September is a time for festivals in Downtown Indianapolis. Whether they’re cultural, artistic, musical or a simple celebration of great food (which seems to be true of nearly all of them), fall festivals Downtown provide a perfect opportunity to share common passions with fellow Hoosiers. Plus, there is plenty of family fun to be had while supporting the local businesses/artists/stakeholders that make our community rich, diverse and interesting.
The 17th Annual Rib America Festival (www.ribamerica.com), Aug. 31 – Sept. 3 at Military Park, is a local favorite not just for its impressive lineup of slow-cooked BBQ, but also for its entertainment. This year, George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic hit the stage along with Moe, Tesla, Eddie Money, Cheap Trick and more. Admission is $7 (plus food/drink), and FREE before 5 p.m. Aug. 31, and 3 p.m. Sept. 1 – 3. Children 12 and under get in FREE all weekend.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, the Indianapolis Museum of Art hosts Penrod Arts Fair<.b>, one of the nation’s largest single-day art fairs. Now in its 46th year, Penrod will showcase more than 300 artists along with a multitude of non-profit organizations, several stages with varied entertainment, a special children’s area and plenty of food and drink. Find out for yourself why this day-long celebration of local art has been dubbed “Indiana’s Nicest Day.” Visit www.penrod.org for information on tickets and hours.
Also on Sept. 8, make sure to swing by Military Park for an experience of Chinese culture and tradition unlike any other at Chinese American Festival (www.indianapolischinesefestival.com). The celebration will honor the Chinese Moon Festival, the second largest Chinese festival after Chinese New Year. Get a taste for Chinese art and performances, and taste some delicious ethnic cuisine while you’re at it. Admission is FREE.
The 17th Annual Indianapolis Irish Fest returns Downtown to Military Park Sept. 13 – 16 with an array of live music and dancing, with some of the best ethnic food around (and yes, there will be more than just potatoes). Kids activities include a FREE craft tent and a game area with inflatables for $5 per child. Check www.indyirishfest.com for updates on activities and live performers. Adult admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door and kids 13 and under are FREE.
Fiesta Indianapolis (www.laplaza-indy.org) is one of Central Indy’s longest-running ethnic festivals now in its 31st year, and is the largest Latino festival in the state. Taking place Saturday, Sept. 15 at the American Legion Mall, the celebration aims to explore Latino culture through art, music, dance and, of course, food (you may be noticing a theme here about food). Admission is FREE.
The Indianapolis Sister Cities International Festival is new this year, taking over Indianapolis City Market Sept. 15. The gathering will celebrate the cultures of Indianapolis’ seven “sister cities” from various nations through food tastings, live music, a beer garden and more. Find the event on Facebook for updates as they come. FREE admission.
Into October, be sure to check out the Original and Fabulous GermanFest Oct. 13 at the Athenaeum and the Heartland Film Festival, one of the fastest-growing film festivals in the country, Oct. 18 – 27.
That should be plenty to keep you and your kids busy throughout fall. These Downtown festivals are more than just fun for the family; you’ll have a unique chance to learn something about prevalent cultures in our Central Indiana community. And eat some yummy food while you’re at it.
Visit www.indydt.com for more information on Downtown festivals and events: Download the mobile app for event information on-the-go, and follow @IndyDT on Twitter for regular updates on Downtown Indianapolis.