Indianapolis offers a variety of events all year long from festivals at Military Park to state-wide and national celebrations of the arts, sports and more. Check out these ten events you don’t want to miss.
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St. Patrick’s Day Festival
The Athletic Club Foundation’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities are an Indy favorite. Downtown Indianapolis streets are blocked to vehicle traffic for a massive St. Patrick’s Day parade, as well as vendors tents, food trucks, activities, live entertainment and a beer garden. The Greening of the Canal — when the canal is turned green with dye — is an area sight to behold!
Indianapolis International Film Festival
Every April, the Indianapolis community celebrates the art of film with the Indy Film Fest, a 10-day event featuring 100 films from 40 different countries. In an effort to support new talent and visionary work, visitors can catch a variety of live-action, animated, drama, comedy, documentary, horror and sci-fi films.
Each May, this national event features 50 programs in conjunction with the Indy 500 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The festivities include the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon, the JP Morgan 500 Festival Kids’ Day, and of course, thousands come out for the annual IPL 500 Festival Parade.
Fourth of July
Activities abound throughout the Fourth of July weekend in Indianapolis each year.
- Don’t miss the downtown Indianapolis fireworks launched from the top of the 500 North Meridian office building.
- Conner Prairie’s Symphony on the Prairie offers visitors a chance to experience the music of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra set to a fireworks display.
- The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site offers a free family event, complete with games, crafts and live music.
Indiana State Fair
Throughout the month of August, the Indiana State Fair celebrates agriculture, youth and education. The activities over the course of two weeks offer livestock showings and competition, art displays and the best and most innovative fair food. A live concert series keeps thousands coming together for evenings full of music, fair rides and more.
Indy Strawberry Festival
Christ Church Cathedral’s annual Strawberry Festival has been an annual tradition since 1965. The church holds a yearly fundraiser to benefit local, national and international organizations. The women from the church make almost 20,000 shortcakes from scratch with more than 300 volunteers serving strawberries, ice cream and more.
Irvington Halloween Festival
Irvington knows how to do Halloween, and that’s evident with the Irvington Halloween Festivals. This month-long festival includes an entire weekend of spooky music, puppet shows, zombie bike rides and a vampire run. A street fair and after-party offers a place for all things Halloween with costumes, contests and special events.
Circle of Lights
The tradition dates back to 1962, Circle of Lights is Indianapolis’ iconic holiday event as thousands gather to officially ring in the Christmas season. Always held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the evening includes live music, entertainment, and of course, the lighting of the Christmas tree surrounding Indy’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument. New this year is a nightly light show to bring a bit more awe to the already inspiring display.
Carmel Christkindlmarkt is an open-air Christmas market in Hamilton County that brings guests back to old-world charm and Christmas in Germany each year. The authentic German market offers food, gifts and other products from Germany, and surrounds the outdoor ice-skating rink. Each member of the family can find something special, from shopping to woodworking demonstrations. Check out the miniature train exhibit and learn more about German holiday traditions and history with the Indiana Historical Society.