Best of Indy: City Life

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New Fan Group
Actually, don’t call members of the Brickyard Battalion “fans,” please. Fans would have wilted under an inaugural season that began with their beloved Indy Eleven winning only three of its first 20 games. The Battalion (pictured, above) formed in 2011 to kick up support for bringing pro soccer back to Indy—nearly three years before the Eleven played a single game. More than 4,000 strong, with affiliate groups from Carmel to Cologne, Germany, the group invades the west end of IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium (“The Mike”), chanting beneath clouds of red and blue smoke until they’re hoarse. Plus, Flat 12 Brewing passes out free beer to Battalion members during pregame tailgating, and even unveiled an Indy Eleven–inspired brew in September: Full 90 Pale Ale. brickyardbattalion.com

 

1214-bikesharePublic Service
Don’t tell locals that Pacers Bikeshare is a form of public transit, because so far, residents have embraced it with an enthusiasm they’ve never shown IndyGo. It has been so successful that organizers plan to keep the weather-resistant bikes out for the winter. Indy was smart to complete the Cultural Trail before it joined the country’s bikeshare obsession, and it chose a company (B-Cycle) that ironed out its kinks elsewhere. The pricing isn’t any easier to figure out than it is in other cities, but it still beats our parking meters. pacersbikeshare.org

 

1214-ENVIRONMENTALReason to Be an Environmentalist
Doing good may be its own reward, but a little financial incentive certainly doesn’t hurt. That’s the premise behind Make Change Indy, a program that offers neighbors a payout for completing earth-friendly tasks. Finish one of the projects listed on the website, which range from easy (replacing incandescent lightbulbs) to hard (urban goat-keeping). Then submit before-and-after photos to earn tokens you can spend at participating midtown businesses, including Duos, Agrarian, and Good Earth. We’ll be redeeming our credits at Broad Ripple Brewpub, because we can think of no better reward for a job well done than a cold beer. 765-404-0798, makechangeindy.com

 

1214-ZIPLININGZipline
Almost 20 zipline operations have sprung up in Indiana since thrill-seekers first took the plunge at the Super Bowl Village in 2012. And while all of them will give adrenaline junkies a proper fix, our favorite is a family-operated joint just outside of Crawfordsville. Indiana Zipline Tours, operated by husband-and-wife Bill and Cori Hallett, wins on length (their 2,000-foot line is the longest in the state) and on scenic beauty. The year-round course (December through February by appointment) runs through 60 wooded acres. 4641 W. 450 S, Crawfordsville, 765-866-0006, indianaziplinetours.com

 

 

1214-FACEBOOKFOLLOWFacebook Follow
Whether or not you live on the east side, the Irvington Neighbors Facebook group never fails to delight. The page features advice on older- home repairs, various gripes, and ruminations about the best this or that. Particularly entertaining are the non sequiturs posted there, including a one-time leg model (her self-description) inquiring about how to discourage an unwanted admirer. Quirky and bright with a splash of eastside history.

 

1214-TWITTERFOLLOWTwitter Follow
Sure, author, finance expert, and television personality Peter Dunn (@PeteThePlanner) self-promotes his wares via social media. (We would, too, if we had six books coming out in January 2015.) But he also offers good-humored, incisive critiques of sports, politics, and local culture (one recent sky-scene photo caption read, “In Carmel, there are Reis Nichols’ gift cards at the end of the rainbow”). No surprise from the former stand-up comedian.

 

1214-INSTAGRAMFOLLOWInstagram Follow
A genetic disorder left TurboRoo, a chihuahua, without his front legs. But a two-wheeled cart created by his owners’ friends allows him to spin around at will, which looks just as cute as it sounds in his many Instagram photos. The dog (@Turbo.roo) is unaffiliated with the 2013 animated feature film Turbo, set at IMS, though he is based in Speedway. More than 47,000 followers can’t be wrong. Watch your back, Lil Bub.

 

Tech Seminar
When the man seated next to you starts talking Harry Potter, that’s normally your cue to run for the hills. When that man is Scott Jones—a guy whose fingerprints are on voicemail and ChaCha—you listen. There’s a solid chance the tech entrepreneur is onto something good. “Imagine Hogwarts,” Jones says of his new app-programming school, Eleven Fifty Coding Academy, “but for coders.” That Potter-esque vibe squares with the Eleven Fifty campus, Jones’s own Carmel-area mansion (the academy takes its name from the estate’s address), which features an award-winning home theater. And though the setting is—wait for it—magical, the real trick is teaching what often takes weeks in just seven days. “This kind of seminar is usually held in a hotel conference room over a long period,” says Matt McIntyre, one of Eleven Fifty’s co-founders. “What we’re doing here is immersive.”  One of Eleven Fifty’s aims is to grow the tech ecosystem in the Indy area. For $1,150, graduates walk out the door with app-building experience on a number of platforms (the first class worked on apps for Apple’s new programming language, Swift). The academy hopes students will network through the academy and get jobs locally. It even offers a paid apprenticeship program for Eleven Fifty grads looking for more real-world experience. 1150 W. 116th St., Carmel, 855-788-1150, elevenfifty.com

 

Girl’s Birthday Party
Samantha Jacobs and Jessica Johnson, owners of Pretty & Posh Parties, have painted thousands of girls’ fingernails. So don’t bite yours over birthday-soiree details.  The duo offers themes such as spa parties and tea parties (complete with princess dresses and tiaras). And feel free to consult with Jacobs and Johnson if you lack a notion of what your princess will want—they’re both mothers of girls. 317-945-6964, prettyandposhparties.com

 

1214-glamping

New Track Tradition
You can fight traffic, hunt for parking, and hump your coolers, chairs, and grub to the Indianapolis 500. Or you can go “glamping” (glamorous camping!) in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield the night before the race. The lucky few bed down under the stars in their own spacious, private tents after a night of playing cornhole and drinking BYOB-refreshments by one of the cozy firepits. For the particularly committed, the infield hosts a Snake Pit party (7 a.m.) on race morning. Packages start at $800 for four nights (Thurs.–Sun.) and include race tickets, access to private bathrooms, outlets for cellphone chargers, and ice for coolers. For an additional $300, IMS will upgrade your cot to a bed complete with comforter, sheets, and pillows. The only downside? Hangovers still apply. 4790 W. 16th St., 317-492-8500, indianapolismotorspeedway.com

 

Ice Skating
The $53 million renovation of the Coliseum got all the attention at the Indiana State Fairgrounds this summer, but the adjacent $10 million Youth Arena deserves a blue ribbon itself. For $6 (plus skate rental), the latter venue offers public ice skating seven days a week in a 29,000-square-foot facility with locker rooms and a concession stand. Wobbly on your blades? Kids and adults can take lessons from the Winter Club of Indianapolis, which has been teaching newbies at the Fairgrounds for 75 years. 1202 E. 38th St., 317-927-7622, in.gov/statefair

1214-ICESKATING

To see all 119 Best of Indy winners, click here.

 

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