on: Monday, Apr 23, 2012 1:04 PM by: Tosha Daugherty
Spring break in B-town is drawing to a close and soon we'll have thousands of students back on campus and around town sporting tans and souvenir t-shirts from their various spring break travels. Over the course of the week, however, we spotted several students still in the area.
So, what's a student (or visitor) to do in Bloomington over spring break?
Posted on: Thursday, Mar 15, 2012 8:32 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
I was fortunate to acquire a set of tickets to last night's IU Men's Basketball game at Assembly Hall. If you've never been lucky enough to catch a home game at the Hall, here's a snapshot of what that experience is like:
It was a cold, snowy night in Bloomington...
Perfect for warming up at a local pub like Crazy Horse with some great food and a pitcher of your favorite beverage (for us on this night it was Woodchuck cider).
The venue was legendary, with five NCAA banners hanging proudly in place.
The atmosphere was incredible with a nearly packed house of cheering fans clad in IU red, the pep band, the big heads, and even a celebrity spotting or two!
Yes, the Hoosiers sadly ended up losing a close game to Minnesota, but the Hoosier Basketball experience was still an incredible way to spend the evening, and the nail-biting, heart pounding, down-to-the-wire finish reminded me that win or lose...
This is Indiana. We love the game. We love the experience.
Downtown Bloomington is, well... lit up like a Christmas tree, and we're ready to start celebrating the holiday season! We've even got a gift for one lucky B-town Blog reader - two tickets to this year's performance of the Chimes of Christmas at the IU Auditorium.
A true Indiana University tradition, the Chimes features performances from incredible ensembles from the Jacobs School of Music and great holiday music, perfect for a fun holiday evening out.
So, for a chance to win two tickets to the Chimes of Christmas and a Grazie! Italian Eatery gift certificate, leave us a comment and tell us all about your most favorite thing about the holiday season in Bloomington!
We'll announce a winner on Friday. Good luck!Posted on: Tuesday, Nov 29, 2011 6:54 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
We've got two tickets to the ultimate Indiana football rivalry game - IU vs Purdue, or the Old Oaken Bucket Game and, that's right, we're giving them away! What better place is there for a Hoosier fan to celebrate the Thanksgiving weekend?
Regardless of the rest of the season, both the IU Hoosiers and the Purdue Boilermakers always up the intensity for this contest. At stake? Possession of the legendary Oaken Bucket... and statewide bragging rights! Be there for this year's historic game on November 26th.
But wait, there's more!
You know us, we just love giving away great Bloomington experiences, so here's what we're going to do: In addition to the two tickets to the game, we're also going to give our lucky winner a gift certificate to B-town Pizza for tailgate munchies... and a gift certificate to the Scholars Inn for dinner after the game! (Scholars Inn certificate can be used at either the Gourmet Cafe & Wine Bar or the Bakehouse.)
So, what do you have to do to win this fabulous prize? Nothing too complicated... just leave a comment on this blog post and share your favorite Oaken Bucket Game memory!
We'll randomly choose a winner on Friday afternoon.
There's a hint of color in the trees, fresh cider on the shelves at Musgrave Orchard and a huge variety of special events and performances on the Visit Bloomington calendar... you know what that adds up to: Fall is here and it's the perfect time to plan your fall getaway to Bloomington!
Be sure to check our calendar for fun events, including everything from live music to film festivals and theatre performances to football games, to plan your trip around. A few even have special hotel rates to make planning your getaway even easier (and more affordable)!
Check out these great deals for the weekend of October 21-23:
Enjoy the SFJAZZ Collective's tribute to Stevie Wonder at the IU Auditorium on October 22 with a special discounted ticket price along with a special overnight rates from several area hotels. To find out how to redeem these discounts, visit our Special Offers page and look for the IU Auditorium offer.
If you love the darker side of Halloween, check out the Dark Carnival Film Festival at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. A weekend pass is only $20! Mention the Dark Carnival when you make your hotel reservations at the Hampton Inn (discount code DCF) or Homewood Suites for a special rate!
For something a little more out of the ordinary, take a look at Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party, a musical production from University Players. Details about special rates at five area hotels are available on the event's calendar listing.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your fall getaway to Bloomington!Posted on: Thursday, Sep 22, 2011 6:49 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
We've got a very special promotion coming up next week in honor of the first IU home football game of the season against Virginia. We love to show our support for IU Football and Coach Wilson and we've got a lot of Bloomington-themed posters in our inventory here at the Bloomington Visitors Center, so here's what we're planning...
It's as easy as 1-2-3 to show your Hoosier pride and take home a free Bloomington poster for your wall!
1) Watch for the IU-related secret phrase, which will be announced between Sept. 6-8. To be in the know, just make sure you follow @VisitBtown on Twitter or like our Facebook page for Visit Bloomington or the Bloomington Visitors Center.
2) Stop by the Bloomington Visitors Center at 2855 N. Walnut Street on Friday, Sept. 9 or Saturday, Sept. 10 during our normal hours. (That's 8:30 am to 5 pm on Friday and 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday.)
3) Check in on your favorite location based social network (such as Foursquare or Gowalla) or tag the Bloomington Visitors Center in your Facebook update. Include the secret phrase in your check-in or status update, show it to the Visitors Center staff and presto!
Yep, it's that easy. Just 1-2-3 and you go home with a free Bloomington poster!