Guest Author - Pam Cartwright
Visit Indianapolis, Indiana on Friday evening, November 23rd for the Circle of Lights celebration. It’s the annual lighting of the world’s largest Christmas tree. Families from all over Indiana gather round the circle to listen to carolers and get hot chocolate or other winter goodies from the local merchants or street vendors. Santa makes an appearance to delight the children.
This event signals the beginning of the holiday season in Indy. It takes place on Monument Circle – which is just what it sounds like - a monument built on a circle of land directly in the middle of the city. One road circles the monument with four streets fanning out from the circular road –like the spokes in a wheel.
The monument, approximately 285 feet tall, towers over the circling street. The statue atop the monument is known as the Victory statue, a lady similar to the Statue of Liberty. The monument was erected over a period of years and was dedicated in 1902(see website below) . Originally designed as a tribute to the Indiana civil war heroes, it has changed over the years and now stands as a tribute to all Indiana military persons prior to World War I. Beneath the monument is the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum. An article on this museum will be on the site soon.
The event has been an Indianapolis tradition for more than 44 years. The “tree” is lit by 4,784 lights and 52 garland strands. The workers who string the lights are volunteers and according to the Quality Connection website:
Circle of Lights® presented by the Contractors of Quality Connection and Electrical Workers of IBEW 481 is the official kick-off of the holiday season in Central Indiana. The event will take place on Friday, Nov. 23, 2007, the day after Thanksgiving with more than 100,000 spectators.
If you’re from out of town, stay awhile and enjoy the city. Indy was known for many years as Naptown, partly because of its sleepy village-like qualities. It has transformed into a thriving metropolis. You still get the small town feel, but metro city offerings are at your fingertips.
You might enjoy the unique shopping experiences available at Circle Centre Mall. This downtown mall has 4 levels and over 100 shops and restaurants. From Abercrombie and Fitch to Yankee Candles and everything in between, you can shop till drop. And if you get hungry, there’s a food court with some yummy fast food-type restaurants, as well as some full-service restaurants. More elite dining is only a short walk away. There’s even a cinema if you’re in the mood for a movie.
If you’re looking for a lodging deal, go to the Simon website below and click on one of the hotel links. There are several shopping packages available. The hotels might even be connected directly to the mall and you’ll be able to stay in out of the cold altogether.
If shopping isn’t your thing, there are many impressive museums and attractions in the area. Here’s a list to get you started:
The Children’s Museum http://www.childrensmuseum.org/ This is a unique, hands-on learning experience for children and adults.
The Indianapolis Zoo http://www.indianapoliszoo.com/ It’s one of the finest zoos in the area. They have a “Christmas at the Zoo” spectacular with lights, a train ride and Santa, who might give you a handful of snacks for the animals in the petting zoo.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art http://www.ima-art.org/ This is always a good bet for art lovers. They currently have a display of Roman art from the Louvre, which may not come this way again soon.
The Indianapolis Repertory Theatre http://www.irtlive.com/Default.aspx This is one of the leading regional theaters in the country. A Christmas Carol is showing now through December 24th.
So, if you aren’t planning on spending Black Friday shopping, head on over to Indy. Stay awhile and get enthused about the holidays.