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Indy tourism offers 12 ‘free’ days of Christmas to visitors
By DAVE BLOWER JR.
Farm World Editor

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indianapolis Convention and Visitors’ Assoc. (ICVA) is hoping those visiting the city will take advantage of a new version of an old Christmas carol.

“Visitors to the farm show are also coming at the beginning of our 12 “Free Days of (Indy) Christmas” promotion,” said Kimberly Harms, associate director of media relations for the ICVA.

The city’s museums, historic sites and other places, such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Conner Prairie, are offering free elements to entice visitors in the days leading up to Christmas.

Feel free to sing the following holiday-event descriptions to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas. The descriptions are courtesy of the ICVA.

Wednesday, Dec. 13
On the first (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, Conner Prairie gives to you ... Free admission to an enchanting Gingerbread Village. See a festive display of gingerbread houses, churches and historic buildings with intricate designs and colorful trimmings created by area professionals and individuals. Free parking.

Thursday, Dec. 14
On the second (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, the James Whitcomb Riley Home gives to you ... The opportunity to tour the only late-Victorian home in the nation that is open to the public. See the home of Indiana’s beloved poet, James Whitcomb Riley, in its holiday splendor. Located in the historic Lockerbie Square district in downtown, Riley resided here for 23 years and produced many of his more than 1,000 poems here. Free parking.

Friday, Dec. 15
On the third (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, the President Benjamin Harrison home gives to you ... A look inside the home of the 23rd U.S. president. The restored 1875 Italianate home will be decorated for the holidays, including feather trees and a 10-foot Christmas tree like the one the Harrisons had at the White House. Free parking.

Saturday, Dec. 16
On the fourth (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, the Indianapolis Artsgarden gives to you ... Two free concerts featuring the sounds of the season. The Artsgarden is located in a seven-story glass structure that is suspended over the intersection of Washington and Illinois Streets next to Circle Centre mall. The Indianapolis Municipal Band will perform at 12:30 p.m., followed by the Athenaeum Pops Orchestra at 2 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 17
On the fifth (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art gives to you ... Native American and Western art, culture and history. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art showcases one of the best Native American and Western art collections in the world, including works by artists such as T.C. Cannon, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frederic Remington and Kay Walkingstick.

Monday, Dec. 18
On the sixth (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, the Indiana State Museum gives to you ... Trips for children through the imaginary town of Celebration Crossing aboard the Santa Claus Express train. Kids can visit with Santa for photos and meet other characters.

Tuesday, Dec. 19
On the seventh (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, the NCAA Hall of Champions gives to you ... A final opportunity to see the year-long exhibit, A Century of Champions, which honors the NCAA’s Centennial Celebration. Also experience Football Frenzy, as December marks the end of the college football season and teams and fans prepare for Bowl games and NCAA football championships.

Wednesday, Dec. 20
On the eighth (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, the Morris-Butler House gives to you ... The experience of a genuine Victorian Christmas at this historic landmark on Indianapolis’ Old Northside. Many of our Christmas traditions became popular in the Victorian era. Tour all three floors of the 1865 landmark, lavishly decorated for the holidays, and learn about Victorian Christmas traditions both familiar and unfamiliar.

Thursday, Dec. 21
On the ninth (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, the Indianapolis Museum of Art gives to you ... The Winter Solstice Celebration. Visitors can gather around a blazing bonfire and toss in small branches that symbolize wishes for the coming year while learning about the various interpretations of the symbols of the solstice celebration. Attendees can bring their own drums and take part in an informal drumming circle.

Friday, Dec. 22
On the 10th (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum gives to you ... An up close view of the history of auto racing and the Indianapolis 500. This National Historic Landmark has approximately 75 cars on display at all times, including the Marmon Wasp, which Ray Harroun drove to victory in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911 and more than 30 other winning cars.

Saturday, Dec. 23
On the 11th (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, the Indiana Historical Society gives to you ... A stroll through the Holidays in the Heartland display, which features decorated trees, vintage photographs and holiday cards dating to the late 1800s.

Sunday, Dec. 24
On the 12th (free) day of (Indy) Christmas, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis gives to you ... The experience of Jolly Days. Enjoy traditional holiday favorites such as the Yule Slide, Jingles the Jolly Bear and visits with Santa. The Snow Castle provides a toddler-size version of the Yule Slide.

For more tourist information about Indianapolis, visit the ICVA website at www.indy.org

This farm news was published in the Dec. 6, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

12/6/2006