Showing off #Indy to the out-of-towners

Caitlyn tries her ... um ... hand at milking a cow at the Indiana State Fair.

Caitlyn tries her … um … hand at milking a cow at the Indiana State Fair.

My sister made her annual pilgrimage from Detroit to Indianapolis this past weekend for a whirlwind 21-hour adventure with her fiancé. We know that wasn’t a lot of time, so we had to cram in as much awesomeness as possible in a short window.

Here’s how we showed off the Circle City to the couple:

Friday night:

Dinner – Red Lion Grog House, Fountain Square

We knew out of the gate that we weren’t going to eat healthy this weekend. With plans to go to the State Fair on Saturday, we figured we might as well prep our bodies for the onslaught of fair food by going to this English pub in the heart of our neighborhood, Fountain Square. This is the kind of place that, while tasty, douses everything in cheese. You want mashed potatoes? That comes with cheese. A salad? Lots of cheese. A bowl of cheese? Yeah, that probably comes with a side of cheese, too. Regardless, I got a “pizza” grilled cheese with mozzarella, marina and basil and Caitlyn got the mac and cheese. Both were delicious … and both had lots of cheese. My sister went for the grilled cheese as well, while her fiance dined on the burger.

The cupcakes looked like popcorn to celebrate "Year of Popcorn" at the fair.

The cupcakes looked like popcorn to celebrate “Year of Popcorn” at the fair.

Entertainment – Tilt, downtown

My sister has always sort of been a genius when it comes to crane games. Ever since I was little, she had some innate talent for picking out the stuffed animal sitting at just the perfect angle, wishing to get picked up and freed from its plastic prison cell. That’s why I thought we’d hit up the arcade downtown. Tilt has loads of crane games and video games, albeit many are banged up or were up for sale (which made us question how much longer Tilt might be around). In the end, my sister’s fiance was actually the one who snagged a toy from the crane game …. and it probably only cost $15 in credits.

Saturday:

Indiana State Fair

The real reason for the visit was because my sister and I are fans of the Indiana State Fair. In full disclosure, I worked there a few years ago and developed a soft spot for the agricultural side of Indiana. Normally, the weather is sweltering, but it was probably in the upper 70s when we arrived in the morning, which is likely why the crowds were already so big.

My sister's fiance tries to win a tie-dye dolphin at the Balloon Pop game in the Midway.

My sister’s fiance tries to win a tie-dye dolphin at the Balloon Pop game in the Midway.

There’s so much to do at the fair, from the obvious, like milking a cow (which Caitlyn did) to the seemingly out-of-place like looking at an exhibit on the history of animation. Of course, the food is an experience in and of itself. I got the “Blue Moo” grilled cheese, which came with the added benefit of blue cheese, as well as a chocolate shake from the Dairy Bar. Both Caitlyn and I were even fortunate enough to find a stand selling grapes and apple – something healthy at the fair? Egads! Perhaps the “cutest” food at the fair is the popcorn-themed cupcake available at the State Fair Bakery on the northwest-side of the fairgrounds. The marshmallows on top are intricately decorated with yellow food coloring to make it looks like popcorn kernels and butter.

I’m normally not a Midway person, but my sister’s fiance was able to pop the balloon (on his second dart) and win what I called an “acid dolphin” (or tie-dye dolphin). We also got to feed baby goats, look at baby pigs, look at a really, really big pig and watch some adorable kindergartners participate in a watermelon seed spitting contest. Who needs Disney World when you have entertainment like this in your backyard?

The best part? The fair runs through this weekend, so you still have time to check it out.

So, that’s how we presented Indianapolis to my sister and her fiancé. We’ve already discussed next time maybe taking them to The Children’s Museum, and, perhaps, we’ll get a little more time to explore what the Circle City is all about.

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