The Hoosierist: Little Uproar

Lights at the zoo, ice fishing, and Indiana Day. Ask The Hoosierist.
Q: Do the lights they set up for Christmas at the Zoo bother the animals?
Jessie P., Indianapolis  
A: You would think the beasts wouldn’t feel comfortable in an environment that blazes like the Vegas strip, but the folks at the Indianapolis Zoo maintain that their lions, tigers, and bears are “indifferent” to all those Christmas lights. “They just do their thing,” says PR specialist Carla Knapp. That is, the ones who are still out and about. Most of the zoo’s tropical denizens are indoors for the winter, but the aforementioned Siberian tigers and bears (and walruses and red pandas, to name a few) don’t mind the cold and are usually on hand to greet visitors. The flamingos come out, too, even though they look about as winter-hardy as a cotton sundress. “Believe it or not, in some of the regions where they live, it’s pretty cold,” Knapp says. “They actually really love snow.”


Q: Is ice fishing legal in Indiana?
Wallace L., Shelbyville
A: Is it legal? Yes. Is it safe? Well, if you follow the rules, it’s at least safe-ish. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, before venturing onto the ice you should first drill a test hole near shore. If you don’t find at least four inches of ice, forget it. And definitely don’t walk on iced-over, swiftly moving rivers. If you fall in, you’ll be swept away and won’t be found until May. Also, Indiana law prohibits ice-fishing holes larger than 12 inches in diameter. Oh, and if you go whole hog and set up a fishing shanty, you need to put reflectors on the sides so that snowmobiles won’t crash into it during snowstorms. Though it doesn’t seem like there’d be much traffic on a blizzard-swept frozen lake.


Q: I hear December 11 is Indiana Day. What is it and how should I celebrate?
Kristy G., Carmel  
A: The official name is Indiana Statehood Day, otherwise known as The Holiday That Everyone Forgot. The Hoosierist, who possesses a more-than-passing knowledge of his home state’s history, didn’t even know it existed. For the record, it was first instituted in 1925 to celebrate the day Indiana was granted statehood by Congress. In the past, it has been marked by a proclamation from the governor (yawn) and speeches at the Indiana Statehouse (double yawn). However, since this year’s Indiana Statehood Day comes at the cusp of our bicentennial year, it might get slightly more play. Perhaps it will finally outshine the two other “big” December 11 holidays: National Noodle Ring Day (celebrating some sort of pasta dish that’s baked in a ring mold) and International Mountain Day, which is pretty self-explanatory.