26 Great Indy Dates

Some of hte coolest stuff to mark your calendar this year.

JULYStar-Spangled SymphonyJuly 3-5:

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra plays patriotic favorites beneath the stars, the concert reaching its crescendo with a fireworks display. Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers, 317-776-6000
Independence Day Fireworks
July 4: For the best free seats in the house for the downtown display, beat a path to the Indiana War Memorial Plaza or Central Canal.
Motley Crue
July 5: Rock out with the Crue on what they’ve said is their farewell tour. Klipsch Music Center, 12880 E. 146th St., Noblesville, 317-239-5151
Indiana Black Expo “Summer Celebration”
July 10-20: One of the biggest festivals in the country, Expo includes 11 days of various events honoring the African-American experience. Multiple locations, 317-925-2702
Indianapolis International Film Festival
July 17-27: More than 100 indie flicks get screened at one of the fastest-growing festivals in the Midwest. Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Rd., 317-513-0981
Cirque du Soleil
July 24-27: An enchanted forest forms the backdrop for Varekai, the latest Cirque extravaganza. Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 125 S. Pennsylvania St., 317-917-2500
Super Weekend at the Brickyard
July 24-27: Indy is the epicenter of the stock-car world for a long weekend of racing, capped off by the Brickyard 400. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th St., 317-927-3378
Indiana State Fair
August 1-17: Crazy-cool food concoctions are a hallmark of the Fair—want to sip your Pepsi, or eat it fried? Throw in rides, Midway games, and barnyard animals, and you’re ready to while away a classic Hoosier summer evening. Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., 317927-7500
Drum Corps International  World Championships
August 7-9: Think of it as the World Series for marching music’s major leagues, with musicians ages 14–22 competing on the global stage for the premier prize in the field. Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S. Capitol Ave., 317-262-8600
Red Bull Indianapolis GP
August 10: It’s only been around since 2008, but this event already has legions of fans who love the Grand Prix–style motorcycle racing. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th St., 317-927-3378
Gen Con
August 14-17: When you see Siths lining up at downtown Starbucks, you know the longest-running, best-attended gaming convention in the world has arrived. Last year set a record with 49,000 visitors. Indiana Convention Center, 100 S. Capitol Ave., 800-529-3976
IndyFringe Festival
August 14-24: Fringe Fest brings together comedians, actors, musicians, and street buskers from around the world to stage some 300 shows. Now in its tenth year, it was inspired by the Edinburgh festival and is growing by leaps and bounds, with year-round programming. But the Festival is the big one. Multiple venues in the Mass Ave cultural district, 317-869-6660
The Beach Boys
August 22–24: Hang ten with the original surfer dudes … even in landlocked Indiana. Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers, 317-776-6000
NHRA U.S. Nationals
August 27–September 1: Guess where you’ll find the fastest cars in Indy? At this westside venue, where some dragsters can reach 330 mph. Lucas Oil Raceway, 10267 E. U.S. Hwy. 136, 317-291-4090
Penrod Arts Fair
September 6: “Indiana’s Nicest Day” is set at the lush, meandering gardens at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which hosts one of the nation’s largest one-day art fairs, including 300 artists and six entertainment stages. Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Rd., 317-923-1331
French Market
September 6: La Cuisine is the big draw at this annual event, which also boasts bands, raffles, and a kids’ area. And it wouldn’t be French if the wine didn’t flow (beer’s available, too). St. Joan of Arc Church, 4217 N. Central Ave., 317-283-5508
Indy Jazz Fest
September 11-20: Big names come to Indy for this annual music festival, ya dig? Various venues, 31-7966-7854
Indy Irish Fest
September 12-14: Irish folks (and wannabes) flock to this downtown festival for concerts, folk dancing, an Irish market, and more. Military Park, 601 W. New York St., 317-927-3378
Circle City Classic
October 4: A crowd from across the country converges on Indy for this annual weekend celebration of historically black colleges and universities, capped off with a football game. Various locations, including Lucas Oil Stadium, 317-925-2702
Heartland Film Festival
October 16-25: One of the fastest-growing film fests in the U.S., Heartland features a lot of independent and international flicks, plus a host of special events. Various cinemas, 317-464-9405
Historic Irvington Halloween Festival
October (Dates Vary): Throngs head to this eastside neighborhood for its annual celebration of all things spooky, from ghost tours to a haunted puppet show to a costumed roller derby bout. irvingtonhalloween.com
Spirit & Place Festival
November 7-16: “Journey” is the theme of this year’s series of workshops, exhibits, concerts, and lectures. Think of it as an interactive TED lecture. Various venues, 317-278-3623
Bands of America Grand National Championships
November 12-15: It’s real-life Drumline! The country’s most exciting marching band event pits some 90 high-school bands against each other. Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S. Capitol Ave., 317-262-8600
Circle of Lights
November 28: It isn’t truly the holiday season until a certain switch flips and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument suddenly glows with 5,000 bulbs. Grab a cup of hot chocolate, gather ’round the Circle, and feel the glow. Monument Circle, 317-237-2222

ISO Sandi Patty Yuletide
Sandi Patty and the cast and chorus in Yuletide

Yuletide Celebration
December 5-23: Tap-dancing Santas and larger-than-life puppets are hallmarks of this hugely popular annual tradition. Hilbert Circle Theatre, 45 Monument Circle, 317-639-4300
Big Ten Football Championship Game
December 6: For four years running, this major match has gone down in Indy. Game on! Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S. Capitol Ave., 317-262-8600