Catch Bicentennial Fever: Great Ways to Salute Indiana in 2016

Parties! Swag! Beer! Putt-putt! Catch up on all the ways to get in the Hoosier State spirit this year.

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This story is part of Indianapolis Monthly’s 2016 Indiana Bicentennial coverage, which includes a piece on how to enjoy this year’s festivities. For more on this celebration of the state’s first two centuries, click here.


Indiana is going all out to salute the big 2-0-0. Want to get in the Hoosier State spirit? We have a few ideas.

At August’s Indiana State Fair, more than 100 Hoosier-themed beers will face off in a “Bicentenni-ale” battle. Can’t wait till then to sample? Hamilton County’s BrewsLine will begin offering tours this month of breweries making suds inspired by state history. Heady Hollow Brewing Company in Fishers, for instance, will pour 60 Horses Scotch Ale—when pioneer William Conner’s first wife, a member of the Delaware, left with her tribe after a treaty, her separation agreement included 60 horses. $35 per person,


Save the date: On Saturday, October 15, the biggest bash of the year—the Hoosier Homecoming—will land on the State House’s new Bicentennial Plaza. There, the 92-county torch relay will complete its final leg among themed food vendors, concerts, a time-capsule burial, newly unveiled public art, and an eye-popping throng of Indiana historic reenactors and interpreters—perhaps the largest assemblage ever—in period costume. Governor Noah Noble. Mary Bateman Clark, an indentured servant who successfully sued for her freedom. Abraham Lincoln. Even look for Elvis, who played his last concert in Indianapolis. Uh-huh-huh!


Now your dispatches to Hoosiers near and far can hold another little piece of home. In late spring, the United States Postal Service will issue a special Indiana stamp, featuring a stretch of—you guessed it—cornfields, taken near Milford by photographer (and Milford native) Michael Matti. Send your first one with Indy artist Kate Oberreich’s pretty “Indiana Peony” postcard ($2,


Photo courtesy of Indiana Historical Society

During the 1916 centennial, medallions were all the rage. Now, Vevay artist Donna Weaver—who also designed some of the U.S. Mint’s state quarters—has created a new version of the memento. Titled Indiana Revealed by Weaver, the medal’s references span Indiana’s existence, from the Civil War to medical research. $19.95 (small) to $39.95 (large), available through Indiana Bankers Association branches and


The Indiana State Library flowerbeds will look a little more Hoosier than usual this year—all to inspire home gardeners to plant their own blue and yellow blooms to evoke the state flag. Vinca, gold daylilies, and black-eyed Susans will be used downtown, but if you prefer native flowers, here are some options.


History becomes more memorable when you experience it firsthand. Enter Indiana in 200 Objects, an Indiana State Museum exhibit starring red-letter events, people, and artifacts with ties to the state’s history. Culled by Dale Ogden and his fellow ISM curators, the eclectic collection, opening April 20, ranges from Amelia Earhart’s flight jacket to Johnny Appleseed’s drinking flask to a full mastodon skeleton unearthed from Indiana mud.

Conner Prairie

Any fourth-grader worth her salt has dipped candles on a field trip to Conner Prairie, the homestead of fur trader and Noblesville founder William Conner. This year will see a restoration of Conner’s brick home and the completion of the new Treetop Outpost, a nature exhibit and tree house. But we say there’s no better place in the metro area to watch the 92-county Bicentennial torch relay—the historic Hamilton County spot, with its blacksmith and Civil War reenactors, will be one of the last stops before the flame makes its way to Indianapolis next October.


The frolicking bison on Indiana’s seal belies the fact that by the time the design was completed, the animals were practically wiped out here. The beast has enjoyed little ado since—until now. Look for the term “Bisontennial,” dreamed up by Wabash County in honor of an art project, to sweep the state. Each county will decorate a fiberglass version, in the hopes all 92 will “stampede” to the State Fair in August. We’ve spotted Bison cookies on Instagram. A plan to preserve Southern Indiana’s Buffalo Trace is in the works. Call it a bison bonanza—or a tardy apology for that whole hunting-them-into-extinction thing.


Like your golf with a side of Van Gogh? You’re in luck: Starting May 5, the Indianapolis Museum of Art will host a putt-putt course on its campus, with each hole featuring a distinctive, artist-commissioned look inspired by Indiana history. In addition to being open during regular hours, the mini-golf course will be available during the Summer Nights Film Series and for private parties. Best. Team-building exercise. Ever.



Hankering for more Hoosier tidbits with which to impress your friends? If you can’t answer the following questions correctly, we suggest you pick up the new supplemental textbook the Indiana Historical Society Press gave away for free to any school that wanted it. Co-authored by prolific state historian James H. Madison, Hoosiers and the American Story is an engaging, non-sugarcoated overview of the state’s progression (with lots of neat photos). Pop-quiz time—get your pencils out, and good luck. *Answer key at bottom

In 1838, the federal government forced the Potawatomi tribe from their northern Indiana land. What was the name of the path they used to leave the state?
A. The Trail of Fears
B. The Road of No Return
C. The Trail of Death
D. The Road to Destruction

WhiteHouseFirst Lady Caroline Scott Harrison, Benjamin Harrison’s wife, started which White House tradition?
A. The official china collection
B. The indoor Christmas tree
C. The Easter Egg Roll
D. A and B

The Indianapolis 500 debuted in 1911. What other significant Hoosier sporting event started that same year?
A. The Little 500
B. The Indiana high school state basketball tournament
C. The Indiana University vs. University of Kentucky basketball game
D. Notre Dame football games

GreatLifeThe 1929 film It’s a Great Life featured an Indiana-themed song and dance. What was its name?
A. “The Hoosier Hop”
B. “The Shipshewana Shimmy”
C. “The Terre Haute Trot”
D. “The Naptown Toddle”

In 1967, Richard Hatcher became the state’s first black mayor, making Gary one of the first two major cities to elect a black person to that office. What was the other city?
A. New York, New York
B. Cleveland, Ohio
C. Atlanta, Georgia
D. Washington, D.C.


Follow these Twitter accounts for the statehood-celebration scuttlebutt

The Bicentennial Commission’s official feed

Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay

Indiana Historical Society

Indiana Humanities

Indiana State Library

Indiana State Parks
(Watch for a June weekend of 10-cent entry prices in honor of ISP’s centennial)


Trivia answer key: C / D / B / A / B

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