Like a lot of good bags, the tote for the 2011 Garden Writers Association Symposium in Indianapolis has a a bit of history. It is made out of salvaged material from the demolition of the Hoosier Dome, which for 24 seasons was home of the Indianapolis Colts.
Photo source: http://www.syracuse.com
Photo from http://www.indy.com
The public voted to name the $75 million facility the Hoosier Dome when it opened in 1984. The name held until Thomson Consumer Electronics, then a local company, paid $10 million to call it the RCA Dome. The dome was replaced in 2008 by the $720-million Lucas Oil Stadium, which will be the host of the 2012 Super Bowl. The dome was imploded in 2008 to make way expansion of the Indiana Convention Center.
Hoosier Dome material ready to take to the seamstress for cutting, cleaning and recycling into GWA Cymposium conference tote bags in Indianapolis. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
Locally, though, the first home of the Colts has always been the Hoosier Dome. When it was demolished, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Inc., salvaged about 90 percent (225 tons) of the dome material with the intent of repurposing, recycling and reusing the Teflon-coated fiberglass. Eventually a portion of the material was given to Indy Parks and People for Urban Progress, another non-profit organization.
During one of our meetings, a suggestion was made to make the bags out of the salvaged Hoosier Dome material and that’s what we did.
Hoosier Dome material before cleaning. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
Encore Azalea and Southern Living Plant Collection already had totes in mind when their representative, Aimee Coker, was approached about using the Hoosier Dome bags. However, because of the uniqueness of the material and that it could only come from Indianapolis, the sponsors said ok.
The material is tough, so it could not be embroidered. Instead, sponsors made patches, which were sown onto the bags along with a pocket and woven nylon straps.
Volunteers scrub Hoosier Dome material that has been cut into tote bag pieces. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
For a small donation from the local committee, Indy Parks gave Garden Writers Association the material to make about 500 bags. The committee and other volunteers scrubbed the material clean, and a local company, JP Fine Manufacturing, made the bags.
This is the first time the Hoosier Dome material has been used for this purpose.
Cleaned Hoosier Dome material. Some pieces have been marked for the pattern of the GWA Symposium tote bags in Indianapolis. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
We hope you will enjoy these special bags with all of their uniqueness and slight imperfections. The repurposing of the Hoosier Dome roof is in keeping with GWA’s philosophy of sustainability at home and at work.
Final product. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
- Will you find the Slippery Noodle Inn, founded in 1850 and reputed to be Indiana’s oldest continuing operating bar in the same building. Sure, it serves booze and is old, but the Noodle’s claim to fame is its blues. Ask Dan Heims of Terra Nova Nurseries, who played his harmonica during one of his visits here earlier this year. The Noodle has two stages. It’s about four blocks from the hotel at South and Meridian streets. 372 S. Meridian St., (317) 631-6903
- Will you find Acapulco Joe’s Mexican Restaurant, founded in 1961 by Joe Rangel, sort of by mistake. Joe was an immigrant from Mexico when he found himself in Indianapolis. Supposedly he was to go to Minneapolis but got confused by the ‘polis.’ For Joe, the American dream culiminated with his citizenship in 1971. “Beautiful country, wonderful people,” he’d say. About every hour, Joe played God Bless America by Kate Smith on the Jukebox. Joe died in 1989. A three-star restaurant, ‘Joe’s’ serves tasty, inexpensive Mexican food. The restaurant is about eight blocks from the hotel at Illinois and Vermont streets. Kate is still on the Jukebox, too. 365 N. Illinois St., (317) 637-5160
Image courtesy gotime.com
Will you find the Chatterbox Jazz Club along Mass Avenue, where live jazz takes the stage every night. Owned and operated by David Andrichik, an architect whose first love is clearly entertaining people. The Chatterbox has been around nearly 30 years, drawing dozens of people and musicians into the bar for great fun. 435 Massachusetts Ave., (317) 636-0584
- Will you find Mass Ave, Broad Ripple and Fountain Square — three arts and cultural districts along one of Indianapolis Cultural Trails. Each has its own personality and one-of-a-kind shops and galleries. Broad Ripple has a lot of bars, college students and other young adults. Mass Ave is hip and trendy with fine restaurants. Fountain Square, one of the city’s older neighborhoods, has great food and duck pin bowling.
For those looking for transportation from Indianapolis International Airport to the Hyatt, there’s the Green Line, an express shuttle. The fare is $7. To get a $2 coupon, please visit Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association’s special page for Garden Writers Association. Click on Special Coupons under the GWA logo and scroll down to Transportation. Click on the Green Line logo and the $2-off coupon should load.
There is a lot of sidewalk, road and building construction downtown, so check the Green Line for any alerts about where the shuttle stops are.
Athenaeum and the Rathskeller restaurant. Photo courtesy Athenaeum.
There are many reasons to check out The Rathskeller for dinner.
It’s in an interesting 1893 building called the Athenaeum. You might wonder why a restaurant called The Rathskeller is in a German Romanesque and German Renaissance Revival building called the Athenaeum.
In fact, the building, designed by the Vonnegut & Bohn firm (yes, that Vonnegut family), was known as Das Deutsche Haus until anti-German sentiments during World War I prompted the name change. The Athenaeum was selected because there’s an image of Athena in one of the main arches of the building.
The Rathskeller serves German and American food. It has live music Wednesday through Saturday. In summer, the Beer Garden is open in a walled garden.
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered one of the best examples of 19th century German-American architecture in Indianapolis. Many of the buildings built during that time have been torn down to make way for high rises and other construction.
The Athenaeum is located in Lockerbie, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, a quaint mix of large mansions, small cottages and new construction along brick streets and sidewalks. This area is about a mile from the Hyatt or a short cab ride. The Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley lived in Lockerbie.
The restaurant accepts reservations, which we highly encourage you to make ahead of time. Plus, there are private rooms available for large groups.
Garden writer and photographer Pam Beck headed up the local organizing committee in Raleigh, N.C. She looks like she's ready to shoot something. Photo courtesy Lone Pine Publishing.
For those of you going on the early photography buses Sunday, we thought it might be good to explain the light conditions you may find. We thought it but I’m writing it and, well, actually I can’t explain that to you all that well. And since I’m not a serious photographer I really don’t fully understand your light needs or what gets your heart palpating. But I can tell you a few things about the situation.
You should know that Indianapolis is on Eastern Standard Daylight Saving Time. You should also know we are on the far western edge of Eastern Standard Daylight Saving Time.
This means sunrise will be at 7:09 am. It also means it will be kinda dark when you leave the hotel at 6:15 and not too bright when you get to the IMA 20 minutes later or so. You may have to watch the sun rising over the LOVE sculpture before you head off into the gardens. Currently (August 15) the sunrise is 6:57. I think it is light enough for photographing by 6:30 or before, so actually you should be able to shoot away as soon as you arrive. With 152 acres to work in you shouldn’t have to worry about anybody getting in your composition.
This means, of course, that it will be light until about 10 p.m.
If you are driving to Indianapolis, here is some information on parking that we also posted on our Facebook page:
“Here’s some more info on parking rates in Downtown Indianapolis. Most Downtown parking garages near the Hyatt are $20-$30 for 24 hour parking. The low end of that scale are Circle Centre mall’s World Wonders garage or Claypool Court garage, while the upper end includes Capitol Commons and Marriott garages. There are no surface lots close to the Hyatt. The nearest lots are 15 E. Washington St. and 125 S. Meridian St. where rates are $6-$8.”
For more information check out this page of parking information on the Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. website
Down Massachusetts Avenue, a short cab ride from the Hyatt Regency, you’ll find several locally owned and operated restaurants including Chatham Pub at 719 Mass Ave.
According to Chris Turner of Utopos Garden Concepts, “It’s a great place for pub food with a bit of flair. You can sit out back and watch the bikers and walkers on the Cultural Trail. They make a great Gorgonzola Pear Melt with Bacon.”
Did we mention the Cultural Trail? If you have some free time and would like to take a stroll, check it out!
Are you ready for some football? How about some motorcycle racing? Maybe a WNBA basketball game?
It looks like the garden communicators and writers visiting Indianapolis in less than two weeks for the Garden Writers Association symposium won’t be the only visitors in town.
Football fans will be in town ready to cheer on the Indianapolis Colts in a home pre-season game taking place on Friday, August 26 at 8 pm at Lucas Oil Stadium, just a few blocks from the Hyatt Regency.
Motorcycle fans will be in town for the weekend for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with events planned for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Basketball fans will be in town on Saturday night to watch the WNBA Indiana Fever women’s basketball team at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Baseball fans will have to sit tight — the Indianapolis Indians will be out of town for the weekend.
What does this mean for those in town for GWA? It means everyone will get to experience a vibrant, active downtown with something for everyone. It also means that it is best to make reservations in advance if you plan to eat at a restaurant that takes reservations, or try to call ahead for those restaurants that are first come, first serve, but will put you on the list when you call to let them know you are coming.
We’ve been checking the extended weather forecast for Indianapolis for the end of August. So far, the forecast looks promising with highs in the low 80′s. Unfortunately, we can’t control this aspect of everyone’s visit, we can only in hope for the best that August in Indianapolis offers.
We advise everyone to keep clicking on that long-range forecast and adjust your packing accordingly!
Be one of the first 100 to register for FREE transportation from Indianapolis International Airport to the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis on Friday, Aug. 26. 2011. GMC, a Platinum Sponsor of the GWA Indianapolis symposium, is offering the transportation to attendees who make a reservation. You can drive the GMC vehicle yourself or sit back and relax and let a driver do the work.
Also remember that the symposium’s regular registration rates end Friday, Aug. 12, so sign up now and savie $150. Regular registration is $440. Late registration is $590.