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Fear and Loathing in Beaumont, Texas - TDY Edition
This one is a doozy... So, a fateful day around 2010ish I was in that dingleberry of a swampy butthole of land known as Fort Polk doing my train up for a deployment. That's a fucking story in itself. Anyhow, the end of the rotation had occurred, the war against whatever made up name country was won, and we were returning from Polky-land to our dependapotamuses. I was on a contact high as I was personally selected to be a part of my Battalion Commander's personal security detachment and all our joes were hand-selected by the Platoon Leader, Platoon Sergeant, and myself so we had a really awesome platoon. How awesome? When we did an escort mission with the Chaplain meeting with local religious leader, at the end, our division chaplain told us that "You guys fucking rocked that shit. Gave me a fucking hardon. That's what this division is all about. Fuck yeah." Preach on brother. Fast forward, fast forward. Anyhow, my Platoon Sergeant came to me and told me I needed to go to the bay where my Commander and First Sergeant were. My first thought was of deep consideration and reflection. "Shit." This can't be good. When I arrive, my First Sergeant's first question to me "Do you have government travel card?" I nodded a confirmation from our Operation BS in Egypt. He looks at me and says "No, you don't." What fucking Jedi mindtrick is this? Did I forget to pay off a debt? Will I be summoned straight to the Division CSM for a beheading as seems to be the operating procedure whenever government travel cards payments come into question. Casually, my commander slides a brigade memorandum towards me and motions for me to read it. I start reading and realize it's a tasking memorandum stating what each company will provide from brigade. Alpha Company... Two NCOs and three soldiers. "Suckers." Bravo Company... Three soldiers. "Nerds." Charlie Company... Three E6 NCOs. "Lol, loooossers..." Delta Company... Staff Sergeant Pickleindabutt. "well fuck me in the butt." BY NAME?! I was the only fucking individual chosen by MY GOD DAMN FULL NAME in this memorandum. How does brigade even know I exist? Why am I being tasked directly? Who put this memo together and how the fuck did they know my name. Who the fuck volun-told my name without me receiving a whisper of such curse. Suddenly it dawned on me and I realized what this tasking needed me for. "hazmat" Apparently I was the only person in brigade who could effectively fill out the forms for our HAZMAT containers. It started where I was just doing it for the company, moved to me declaring for battalion, and now BRIGADE is tracking me. AMO-62 qualification got me again and I was hand selected because my paperwork was the only one that kept getting cleared so they came after me. My dudes and dudettes, I literally volunteered for this course to get me out of a field exercise so I could watch the SEC championship - no shit. I was a dumb grunt and I didn't even know what the course was and just wanted to get my Roll Tide on. I get there for class and they're like "This is for declaring hazardous material for shipment by land, sea, air, teleportation pods, Skynet time travel, and rail." My dumb ass E5 self was like "Lol, when the hell does any infantry dude declare HAZMAT. Cake." A week later I was declaring HAZMAT for my brigade to Haiti so shows how well I could foreshadow things. You know how my paperwork always made it through? Let's break down the process. Me arrive. Me find MSDSs for hazmat. Me find civilian inspector who is overshadowing the process. "Yo, how do you want me to fill this out." Everyone else would be digging around the CFR 49 and I was just like "Lol, I can't read. Let me find the civilian who makes a career of this and ask them." And that's how I became the HAZMAT guy. Fast forward, fast forward. So now I'm part of a tasking that is ensuring our containers make it out of Beaumont, Texas. I already came to Polk on advance parties where I basically had AT&T screaming at me to stop using data while I watched all the episodes of Breaking Bad that was available at the time. Now I'm not even the rear detachment, I'm the past - I'm on fucking ice basically, a forgotten artifact of my brigade's Polk rotation. "Yall remember that one Staff Sergeant?... He told funny jokes... Whatever happened to him? I seem to recall him telling his soldiers to run over g-men at Polk whenever they surrounded his humvee while blatantly ignoring that a 50 cal was rocking them the whole time and then he just... vanished." Fast forward, fast forward. Me and two others will be grabbing a rental and driving to Beaumont. God damnit, I deploy in a few weeks and I'm already getting less time with my succubus future exwife that has a spending habit that makes Target wet thinking about it. Anyway, they move me to the brigade's bay. If you've never been to Polk, they have these hangers where they just stick a metric-fuck-ton of bunk beds when you're field rotation is over and you're either leaving or preparing for war with the g-men. The g-men are the Louisiana equivalent of Taliban and should never be trusted. They call themselves soldiers but they are the true enemy. While you're sludging through the swamps and wondering if you're in Vietnam, they come out of no where with their significantly enhanced miles laser gear and somehow your miles can never kill them. You just hear the beep of death of your gear to inform you that traitorous scum g-men nailed you. Probably for killing a Staff Sergeant they get a three day weekend or something. So, here I am in the brigade headquarters and we just acquired a rental car with a fellow NCO and fresh out of the officer-oven Lieutenant. Lieutenant asks a fateful question "You guys want to go off base." Unfortunately I came to fight the g-men and did not know I was going to be traveling so I had no civilian clothes. So, we agree to go to Wal-Mart in town so I can buy the cheapest of the cheap threads since my wife at the time absolutely had to buy "live, laugh, love" useless items from retail stores at an alarming rate. Listen to me, Polk is the middle of no where. It is a fucking swamp. I hated going there. I literally would shake the hands of people stationed there and tell them "You're in my thoughts and prayers." The place has a random wild horse herd and farm animals all over the place because people just dump their animals there. I had never left the base before and when we drove off I was basically like "Oh my..." It was like driving into a Flannery O'Connor novel but with strip clubs. There is absolutely nothing in Leesville but several strip clubs, a Wal-Mart, some shitty steakhouse, and trailers. Listen, I'm from Alabama and I was even like "Fuck. This isn't even deep south this is deepest south." So anyway, I buy the literal cheapest threads from Wal-Mart for my journey to Beaumont and we decide to go into one of the strip clubs for a few drinks and... holy shit, this place was the most Jabba the Hutt's palace experience I have ever had except instead of Leia they had Jaba on the poles. I quietly order a beer, get propositioned for a backroom dance from a human opossum and could only quietly respond "No thank you I'm Christian" in an attempt to ward off others, and wonder how the fuck am I going to get this LT to drink his beer faster so we can fucking leave. Fast forward, fast forward. We finally arrived to Beaumont and check in our hotel. I'm suffering from a wicked hangover from the night before in Lake Charles which had about 10 women for each male at the bar we went to. When we get to the hotel, we all agree that we just want to get some food and the clerk recommends this Cajun themed restaurant down the road. We go there and there were no tables but three open seats at the bar so we chose that. As always, Army guys are only just going to talk about the fucking Army so we proceed with our usual dose of bitching and whinnying. Suddenly, this older gent leads forward sitting beside us and says "YALL IN THE SERVICE?!" "Sure 'nuff." "YALL DEPLOYED!?" "We have and we're heading back to Iraq in a few months." "FOOD AND DRINKS ON ME - BARTENDER, SHOTS OF TEQUILA FOR ALL OF US AND MY MISSUS" "That's not necessary sir we-" "SHUT THE FUCK UP. FOOD - DRINKS ON ME." And that's how I met who I will refer to as Chief. I call him Chief because later he told me he was a Navy veteran and later he told me he was a Seal - like 98% of Navy veterans you meet. Chief had his lovely girlfriend with him and was the loudest fucking Texan in a bar full of Texans. He was pretty funny but mind you I'm still dealing with this wicked hangover and really just wanted sleep. We eat our respective meals and have a few more shots and beers. "WHAT'S YOUR PLANS TONIGHT!?" "We're tired so we were just goin-" "NOT IN MY TOWN ON A FRIDAY NIGHT. YOU BOYS ARE MEETING UP WITH ME." "That's really not neces-" "YOU HAVE TO TAKE MY OFFER BECAUSE I PAID YOUR MEALS AND DRINKS AND YOU'D BE DICKS IF OTHERWISE, MEET ME AT CHILI'S." Well, fuck. Fair point. We ended up driving to this random Chili's after exchanging texts with them and shit. My LT is all worked up and excited like a puppy because he's hoping they're a rich couple who want to rain down upon us the riches of the world for THX 4 UR SERVICE. I'm more in the tune of thought that they're swingers and probably want untie one of our balloon knots in some heated up sexcapade. All the sudden, this SUPED the fuck up Mustang pulls up beside us. "HEY YALL SEEN SOME ARMY DOUCHEBAGS!?" as the window rolls down. "I'm sorry, we're not like submarines or Marines, you can't go down on us sir." "HA! LET'S SEE IF THAT PIECE OF SHIT CAN KEEP UP" "It's a fucking rental Dodge of course it won't-" his Mustang goes flying off 2 Fast 2 Furious style. The Lieutenant is driving as I watch this Mustang Toyko-fucking-drift into the highway. "Slow down and ask him the location by text. I don't want to die on the road." So Chief proceeds to text us the location of where they are heading. And of course, strip club. We pull up and it's about the nicest fucking strip club I have ever seen. Polar opposite to that fucking swamp trailer we had seen before. I'm walking in my Wal-Mart bin threads clothes like "Fuck I'm not dressed for this shit." There's another couple with Chief now who introduce themselves to us. They're roughly around his age and married. Oh yeah, we are totally in a swinger situation. One of us is going to have to pay the dues and it isn't me. We walk in and sit down at this table and this place is two stories. Huge. Multiple dancers everywhere. "ALL DRINKS ON ME, YOU WANT A DANCE, PUT IT ON MY CARD." He then proceeds to pull out $300 in ones and shuffles them to each of us so we total $100 each. Dude. WTF is this. Then he proceeds to buy a tray of jello shots and puts that on the table. At this time, a Mafiaso looking dude walks up to us in a nice suit. "Thank you for getting the VIP section. Just so you're aware, you will have to purchase a $500 dollar bottle of champagne or a $1000 bottle." What. The. Fuck. We're in the VIP section of this club? Holy shit, how much does that cost? Here I am dressed in clothes that probably in total cost $17.67 and about to be drinking a bottle of $500 champagne. "I DON'T WANT CHAMPAGNE! I WANT SOME REAL LIQUOR!" Gents and gentettes, I proceed to watch this man argue with the owner that he wants Captain Morgan over champagne. I am now at a loss of processing this TDY adventure. Finally the owner agrees to Captain Morgan but it will still cost $500 dollars. He agrees. I just witnessed a man pay $500 dollars for a bottle of Captain Morgan. That I am almost positive that we never opened. I shit you not. I am holding back on throwing this dude's cash around because I'm still worried about the whole swinger aspect and them getting some soldier butthole later in the night when the festivities end. Fast forward, fast forward. Night ends. We bid our farewells to Chief and his friends. None of us was required to fuck one of them. Other NCO didn't drink at all so he drives us back to the hotel so we can finally crash. We do. TDY adventure now can get official and we can focus on our containers like professionals... Hold fast. Rewind, rewind. It's a Saturday. We don't have shit we can do. I'm awoken early in the morning by a knock at my door in which I answer and the Lieutenant is standing there with Chief on speaker yelling about jet-skis or some shit. wat? "He said he told you that we were going on his boat today." Umm.... negative. "MEET ME AT THE DOCKS" Chief yells on the phone and hangs up. So, we ended up meeting them at whatever lake is near Beaumont and let me tell you what... I would have given up my butthole for the amount of fun we had on his boat and jet skis. Jesus Christ, that was one of the funnest days of my life. I had never ridden a jet ski before but was going nuts on it. In less than two hours of meeting up with him, I'm driving a jet ski for the first time in my life trying to keep up with his fucking boat so I don't lose him. I don't really have much to add to that but god damn jet skis are amazing. Fast forward, fast forward. So we get the boat back to the dock and, in case I didn't mention, it was Chief, his girlfriend, and the other couple I mentioned before. I hear them talking about going to some boat casino with a Jack Daniels restaurant. Chief's friend keeps telling me they make a steak that is so good you will want to "fuck it on the floor to relieve your erection" which I believe is a high compliment. They get ready to leave and we bid our farewells. "THE FUCK ARE YALL TALKING ABOUT, SEE YOU THERE." Well okay, I guess we're going to a boat casino lol wtf. We go to a casino and they park the boat at the docks. I proceed to watch these fools drop mad money after eating a steak that I'm not sure I would call floor fucking worthy but pretty damn good. They then proceed to go nuts on the gambling. I mean fucking leaving me at their table with like $1,000 dollars so they could take a quick piss and I don't even gamble so I just stood there like a lost child. At one point, I notice Chief is missing so I decide to go check his boat. Lo and behold, there he is swimming in the dock with his boat blaring music loud as fuck. As I am walking towards the concert, there is literally a party of people dancing to his music outside of a hotel room on a balcony. I walk down and he's climbing back in. About this time, the other NCO from my merry band of adventurers walks up to. Chief asks what service-members carry now in the Army and proceeds to pull a glock out of his boat glove compartment. Alrighty now... I don't really care much for someone to be intoxicated and holding a gun. "Hey you should probably put-" BANG Mother. Fucker. Fucking. Fuck. FUCK. He totally just fired a round into the water. We are at a god damn casino and on the casino property. We are so about to taken the fuck down into depths of hell that I have never seen before. That dancing crew that I mentioned early, they're gone. Andddddd here comes security. Two behemoths of security guards heading our way. Once again, I go into the fucking zone and start walking towards them. "HEY DID SOMEONE FIRE A GUN OVER HERE!?" "Hey brother, that shit scared the fuck out of me." "WHAT DO YOU MEAN?" "It must have been like a boat backfire or something. I thought for sure it was a gunshot at first. I think the water made it sound weird. Scared the fuck out of me." "How do you know it wasn't!?" "Oh I'm in the Army bro. That shit made me think someone was shooting at us." "Oh... Okay... You cool?" "Yeah, I'm good man. Just spooked me." "You need a drink? On the house if nee-" "Nah, I'm good man. Thank you though. Have a nice night." And that's how I avoided being taken into casino prison. Fast forward, fast forward. We bid our farewells and return back to the hotel. Sunday I get a call from Chief's friend who I will refer to as "Victor" calls me and asks if we would like to get a few Sunday beers. We agree and meet at this chill local bar and are just shooting the shit. District Attorney for the area happen to be sitting in there and buys us rounds. God damn Texas really does fucking love the military, Jesus. At this time another older gentleman that knows Victor sits beside me and greets Victor. He asks me if I had deployed and I told him I had and was heading back over. "I thought my war was bad, I feel bad for your situation with those bombs they put on the roads. Scary stuff." "You were in?" "Army, Vietnam. I was a forward observer." This dude then proceeds to tell me stories about hiding in the brush from dog handlers who were hunting them down since they were forward observers. He proceeds to mention that if it wasn't for some Native American teaching them how to hide their scent, he would have been found. Basically learned how to rub shit on themselves so they could evade dog handlers. I'm sitting there in dismay at how he felt bad for my war... I may have gone into Iraqi shit creeks more than I cared for but I wasn't purposely rubbing shit in my hair so I could be behind deadly frontlines. He then proceeds to talk about a battle he was in. How they were being overran at one point by the Vietnamese. "We lost a lot of good men that day. Lots of friends." A slight tear rolls down his cheek and I saw him brush it away. You can usually spot a bull shitter with their gloats of heroism and valor. You know you're dealing with a man who had seen some shit when eyes water. A man who had seen some real hard shit in the bush. I could be wrong but I got the feeling he was the type that buried his experiences deep into his mind and never really got the chance to express his memories. He was a successful construction owner but I'm sure he still has nights judging by what he was telling me. Only to be probably spit on when he came home. He asks to be excused so he can piss. "I never knew he was in the service nor in Vietnam..." Victor says. "I've known him for over 15 years and I had no clue." Bartender says. Gentleman comes back and I ask if I can buy him a beer for his service as he had bought one for me. He agrees. Victor ended up picking up the tab before I could pay for that round. God damnit can I not fucking pay for anything here? I give him a firm handshake when I leave and tell him it was nice to meet him. Later I gave Victor my Combat Infantryman Badge and asked him to give it to the gentleman. Tell him I appreciate him telling me stories and mad respect for a man who had been through some real shit. While we were talking, he said something along the lines of not getting anything like infantry guys. Normally this would be debate worthy to me but I'm not saying shit to this gentleman. He's been through it. "Does it mean anything when I give it to him?" "Means essentially nothing but maybe it will be something to him." Fast forward. I'm going to skip the part of going to a Roller Derby team after-party at a strip club where I saw behemoth sized women picking up strippers and toss money at them left and right. That was another doozy of a day. They were more crazy in the strip club than I had ever seen any crowd be.... Coming from a survivor of Fayettenam's strip club venues, that means something. Alright. I'm on my final day and I've left a fuck ton more shit out of this story that occurred down in Beaumont for respectful reasons. We had to leave abruptly so I was on my last night. I went down to the hotel bar that I had gone into a few times. The bartender Steve was like the youngest 50 year old dude I had ever seen. I thought he was younger than me. Apparently my man Steve is a millionaire with a landscaping business and I ask him why he bartends and he says "Because of the funny fucking stories I get to hear from dudes like you." Oh, okay, word. This other dude is sitting beside me and asks if I was in the Army as I well telling Steve the shit show of an experience I had since being in Beaumont. "I was in too. I didn't go overseas or nothing like you did." I then proceed to have a very meaningful conversation with this dude on how he shouldn't look at it that way. He served and if called upon, he would have answered too. I offer to buy him a drink. He agrees and I ask Steve for a glass of their best scotch at the bar for both of us. I'm paying something in this god damn town before I leave. Just fucking something. I haven't dropped a dollar since Wal-Mart basically and this place has been so fucking kind to me, I'm putting something into Beaumont's economy. So help me God. We talk. We finish our drinks. We shake hands. He departs. I look at Steve and realize that this will wrap up this adventure. My precious Beautmont adventure. What a time. You have been so kind and generous to me. Now it's time to pay for something for this town. Here we go. "Get me tab Steve." "It's on the house, Pickleindabutt." FUUUUUUUUUUUCK. I go on this rant about how everyone is paying everything for me and fuck let me just buy a round. Steve is laughing at me and refuses. "JUST LET ME BUY AN RC COLA STEVE, SHIT!" I finally convince him to give me $0.00 receipt and leave him a $20 dollar tip. The next day we get back into uniform and realize we grossly did not estimate our trip to the airport accurately at all so we are speeding away from lovely Beaumont to whatever airport we needed to get to in Louisiana. While speeding we get pulled over by some Louisiana state trooper. He walks up to the passenger side where I am sitting at. "Who the hell do you think you are speeding like - what the hell, yall going to war or something?" when he sees the uniforms. "Well, we're trying to make our flight at the so we can go to Iraq." Ehhh, not a lie necessarily... "Alright, after you pass the next state trooper at the end of the coming construction zone, you should be able to gun it the rest of the way there. Be safe now!" Wasn't expecting that response but we'll take it. And that was that. I went back to Fort Bragg. Beaumont's adventure was over and I somehow managed to survive. I came back on a regular workday night and went to bed. Woke up to my Staff Duty desk calling me at like 5am and my dumb ass Sergeant Major was on the line which is not what I wanted... "Hey SSG Pickle! Were you trying to fucking kill yourself!?" Dear God, did my Sergeant Major catch wind of all that was going down in Beaumont. I wasn't posting it on social media. Does he know the shennanigans? We got the containers through. Did he catch rumors of his Staff Sergeant parading around in strip clubs, almost crashing a jet ski, partying with Roller Derby girls, having to sit around a hospital waiting area for a day, being selected to be a special guest for a crawfish cook-off... Could they question my professionalism? Am I losing my spot on the security detachment. Did I fill out hazmat paperwork wrong?... What could this mean. "Uh... negative." "Oh shit wrong SSG, never mind." Hangs up. Get a text from my Platoon Sergeant who is acting 1SG at this time and he's basically like "Come in today, now." I get there and he's basically like "Yeah everything has gone to shit for this pre-deployment. I need you in here." Whatever, that's fine. He's solid so I know it's the truth. "By the way, how was that trip to Beaumont?" "bro."
Tons of posts are asking about this town (mine included), so I decided to go through the /kelowna history and put all the responses in a central place. It can be a guide for visitors and Kelowna newbies in general. All the information has been gathered exclusively from posts here. If you'd like to add anything to the list, or see any errors, reply below and I'll add it to the main post below. (Mods, if this is long-term useful, you can sticky it.)
Activities & Things To Do
Swimming pools (see Swimming Pools below)
Gaming (see Gaming section below)
Live music (see Live Music below)
Go-karts, arcade games, and mini golf at Scandia
Karaoke at Creekside pub
Play pool at McCullough pub
Bowling at McCurdy
Indoor rock climbing at Gneiss and Beyond the Crux
Sushi classes at Start Fresh Kitchen
Start to finish pottery at That Pottery Place
Crafts at the New Art Collective space.
Comedy at Dakoda's (Open mic night Thursday 7pm, $5 show at 9pm, Friday and Saturday at 7pm & 9pm)
Comedy at Dunnenzie's ("Big Slice Of Comedy", a pay-what-you-want show Wednesday at 7pm)
Indoor batting cages at The Yardhouse (on Spedding Court)
Camping (see Camping below)
Hiking (see Hiking below)
Fly fishing (see Fly Fishing below)
Snow skiing & Snowboarding (see Skiing & Snowboarding below)
Go up to postil and find one of the large, open fields. This works better in the snow because it's more comfortable to lie on than dirt, but one can get creative if need be. Bring a tarp and blankets and warm clothes, fire supplies and snacks optional. Pretty much bed down under an open sky with zero light pollution, and watch the stars.
Ice Skating at Adventure Skate Trail at Apex in Penticton, Big White
Corn mazes (O'Keefe Ranch, etc)
Hay rides at MacMillan Farms
Tubing and Snowboarding at Big White
Drive from Lake Country to Vernon, then take Westside road back from the North Okanagan.
"The drive down this route beside the lake is one of our favourites. Stop at the salted caramel on the way for some good treats and coffee."
Beaver lake area. Car camping OK. Just take a left instead of going into the resort and you'll see the turnoff along the main road.
Peachland lake on the West Side, just above Princeton Rd. Few good sites along the lake to use and there some decent sized trout in the lake. There's a quarry area a lot of people use, but you go to the right along the lake there's some better spots.
A Comprehensive Guide to Southern Nevada Thrill Seeking and Rollercoasters
The guide is meant to service roller coaster enthusiasts in the greater Las Vegas area. I won't be including general Las Vegas tips, or any less traditional thrill seeking activities you may find in Southern Nevada. We're going to hit roller coasters first and then move on to other theme park-like activities. I'll try to cover everything, but if I miss something let me know and I'll update this. Welcome to Southern Nevada, the southern portion of the state with 0.05 roller coasters per 1,000 sq mi per RCDB. There's not a lot here, but there are a few memorable experiences that provide some credits and some entertainment to anyone. It's very possible to hit all of the credits in one day, but doing this may ruin the experience of some of these places. However, if you have some time in Vegas, and you'd rather have some thrill rides fill your day, here's what Southern Nevada has to offer.
Rollercoasters (From North to South)
Las Vegas Mini Grand Prix Credits - 1 Transportation - Taxi, Uber, or Rental Car This small attraction is a little family-centered Go-Kart experience with a small credit. The coaster is a small little piece of work that serves as a credit at least. I have some fond memories of it from my childhood, but its nothing special. If you are bringing kids, about the ages 5-14, they'll enjoy this entire place, and its a nice escape from the relentless advertisement barrage that is the rest of the attractions. Keep in mind, this is a good 30 minute drive away from the strip and therefire most of the hotels in town, so transportation can be inconvenient. If you really want the credit though, its still very possible to get there. The Adventuredome Credits - 2 (R.I.P. Miner Mike) Transportation - Foot, Uber, Taxi Ah, The Adventuredome. The infamous indoor amusement park on the strip. This place is good for almost all ages, and even as an adult, one can still find enjoyment here for some part of a day. Getting here is easy, but if you're walking and stayed at a hotel near the heart of the strip, it will be a significant walk. However, its totally possible to walk here even from the New York New York casino, where another major roller coaster resides. Canyon Blaster - The one word I would use to describe this coaster is charming. Its surprisingly smooth and holds up well for its size. Its layout is a little unconventional, but the novelty of it weaving throughout the rest of the park is intriguing. As for seats, the front will give you the most out of the near miss elements, while the back gives you a surprising amount of force. However, the difference isn't enough for me and I prefer the front.Not the best coaster in the world, but for an indoor Arrow, its really good. El Loco - For the most recent coaster to be added to the dome, S&S brought a fun little coaster that takes advantage of the space. In an indoor park, there's no room for air time or huge drops. What there is room for is lots of inversions and nausea. This coaster uses its space really well, and is actually very entertaining to sit and watch. Once again, the novelty of it all being inside is really effective, and if you go to the Adventuredome at night, you'll get a unique ride on this coaster that may be memorable. However, I am a relatively weak stomached person, and the coaster started to get my lunch up after 4 or 5 rides. I have talked to more average people in terms of vulnerability to nausea, and they say its fine for quite a few rides in a row. Just keep that all in mind if you find yourself in a position to marathon this thing. As for seats, there are only four, so my recommendation would be to try to ride in the front two, but it doesn't really matter. Overall, a neat coaster with a lot of novelty which uses its size and space really well. There are a couple flat rides in the dome, such as a Zamperla Disco, Morgan's Chaos, and Morgan's Inverter. These are cool as well, and definitely unique as there are not many indoor attractions like these. Other than that, the rest of the park is kiddie rides and stores. The park is actually quite fun to just stroll around, as the decorations and rockwork really cover the whole park and give the done some charm. I wouldn't recommend eating in the park, and you can buy a wristband for all day and leave in the middle, so take advantage of that. The Big Apple Coaster Credits - 1 Transportation - Foot Perhaps one of the most infamous coasters in the world and the last Togo built coaster in the United States, the Big Apple Coaster is an experience, I just can't say it's the best experience. The potential this coaster had was astounding, but the cheaply constructed final product leaves much to be desired. Getting here is very easy from almost every hotel on the Strip, and once inside just ask someone to direct you to the arcade and you'll be on your way. The casino floors are purposely confusion, so guidance may be necessary to find the thing. The actual coaster is okay. I don't think its as bad as everyone says, and I'll try to make my case here. Just try to not wear the VR, as those goggles make this this as bad as everyone says. You can ask the attendant to omit you from the VR, but I can't guarantee anything. Anyway, here's my defense of this coaster if you're not wearing VR: While the overall experience of this coaster may be slightly uncomfortable and jarring, the main takeaway from this coaster is the view of the strip and uniqueness that make this coaster especially memorable. Few coasters swoop over a crowded parking lot next to one of the busiest streets in the city. Few coasters give you aerial view of a bustling downtown entertainment epicenter. And few coasters are as memorable as this one. In fact, the uncomfortable restraints and unusual layout contribute to this overall memorability. I find the front row makes the ride a little less jarring, and if you can, a night ride is a really cool experience. Yes, the coaster may not be the best experience and give the best forces, but its a unique coaster that is worth at least a day ride and a night ride. Buffalo Bill's Resort and Desperado Credits - 1 Transportation - Uber, Rental Car Driving all the way out to the border between Nevada and California will bring you to Buffalo Bill's Resort and the coaster that towers over it. It pretty much just the coaster out here, but this a motion simulator and I think a log flume, but I'm just going to cover Desperado. Getting out here is very troublesome, and its a good hour drive from the strip center. I would recommend renting a car and driving it out here for about half the day. Desperado is decent to marathon and I don't think I've ever waited for it. The actual experience of Desperado is better than you may expect. It was actually my first coaster over 200ft, and as a hyper it stands up well enough. The air time is not great, but for a coaster in the middle of the desert its good enough. This coaster is really saved by how few people ride it; being able to ride it over and over is one of the best parts about it. Other than that, there's not much to say. Its okay, not great, kinda average. But in a state like Nevada, average is about all one can ask for.
There are a couple other experiences that are in the same genome as theme parks. No credits here, but theme park goers may find some enjoyment from these places. Wet n' Wild & Cowabunga Bay These are the seasonal water parks servicing the Las Vegas area. They're not extreamly large, but for small parks they're a nice place to chill in the summer. You could easily spend all day at one of these and kids will enjoy they're time. The differences are not very many between these two. I find that, in general, Wet n' Wild is cleaner and better kept, so if you can only visit one from the strip, that would be my recommendation. The Spring's Preserve This is a large nature reserve and park which is not far from the strip. If you wan't an escape from the consumerism center of the strip, its a relaxing place. It very child-oriented, but it can be relaxing to just meander and explore. There are several buildings that act as museums and historical centers so if its a hot day, don't worry. Overall, a calm center just off of the downtown area that is nice and quaint. The Stratosphere Finishing off with actual thrills, the stratosphere is a tall building with four main attractions at the top. Here's the website from the building for pictures of all three thrill rides. All three of these rides are very crowd oriented and if you don't have any sort of fear of heights they're really just children's rides high in the sky. The view from the tower is nice and the other attraction, bungie jumping off top, is over priced for the experience. I would come up here if you really want to either see the view or hit the rides, other wise it will be a mundane and disappointing experience. I do have to sing the praises of the restaurant at the top. If you have the means to eat there, it's worth it.
Southern Nevada is not a thrill seeker's paradise, but the region does have some nice attractions and a handful of credits for coaster enthusiasts. If you're in the area and are interested in some non-night time activities, these might be for you. The future is not looking great for roller coasters in Southern Nevada, but who knows, some wealthy individual may just bring some thrills to this great desert.
List of Las Vegas casinos that never opened Over the years there have been several casinos and resorts planned for the Las Vegas Valley that never opened. The stages of planning may have been just an announcement or groundbreaking. Asia Resort and Casino Where the Palazzo Casino and Resort currently stands (adjacent to the Venetian Hotel and Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center), an Asian themed casino was proposed but was rejected for the present Palazzo project. Alon Las Vegas A proposed luxury hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip on the former site of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino, announced in 2015. The project was put in doubt after Crown Resorts announced in late 2016 it was suspending its involvement in the development. Crown announced in December 2016 that it was halting the project and seeking to sell its investment. The remaining partner Andrew Pascal announced he was seeking other partners to proceed with the project. However in May 2017, the land went up for sale. The land was later purchased by Steve Wynn. Beau Rivage Steve Wynn, who had purchased and demolished the Dunes hotel-casino, had originally planned to build a modern hotel in the middle of a man-made lake. He later built the Bellagio with a man-made lake in the front of the hotel. The name was later used by Wynn for a resort built in Biloxi, Mississippi. Caribbean Casino In 1988, a sign for a proposed casino was erected on a fenced vacant lot on Flamingo Road. Standing near the sign was a scale model galleon. For several years, that was all that stood on the property. The empty lot was the source of many jokes by the locals until the ship, which was later damaged by a fire started by a homeless person, was torn down in the 1990s and the lot became the site of the Tuscany Suites and Casino co-owned by Charles Heers, who has owned the property since the 1960s. Carnival In 1990, the Radisson group proposed a 3,376-room hotel next to the Dunes, with a casino shaped like a Hershey's Kiss. Cascada A proposed resort that was to have been built on the site of El Rancho Vegas. The parcel is now partially taken by the Hilton Grand Vacations Club and Las Vegas Festival Grounds. City by the Bay Resort and Casino A San Francisco-themed resort was proposed for the site of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino. The project was rejected in favor of the Swiss-themed Montreux, which was also eventually cancelled. Countryland USA A country music-themed resort was planned for construction of the site of the former El Rancho Hotel and Casino. For some years, the El Rancho sign stood with the words "Coming Soon - Future Home of Countryland USA." Craig Ranch Station Main article: Craig Ranch Station A Mediterranean-themed hotel-casino for North Las Vegas, proposed by Station Casinos in March 2000. The project faced opposition from nearby residents, which led to the proposed location being changed to a vacant property on the nearby Craig Ranch Golf Course. Residential opposition to the new location led to the project being rejected by the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee in March 2001. Station Casinos still had the option to develop the project on the initial site, but the project was cancelled entirely in July 2001, following a weak financial quarter for the company. Crown Las Vegas Main article: Crown Las Vegas Formerly known as Las Vegas Tower, the Crown Las Vegas was to have been a supertall skyscraper built on the former site of a Wet 'n Wild water park. In March 2008, the project was canceled and the property was put up for sale. Desert Kingdom In 1993, ITT Sheraton purchased the Desert Inn casino, and had announced plans to develop the large parking lot into a Balinese themed resort to complement the Desert Inn. The project was never developed and the site is now the location of Wynn Las Vegas. DeVille Casino After building the Landmark Hotel and Casino on Convention Center Drive and selling it to Howard Hughes, developer Frank Carroll built the DeVille Casino across the street from the Landmark at 900 Convention Center Drive in 1969. Chips were made for the casino (and are sought-after collectibles), but the casino never opened. The building was renovated in 1992 as a race book parlor named Sport of Kings which closed after nine months. It became the location of The Beach nightclub, which was demolished in 2007 to make room for a planned 600-unit tower that was never built. The land sits currently empty. Echelon Place Main article: Echelon Place An announced project by Boyd Gaming planned to have a hotel built on the property of the former Stardust Resort & Casino. Construction was suspended on August 1, 2008 due to the Great Recession. In March 2013, Boyd Gaming sold the proposed site for $350 million to the Genting Group, which is redeveloping the project as the Asian-themed Resorts World Las Vegas. Fontainebleau Las Vegas Main article: The Drew Las Vegas Located on the Las Vegas Strip and originally known as Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Construction began in 2007, and the resort was to include a casino, 2,871 hotel rooms, and 1,018 condominium units. Construction on the $2.9 billion project ceased in 2009, the year of its planned opening. Investment firms Witkoff Group and New Valley LLC purchased the unfinished resort in 2017. In 2018, Witkoff and Marriott International announced a partnership to open the renamed project as The Drew Las Vegas in 2020. The resort will include a casino and three hotels totaling nearly 4,000 rooms, with the condominium aspect removed from the project. Harley-Davidson Hotel and Casino A resort themed after the motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson was proposed, complete with hotel towers shaped like gigantic exhaust pipes, but was never built. Jockey Club Casino The Jockey Club is a condominium and timeshare resort at 3700 Las Vegas Boulevard South. It was planned to have a casino, and chips were made for its use, but the casino was never opened. Kactus Kate's By April 1994, Gold Coast Hotel and Casino owner Michael Gaughan was interested in building a hotel-casino in North Las Vegas, at the northeast corner of North Rancho Drive and Carey Avenue. In January 1995, the city planning commission approved the rezoning of the land for use as a hotel-casino. The resort, to be named Kactus Kate's, would be built by Gold Coast Hotel/Casino Limited. The hotel would include 450 rooms, and the casino would be 105,000 sq ft (9,800 m2), later decreased to 102,000 sq ft (9,500 m2). The resort would be located directly north of the nearby Fiesta and Texas Station resorts. In December 1998, Coast Resorts, Inc. received approval from the planning commission for a use-permit relating to the undeveloped property. In November 2000, the planning commission unanimously approved a two-year extension on the permit, giving the company more time to decide whether it would build Kactus Kate's. Because of a 1999 Senate bill that placed restrictions on casinos in neighborhoods, Coast Resorts had a deadline of 2002 to build the casino. The hotel would measure over 100 feet (30 m) high, and Coast Resorts was required to notify the Federal Aviation Administration of its final plans, due to the site being located less than 1,000 feet (300 m) from a runway at the North Las Vegas Airport. In January 2001, Station Casinos purchased the 29-acre (12 ha) site for $9 million. Coast Resorts president Harlan Braaten said, "As we saw the competitive nature of that area intensify, in terms of the size of competing facilities, we just felt we would have to build something much bigger than we had intended to compete with Texas Station and Santa Fe Station. It was just going to be a very expensive project, and we didn't feel the returns would be that good." Station Casinos planned to sell the property as a non-gaming site. Las Vegas Plaza Main article: Las Vegas Plaza Not to be confused with the Plaza Hotel & Casino. This was to have been modeled after the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The project was announced shortly before the demolition of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino, where the new hotel would be built. Las Vegas Plaza was cancelled in 2011 due to the Great Recession. London Resort and Casino This announced project was to have been themed around the city of London, and featuring replicas of the city's landmarks. The project was to be built on land across from the Luxor Hotel and Casino. A second London-themed resort was to be built on the former land of the El Rancho Hotel and Casino. Neither project ever began construction. London, Las Vegas This was a proposed three-phase project using London as its design inspiration. When completed, the 38.5-acre (15.5 ha) property would have featured 1,300 hotel rooms, a casino, a 500-foot-tall (152.4 m) observation wheel named Skyvue (partially constructed), and 550,000 square feet (51,097 square meters) of restaurants and shops — all of which would be architectural replicas of various British landmarks and neighborhoods. The project was to be constructed on land across from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, where — as of November 2019 — the partially-constructed Skyvue still stands. The wheel was to be "Phase I of London, Las Vegas". Montreux Resort This Swiss-themed resort was to have been built on the property of the former New Frontier Hotel and Casino, but was ultimately cancelled. Moon Resort and Casino Proposed by Canadian developer Michael Henderson, this is a planned 10,000-room, 250-acre (1.0 km2) lunar-themed casino resort. Gaming experts doubt it will ever be built in Las Vegas, simply because the space planned for it is too large for the Las Vegas Strip. NevStar 2000 Further information: Craig Ranch Station § NevStar 2000 Proposed by NevStar Gaming in 1998, the NevStar 2000 entertainment complex in North Las Vegas would have included a hotel and casino, but the project faced opposition from nearby residents who did not want a casino in the area. The project was cancelled when NevStar Gaming filed for bankruptcy in December 1999. North Coast/Boyd Gaming project In May 2003, Coast Casinos had plans for the North Coast hotel-casino, to be built at the southwest corner of Centennial Parkway and Lamb Boulevard in North Las Vegas. The project would be built on approximately 40 acres (16 ha) of vacant land, surrounded by other land that was also undeveloped. At the time, the North Las Vegas Planning Commission was scheduled to review requests for zoning changes and approvals for the project. The project was not scheduled to be built for at least another four years, after completion of a highway interchange at Lamb Boulevard and the nearby Interstate 15, as well as the completion of an overpass over nearby railroad tracks. Bill Curran, an attorney for the land owner, said, "We're going through the zoning changes now so everybody knows what's going to be out there." The North Coast would include a casino, a 10-story hotel with 398 rooms, a bowling alley, movie theaters, and a parking garage. In June 2003, the Planning Commission voted 6 to 1 to approve preliminary applications necessary to begin work on the North Coast. Boyd Gaming, the owner of Coast Casinos, announced in February 2006 that it would purchase the 40-acre site for $35 million. Jackie Gaughan and Kenny Epstein were the owners at the time. Boyd Gaming had not decided on whether the new project would be a Coast property or if it would be similar to the company's Sam's Town hotel-casino. At the time, no timetable was set for building the project. In March 2007, the project was put on hold. At the time, Boyd Gaming had been securing construction permits for the project but decided to first review growth in the area. Construction had been scheduled to begin in mid-2007. In August 2013, Boyd Gaming sold the undeveloped property for $5.15 million. Palace of the Sea Resort and Casino This was to have been built on the former Wet 'n Wild waterpark site. Conceptual drawings included yacht-shaped towers that housed suites, a casino resembling the Sydney Opera House and a 600-foot (180 m) tall Ferris wheel-type attraction dubbed a "Sky Wheel". It never left the planning stages. Paramount Las Vegas A casino and hotel and condo resort with more than 1,800 units that was planned by Royal Palms Las Vegas, a subsidiary of Royal Palms Communities. The project was to replace the Klondike Hotel and Casino at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, beside the Las Vegas welcome sign. The resort was approved in October 2006, but an investor pulled out of the project in August 2007, and the land was put up for sale in May 2008. Pharoah's Kingdom Pharoah's Kingdom was planned as a $1.2 billion gaming, hotel and theme park complex to be built on 710 acres (290 ha) at Pebble Road and Las Vegas Boulevard, five miles south of the Las Vegas Strip. Construction was approved in October 1988, with Silano Development Group as the developer. The project would have an Egyptian theme, including two 12-story pyramids made of crystal, with each containing 300 suites. The hotel would have a total of 5,000 rooms, making it the largest in the world. The 230,000 sq ft (21,000 m2) casino would include 100 table games and 3,000 slot machines, while an RV park, mini-golf, a bowling alley, and a video game arcade would be located beside the casino area. Three of the project's various pyramid structures would house the 50-acre (20 ha) family theme park. Other features would include sphinxes, man-made beaches, waterways resembling the Nile river, an underwater restaurant, a 24-hour child-care facility, a 100-tenant shopping promenade, and a repertory-style theater that would be overseen by actor Jack Klugman. Additionally, the resort would feature an 18-hole PGA Championship golf course, and a monorail located within the theme park. The project would have one mile of frontage along Las Vegas Boulevard. Frank Gambella, president of the project, stated that financing was in place, with groundbreaking planned for March or April 1989. Gambella said the project would be financed by several entities, with the money coming from a Nevada corporation, suggesting the entities would be grouped together as an umbrella corporation. Gambella stated that the project could be opened by Labor Day 1990. The resort was expected to employ 8,000 people. Following the completion of the resort, Gambella said a complex of 750 condominiums would be built on the land along with 900 retirement-care apartments. The project was cancelled shortly after it was announced, as authorities became suspicious of developer Anthony Silano's fundraising efforts for the project. It was discovered that Silano and his associates hacked into the Switzerland bank accounts of Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos following his death in 1989. Silano pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges. Another Egyptian-themed resort, Luxor Las Vegas, would open on the south Las Vegas Strip in 1993. Planet Hollywood Resort (original plans) Not to be confused with the current Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Originally planned to open in the late 1990s on the site of the Desert Inn, it was to be one of the largest hotels in Las Vegas. Because of the bankruptcy of Planet Hollywood Restaurants, the hotel was never built. However, in the 2000s, a group of investors bought the new Aladdin Hotel and Casino and remodeled it with a modern Hollywood theme. Playboy Hotel and Casino A proposed casino resort themed after Playboy magazine was rejected in favor of a nightclub and suites built at the top two floors of the new Palms tower. The planned location for the Playboy Hotel and Casino, on the Las Vegas Strip, was later used for the Cosmopolitan resort. Santa Fe Valley Main article: Santa Fe Valley Santa Fe Gaming, which owned the Santa Fe hotel-casino in northwest Las Vegas, had plans for a second Santa Fe property in 1996. The Santa Fe Valley would be built on a 40-acre (16 ha) lot in Henderson, Nevada, adjacent to the Galleria at Sunset mall. The start of construction was delayed several times because of poor financial quarters for Santa Fe Gaming, and because of the company not yet receiving financing for the project. Site preparation started in July 1998, with an opening date scheduled for December 1999, but construction never began. In 1999, the property was sold to Station Casinos, which sold the land a year later for use as a shopping center. Shenandoah Hotel and Casino A project by Wayne Newton. Although the hotel operated for a short time at 120 E. Flamingo Road, the management was unable to get a gaming license. After years of floundering it was sold to a Canadian company and became Bourbon Street Hotel and Casino. Silver City proposals By January 2000, Luke Brugnara was planning to build a San Francisco-themed resort on the site of the closed Silver City Casino. Brugnara intended to give Silver City a multimillion-dollar renovation, with plans to have a fully operational hotel-casino by 2002. In March 2001, Brugnara's request for a gaming license was rejected. In May 2002, it was announced that Brugnara had sold the casino while retaining six acres located behind the building. In 2003, Brugnara was planning to build a 24-story, 304-room hotel and casino resort on a portion of the Silver City property. The resort, to be named "Tycoon", was to be designed by Lee Linton, with an expected cost of approximately $100 million. Starship Orion International Thoroughbred Breeders (ITB) announced plans to demolish the El Rancho and construct Starship Orion, a $1 billion hotel, casino, entertainment and retail complex with an outer space theme, covering 5.4 million square feet (501,676 square meters). The resort was to include seven separately owned casinos, each approximately 30,000 square feet (2,787 square meters). Each potential casino owner was to contribute up to $100 million to own and operate a casino within the complex. The complex would have included 300,000 square feet (27,871 square meters) of retail space, as well as 2,400 hotel rooms and a 65-story hotel tower. ITB hoped to begin construction later in 1996, with a planned opening date of April 1998. Sunrise This was to have been located at 4575 Boulder Highway. Property developer Michael Mona Jr. built the hotel-casino and stated that he was going to break tradition by starting a "casino without a theme". He failed to get an unrestricted gaming license when suspicions arose concerning his associations with alleged organized crime figures. Chips were made for the casino, but were never used. The building was opened as Arizona Charlie's Boulder. Titanic In 1999, Bob Stupak was planning a 400-foot-high (122 m) resort themed after the RMS Titanic, to be built on a 10-acre (4 hectares) property he owned near downtown Las Vegas. The resort would have included 1,200 rooms, 800 of which were to be used for timeshares to help finance the project. That year, planning commissioners rejected Stupak's request to change the zoning to allow for a hotel. The project was later planned for the former site of the El Rancho Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip, but was rejected by the Las Vegas City Council. W Las Vegas Main article: W Las Vegas W Las Vegas was proposed in August 2005, as a $1.7 billion joint project between Starwood and Edge Resorts, with a scheduled opening in 2008. The project would include a 75,000 sq ft (7,000 m2) casino and approximately 3,000 hotel, condo hotel, and residential units. The project was cancelled in May 2007, after Starwood pulled out of the deal. Wally's Wagon Wheel Wally's Wagon Wheel was to be developed by Walter Weiss through his company, Magna Leisure Partnership. The project was proposed for 2200 South Boulder Highway in Henderson, between Wagon Wheel Drive and Roberts Road, near Henderson's Old Vegas western theme park. Manga Leisure Partnership purchased the 15.5-acre property in late February 1988. Weiss, at that time, had tentative plans for a western-themed, 112-room property known then as the Wagon Wheel Hotel and Casino. The Wagon Wheel was expected to cost $15 million, and financing had yet to be obtained for the project, which Weiss expected to open in early 1990. The project, which would include a 55,000 sq ft (5,100 m2) casino, was to be built in two phases. By October 1991, Wally's Wagon Wheel remained unbuilt due to difficulty obtaining financing. That month, the Henderson Planning Commission voted to give Weiss more time to make progress on the project. At that time, the project was to include 204 hotel rooms and would be built on 13.30 acres (5.38 ha). Weiss noted that the nearby successful Sam's Town hotel-casino opened with 204 rooms, and he believed his project would be successful if he opened with the same amount of rooms for good luck. By the end of 1992, Weiss had still not acquired financing for Wally's Wagon Wheel. At the time, the project was the largest of five casinos being planned for Henderson. The three-story project was to include 200 rooms, two restaurants, a theater lounge for country and western entertainment, and a large bingo room. Weiss stated that groundbreaking was scheduled for May 1993, with an expected opening in June 1994. The hotel-casino would employ approximately 600 people upon opening. Weiss met with nearby residents to discuss the project, and he had the original design changed to include a larger buffer zone between homes and the hotel-casino. In November 1994, the Henderson Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of Weiss' requested zone change as part of the redesign. The project, at that time, was to include a one-story casino and a four-story hotel with 400 rooms. In December 1994, the Henderson City Council rejected Weiss' plans for a 200-foot (61 m) buffer. In July 1997, the unbuilt project received its sixth extension from the Henderson Planning Commission for a use permit and architectural review. In August 1997, the Henderson City Council approved the sixth extension, but denied Weiss' appeal for a one-year extension, instead giving him six months to make progress on the project. Up to that time, $1.7 million had been invested in the project by Magna Leisure Partnership. As of 1998, the project was expected to cost $80 million and employ at least 1,200 people, and the proposed site had increased to 19 acres (7 ha). At that time, Weiss stated that he was close to obtaining financing for the project from a casino operator. The project was never built. Wild Wild West Not to be confused with Wild Wild West Gambling Hall & Hotel. As of 1993, Station Casinos owned a 27-acre (11 ha) site on Boulder Highway with the potential to be developed as a casino. The site was located across the street from Sam's Town hotel-casino. In January 1998, Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. announced plans to purchase Station Casinos, which had intended to sell the land prior to the announcement. By March 1998, Station Casinos was planning to develop a hotel-casino complex on the land, which was occupied by a vacant strip mall. The complex would be known as Wild Wild West, with local residents as the target clientele. Crescent's purchase of Station Casinos failed in August 1998, and Station Casinos subsequently slowed its plans to build the project. By the end of the year, the project had received approval from the Clark County Planning Commission for a 273,000 sq ft (25,400 m2) casino and a 504-room hotel. No timetable for construction was announced, and Station Casinos had already decided by that point not to start any new projects prior to 2000. Station Casinos sold the undeveloped land for $11.2 million to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in April 2004. World Port In 2000, Howard Bulloch, David Gaffin, and their partner Tom Gonzales transferred ownership of the Glass Pool Inn property to their group, known as New World, with plans for a megaresort. New World purchased several other nearby motels to accumulate a 77-acre (31 ha) parcel located on the Las Vegas Strip and east of the Mandalay Bay. In January 2001, plans were announced for World Port Resorts, a megaresort consisting of hotel-casinos, a convention center and a fine arts facility. The project was to be built on the 77-acre (31 ha property, a portion of which was occupied by the Glass Pool Inn. World Trade Center To have been located at 925 East Desert Inn Road. Leonard Shoen, co-founder of U-Haul truck rental, purchased the property of what had been the Chaparral Hotel & Casino in 1996, renovating it into the World Trade Center Hotel. A gaming license was applied for, but when it was discovered that two of Shoen's closest partners were convicted felons, the application was denied in 1998. He withdrew his application, and died in a car crash in 1999 that was ruled a suicide. Cards and gaming chips were produced for the World Trade Center Casino, but were never used. The property has since been demolished and is now a parking lot, part of the Las Vegas Convention Center Annex. World Wrestling Federation A casino resort themed after the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) was proposed for a property near the Interstate 15 freeway across from Mandalay Bay. The project never went past the proposal stage. The land where it would have stood is now Allegiant Stadium. WWF also proposed to open the project on the property once used by the Clarion Hotel and Casino, which was demolished in 2015 to become a parking lot. Xanadu In February 1976, the Clark County Commission approved the 23-story Xanadu resort, to be built on the Las Vegas Strip at the corner of South Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue. The resort would include approximately 1,700 hotel rooms and a casino, as well as convention facilities, a showroom, dining, and indoor tennis courts. The resort was to be developed by Tandy McGinnis – of Bowling Green, Kentucky – and his Xanadu Corporation, and would be built on 48.6 acres (19.7 ha) owned by Howard Downes, a resident of Coral Gables, Florida. The Xanadu would feature a pyramid design, and was expected to cost $150 million. It would have been the first themed mega-resort. Much information and many artifacts of the project are housed at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas library. The Excalibur Hotel and Casino ultimately opened on the property in 1990. See also Category:Defunct casinos in the Las Vegas Valley List of Atlantic City casinos that never opened
I just got back and a friend who is taking the exact same cruise and is also cost conscious asked me to give him all my lessons learned. I figured you all might benefit even if some of this information isn't strictly about cruising. I'm going to ask my travel companions to review it (first time in Hawaii and first time cruising) to see if they have anything to add.
Getting There And Getting Around
Air Fare With Southwest now offering tickets to Hawaii, I expect the competitive market to drop prices across the board but unless you are fortunate enough to live on the west coast in a city with flights that fly direct, air fare can be pricey. I had to get 4 people there round-trip (2 from rural Maine, 1 from Louisville Kentucky and 1 from the Baltimore/D.C. area). I ended up signing up for the Chase Sapphire credit card (annual fee waived for the first year) and the Alaska Airlines credit card that gave me a buy one/take one sign up offer. My total air fare cost was $2400. Besides the credit card, there was no secret other than monitoring the prices as far in advance as possible to see what typical prices are and then striking when there was a decent sale. I would also mention following Scott's Cheap Flights on the off chance a deal becomes available for when you were already planning on traveling. Ground Transportation We flew into Waikiki on Tuesday (cruise started on Saturday) so I got a rental car through Autoslash. The total cost for a mid-size for 4 days was $176 and ended up being from Alamo. While I feel this was a good deal as I had four people, if you're not 100% sure you will need it - you can probably get by with an Uber, taxi or even a hop on/off bus (see excursions later). Many excursions had an option for hotel pickup/drop-off. Probably the best deal I found was Star Taxi which only charged $25 for up to 4 people one-way to/from the cruise terminal and not much more for other locations. Call 1 hour before you need the service. Parking Parking is EXPENSIVE so be sure to do a lot of research if you plan on renting a vehicle.
General In your mind, you have this idea of what Hawaii is going to be like. Oahu (specifically Honolulu/Waikiki) is not it. It is very over developed and crowded. Many places are run-down because investors have purchased the property but have chosen to wait until conditions are more favorable to develop. There is a very large homeless population in Hawaii overall but I was shocked by the number of shanty towns and abandoned vehicles doubling as homes I saw on Oahu. Excursions
Snorkel-Cruise-Swim-Dolphins-Turtles - highly recommended (hint: This excursion may be cheaper directly with the vendor Dolphins And You - if you buy the photos, you will have to go to their Waikiki office later to pick them up and they will offer you a 10% discount on merchandise at that time).
Shark Dive - Unfortunately, this tour got canceled due to weather so I can't comment on it. Since it is on the north shore, the plan was to do an early morning adventure (when the water is calmest) and then spend the rest of the time exploring the beaches and surfers. (hints: You may be able to get this cheaper directly with the vendor North Shore Shark Adventures and if you drive, take one way to get there and another way to get back so you can experience more of the island).
Sunset Cruise & Show - The people I was going with had never cruised before so this was to get their feet wet so to speak. It was nice but not spectacular. You may be able to get it cheaper directly through the vendor Star Of Honolulu. On Fridays, they offer an extra hour for a nominal fee upgrade which includes fireworks. I didn't see the fireworks myself but several people I talked to said they are put on by a hotel and aren't anything special. (hint: If you drive, they will validate your parking ticket and parking will only be $4 instead of $18).
Waikiki Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off You can trade time for money and if you have time, this would be a much more cost effective solution to getting around and is very configurable (how many days of use, how many different lines, etc.)
Polynesian Culture Center - I had the Ambassador Luau Package With Circle Island Tour of Oahu. Pickup was at 8:30 in the morning and drop off wasn't until after 10 PM so it is a long day. If you do this one I have several recommendations. First, take it early in the trip because it includes a multi-day pass so you can go back at no charge for 3 more days and the Circle Island tour allows you to see some areas you may want to explore on your own. Second, you don't get food until 6 PM so be sure to eat breakfast first and plan the rest of the time accordingly (bring snacks for instance). The only thing I was disappointed in was the Diamond Head didn't actually drive up to the crater. Update After the initial post, I was reminded by mashel2811 of a few things. The PCC is Mormon owned/operated which has pros/cons. On the downside, there is no alcohol on-site and things overall tend on the conservative side. Not that I have an issue with that but if you're looking for authenticity then this would represent Polynesia post Christian missionaries. On the upside, it is a huge facility that truly will allow you to experience many of the cultures besides just Hawaii. Also, regardless of how you feel about religion, the money taken in from PCC helps to sponsor many students education from all over Polynesia. I had nothing to compare the luau to but I have heard from several other people that there are much better options (the luau at PCC is optional). The Breath Of Life was awesome.
Pearl Harbor (see the end of the cruise excursions)
You probably want a beach other than Waikiki due to the number of people - Hanauma Bay looked awesome. If you do decide to stay in Waikiki, walking the coastline towards Diamond Head is a better choice for the beach instead of around all the hotels. This is because in Hawaii, beach access and water is considered a public service (free)
What is and isn't expensive didn't make any sense. Eggs imported from the mainland were cheaper than eggs from Hawaii despite chickens EVERYWHERE but I was able to get a large jar of peanut butter for $1.89. The best place I found for groceries was Don Quijote and it had a free parking garage.
Souvenirs were much cheaper on other islands
It rains - almost daily - but not for long - don't let it fool you - WEAR sunscreen of at least SP50
Hydrate more than usual - especially if you're drinking beer like me
Updates From original post below
You can get insanely discounted Pearl Harbor tickets from recreation.gov but they sell out in 5 minutes. Exactly 7am Hawaii time they sell tickets for the next day or for 2 months out. Nothing in between. I recommend having 2-3 people trying it simultaneous for different time slots. The early tickets sell faster. Then the bus ride anywhere is $2.50 each. When you board the bus ask for a transfer ticket. The transfer ticket is good for two more rides for the next 2.5 hours. If you get out of PH within the time slot you can ride back for free.
There's a stand near Breakout Waikiki that is a hard sell timeshare sales pitch (couples only). If you're willing to sit through it, they give you $150 towards an excursion or a free meal and a $120 Visa gift card (as of March 2019). If you want the exact location, message me.
You may think being a Costco member will help you out on expenses and you're probably right but know that the busiest Costco in the world is on Oahu and they claim 1 in 4 people have membership so plan accordingly (think shopping for the latest toy on Christmas Eve)
Pride Of America
I have to be honest, this was hands down the most expensive cruise I have taken and it was the worst cruise ship. I had a great time but there was a lot left to be desired.
Entertainment was very underwhelming - I believe unlike other mass-market cruise lines, NCL's entertainers are on multi-month contracts just like other staff. This tends to be bad for entertainers like comedians (how many different sets can they have prepared) but should be better for magicians (you shouldn't have to rely on the suitcase you get through security at the airport). I have seen a Vegas quality magic show on NCL before (Norwegian Spirit last November) but this act was honestly no better than a birthday party. I could go on but I will summarize it as this: On Carnival, I struggle deciding what I am going to do because of so many good things where as on this ship, I struggled to find anything I actually wanted to do.
Beer prices were outrageous and included a mandatory 20% gratuity and since you spend a LOT of time in port, taxes too. In each port, I found a better selection of beer right off the ship for at least 20 - 30% cheaper than on the ship. If you do drink on the ship however, I highly recommend the Gold Rush Saloon as it has a couple of beers on tap you can't get anywhere else. It has a self-serve popcorn machine and is adjacent to the buffet so you can get self-serve ice cream too.
The food was mediocre (main dining quality was about the same as the buffet which was good but not great). I didn't spend the money to try any of the specialty dining.
Update: One thing that really stood out as being a good thing is that the room had 3 US standard outlets!!! Why Does It Cost So Much
There is no casino to subsidize the fare cost
It is a US Flag cruise ship which means it has to abide by US labor laws (this is an indirect result of the Jones Act as it doesn't travel to any foreign ports)
Hawaii not only has a sales tax but a tourist imposed General Excise Tax which of course NCL passes on to you
Exclusivity - unless you want an extremely sea day intense cruise from California, around Hawaii, to Mexico and then back to California (or similar) cruise - they're the only show in town
Hint: You should get the NCL Mobile App. It includes dinner reservations, account charges, dinner reservations, deck plans, passenger to passenger chat for an additional fee ($10 vs Carnival's $5) and other nifty features. Observations I was astounded by the number of first time cruisers I saw (based on their ship card color). Because so many of the employees were American, I was also surprised by how many told me that they were on their first contract and wouldn't be back. The people (both employees and passengers) were incredibly friendly and most everyone seemed to be having a good time. I didn't see long lines at guest services. I mentioned earlier how this was the worst ship I had been on - and, while true, shouldn't give you the impression that I didn't have a great time. For my traveling companions, they had nothing to compare it to and other than the entertainment - they had no complaints at all and loved it.
Day 1 & 2 Maui (overnight)
If you have ever been on a Caribbean cruise and you didn't feel like paying for an expensive excursion you could always just walk off the ship and go to a beach or a shopping district or a friendly bar - something. This is not the case in Maui. Where the Pride Of America docks there is absolutely nothing (it took 10 minutes to walk out of the port with chained link fence on both sides only to end up about another 10 minutes away from a strip mall). I do want to point out that the strip mall did have a few artisans selling things out on the sidewalk but this was far from what you will be used to at other locations. So what to do instead?
Rent a car if you want to go on your own - day rentals are common and you will be in port overnight. You will have to do your own research as to what to do as I booked excursions for both days
Go up to Haleakala Crater for sunset or sunrise. I went for sunset as sunrise required leaving the ship at 3 AM. I can't stress how amazing this sunset was at nearly 2 miles above sea level. If you go, take plenty of warm (think Maine winter) cold. It was 44 degrees without the windchill when we arrived at around 5 PM (still sunny) and the temperature dropped significantly by the end of the sunset (around 6:40 for us but varies based on time of year).
Road To Hana - I didn't take this excursion but it is extremely popular. Most guests I spoke with said they absolutely loved it though a few called it the road to hell (it's an all day excursion)
Maui Northshore & Waterfall Walk - This is the one I took because it was rated as "easy" and one of my traveling companions has mobility issues. There is an alternative called Waterfall Hike that you may want to consider. This was a great excursion which took you into a historical town for lunch (delicious) and gave you some free time to explore the artisans (glass blowing, jewelry making, etc.) before taking you to the private access Wailele Farm. The waterfalls you can walk to (as opposed to hike to) were not breathtaking but overall the plants and flowers here were amazing. You will get an opportunity to eat many of the things you encounter so if you're feeling adventures, give it a try.
This is the first of two days on the island of Hawaii and it is on the eastern (very wet) side of the island. Normally doing two excursions in one day is a not recommended. I would make an exception here because the Botanical Gardens are not to be missed. It is a short excursion (2.5 hours), is relatively inexpensive (you can even do it on your own) and is offered at multiple times allowing you to get another excursion in. Recommendations
The Botanical Gardens - either through NCL or directly with Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden - they have social media as well if you have questions. Tip: One of my traveling companions said walk through twice - once looking down and once looking up because there is just so much to see.
Go zip-lining. I happened to choose Zipline Through Paradise as it had a tandem/parallel course (you got to zip at the same time as someone else). You can even hold hands on one line for a very special photo. You may even want to book directly with Kapohokine
The other side of the island is a stark contrast to Hilo as it is dry/desert climate. It is the only tender port on the cruise. Unfortunately, we didn't fare very well here on excursions but shopping and beer was good. It has been on my bucket list to be in a real submarine and go over 100 feet to below the surface to the ocean floor. That's what 3 of us did here in Kona and while I am glad that I can now say I have done it (105'), the experience itself was underwhelming. To not interfere with the wildlife, the sub doesn't use any artificial lights nor does anything to attract the fish to your windows. This means almost everything is a monochrome blue (the color red doesn't exist at this depth for instance). It's also nearly impossible to get nice photos out the windows even though they are clear enough - just not the right conditions. Now, I met a guest back on the ship that said he had a phenomenal time on a sub that wasn't sponsored through NCL but I'm not sure what it was. The other guest in my party decided to go on the Gold Coast & Cloud Forest excursion and was also not impressed. The gold supposedly comes from the Hawaii state fish (yellow trigger fish also known as humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa) but apparently they haven't been plentiful enough to turn the coast gold for years. She also said if she was a coffee drinker, she probably would have enjoyed it more (they are famous for their coffee). Recommendations
If you would like to buy coffee at a discount, a tour guide let me in on a little secret. To be called Kona Coffee it has to indicate what percentage is from Kona (i.e. 100%). Well, geography being what it is, the line between Kona and the region to south is arbitrary (created by humans) so buying coffee labeled just across the boarder (I forget the name of the place - I don't drink coffee) is 25% cheaper
If you want to see the pretty coral and reefs, consider a glass bottom boat ride. The bartender I chatted with told me that she used to work on the sub and a much more beautiful experience was the glass bottom boats.
Normally, the closer to port you are the more expensive things are - like souvenirs. That may in fact be the case in Kona but I found the prices at Whalers General Store to be very competitively priced. Many of the same items I saw at stops before here were at least 20% cheaper.
Have a drink or 6 at Paradise Brewing Company. I was fed up with the prices on the ship so I checked this place out (there was another one further up the street with a fairly large beer menu as well but they weren't very friendly so I moved on. I sat in here for hours (was one of the last tender boats back to the ship). It was extremely friendly - the beer was good, the food was good - I would definitely recommend.
Remember how I said you have this ideal image in your head of what Hawaii is and Oahu doesn't meet it. Kauai exceeds it - I fell in love and if I ever go back, I will just fly directly here and stay on this island - it is that good. I am not going to suggest you do anything other than exactly what I did because I couldn't possibly imagine having a better time. Recommendations
Day 1 - Best Of Kauai. I have no idea if a similar excursion can be booked elsewhere because it included 5 stops (Waimea canyon, Spouting Horn Park, Keoki's Paradise for lunch, Opaekaa Falls and Wailua River Fern Grotto). If you want to "build your own", just go to Waimea canyon and dine at Keoki's Paradise as they were the highlights of the day. If you are into photography and have gotten tired of lugging all of your lenses around, today is the day to have it all at the ready.
Now, there's more to the story than just these two excursions. First, since you're overnight you can stay out as late as you want. I asked our tour guide where an affordable place to get good beer close to the ship was. She recommended The Nawiliwili Tavern (or just the Tavern). It happens to be a 2 minute walk from one of the free shuttle stops and they have great pizza, beer and pool. Secret I learned this is also where a lot of the crew from the ship hang out after they get off at 9PM so if you want to have a real conversation and ask real questions - this is the place to do it. Once the bartender realized I was into craft beer and trying all they had, she told me about a brew pub not too far up the road that I really wanted to try but ran out of time.
Napali Coast (still day 6)
The cruise ship leaves port early (circa 2PM) and instead of heading to Honolulu backtracks around Kauai. There is a portion of the island that's only reachable by air (helicopter) or by sea (cruise ship) and I was fortunate enough to do both. Actually, our pilot said that a few of the beaches can be reached by a hiking 11+ miles but it isn't an easy hike. In any event, this is where the opening scenes of Jurassic Park were filmed if I remember correctly - utterly gorgeous. My pilot also let me in on a little secret - that the captain times the cruise ship to sunset when the coast is all lit up in spectacular colors so be out on deck with camera ready.
Day 7 - Honolulu (Pearl Harbor & City Tour)
I made a big mistake here. I booked a late flight so I could go to Pearl Harbor and then get dropped off at the airport. We had already done the Circle Island Tour and none of the other offerings were of interest. This was a mistake for two reasons. Reason 1: Exhaustion After having spent 5ish days in Waikiki and then taking a 7 day cruise, we were wiped out and really didn't have the stamina to really take it all in. Recommendations
Eat a big breakfast as this tour didn't include food
Bring food for the tour and possibly the airport (see airport notes below)
The cheapest place to get hot dogs at the time was at the Missouri ($6 as of March 2019)
If you are using your phone as a camera, practice taking photos against the bus window as the city tour took you to some neat places but they didn't stop to let you off
The tour includes the Missouri and the Arizona - everything else is additional
At the time of this writing, the Arizona was still under repair so you only took a boat close. You will be watching a very emotionally moving video before the boat ride so sit as close to the exit doors (front left) as you can so that when it's over you can pick one of the corners of the boat to get unobstructed photos from - they don't allow you to stand up and they don't play. Oh, and if you are sensitive to loud noises - when the bomb actually drops on the Arizona it is about 10 times louder than the rest of the film so be prepared
Our guide got tickets for the Arizona at 2:15 PM, helped us navigate the shuttle over to the Missouri and told us he would see us at the bus 3:30 PM. If you're not comfortable navigating on your own then this is probably not the tour for you
It's only 5 minutes from the airport so if you want to stay longer because of a late flight it would be fast/cheap to go on your own - just ask to get your luggage off the bus
Reason 2: Airport If you have a late flight home, I'm sorry. All of your checked bags have to be screened by agriculture (certain plants are not allowed to leave the state) which is airline specific and unless that airline is running flights all day (looking at you Alaska), then you will have to wait for them to open before you can even check in. While you wait, there is essentially no place to eat (Starbucks and a bar that serves hot dogs for $12.50 - yes, $12.50). I recommend you keep some food with you for this reason. They do offer a baggage hold service but the prices were ridiculous (4 checked bags for 24 hours was $100). Sorry if it seems like I am whining - it was the end of a long trip and I was returning to reality.
In this post, I have provided a number of links to NCL's excursions, directly to the vendor and also to Viator. Viator is part of Tripadvisor and generally speaking, you can trust the reviews. On most of the bookings, you can cancel for a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. They are competitively priced and you can usually get a discount. For instance, new customers will get offered a 10% discount off their first purchase. Companies like Ebates and TopCashBack will offer an additional 3 to 6% cash back as well. Use a credit card that gives back 2-4% on travel and it can really reduce the price. I haven't had too much trouble figuring out what vendor was being used through Viator so you could just book with them direct too and just use them as a way to find fun things to do and use the reviews to distinguish between what's good and what's not.
My computer had a mini heart attack last night and I wasn't about to do this on a cellphone... So here's the latest happenings with a slight delay! All my information comes from VisitIndiana so the list is not 100% comprehensive. If you know of anything that's missing, please post and share with everyone! If you've ever been to any of these events, or if you go this week, please share your experiences Also be sure to visit the city-specific subreddits This Week Only Northwest Indiana
Ouibache Music Festival - July 27, 730-930pm, at Delphi Opera House. This quintet of locally grown musicians formed in 2000 celebrating American Roots music with a flair for jazz and anything else. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the missions of the Ouibache Music Festival and the Delphi Opera House
Old Lighthouse Museum S.S. Eastland Memorial - July 27 at the Old Lighthouse Museum. At 11am, the 104th Anniversary Memorial of the S.S. Eastland will commence, Station Michigan City Coast Guard will place a wreath in Trail Creek where Indiana Transportations dock was located. Father Lev of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church will say memorial prayers. Speakers will tell the horrific story of the Eastland tragedy. WEFM 95.9 live radio will be at the museum from 9am-noon. The museum will be open free of charge today only from noon-4pm.
Gatsby at the Gardens - July 27, 6-9pm, at Friendship Botanic Gardens. Step into a Great Gatsby Garden Party! Enjoy a speakeasy evening set in the 1920's. Stroll the gardens, sip some giggle water, play bocce or badminton or cut the rug while listening to live jazz. $45; 21+event
Main St. Tour & Taste of White - July 26, 500-1130pm, at Downtown Monticello. Concert-style music and delicious food/beverages. You won't want to miss this night of entertainment!
New Carlisle Hometown Days - July 26-28 at 300 E Michigan St. New Carlisle Hometown Days is a 3 day family fun-filled weekend. Friday night we offer fireworks, parade on Sat, car show, famous wiffleball contest, kiddie tractor pull, bouncy houses, games, various vendors, food and entertainment.
Downtown Tractor Show - July 27, 8am-3pm, at 124 N. Michigan St. The streets of Downtown Plymouth will be filled with Tractors, Garden Tractors, Pedal Tractors and Hit-n-Miss Engines! There will also be food trucks with yummy treats to purchase. Autumn Leed and the River City Band will be playing from 12:00 pm til 2:00 pm. This is a FREE, family-friendly event!
Jasper County Fair - July 20-27 at the Jasper County Fairgrounds on State Road 114. The annual fair includes rides, games, demolition derby, food vendors, craft vendors and more!
U.S. Military All-Star Baseball Game - July 22, 7-10pm, at Oil City Stadium. The U.S. Military All-Stars will return to Northwest Indiana for a stop on this year’s Red, White & Blue Tour as they continue the mission of promoting the awareness of all Americans in support of the honorable sacrifices our armed forces make. The team is comprised of active duty servicemen from all branches of service around the world.
25th Annual Pierogi Fest - July 26-28 throughout Whiting. Taking place in Whiting, Indiana, Pierogi Fest® celebrates Eastern European food and culture with a wacky familial twist. Pierogi Fest® welcomes all to celebrate Eastern European heritage while poking a little fun at the same time.
Festival of Magic - July 26-28 at the Aftermath Cidery and Winery. Join Aftermath Cidery and Winery for a family-friendly trip to everyone's favorite boarding school! Visit all locations on your map to complete the scavenger hunt and win a prize: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, King's Cross, the Leaky Barrel, and more! Each location will offer both Adult Potions and drinks for Little Wizards and Witches
Park-inn Movies: The Sandlot - July 25, 930-1130pm, at Potawatomi Inn. Bring your blanket or lawn chair to the lawn overlooking Lake James. Admission is free to Inn Guests, Campground Guests and with paid admission to Pokagon State Park. (Weather Permitting).
Auburn Downtown Cruise-In - July 25, 530-800pm, at Courthouse Square. Join classic car enthusiasts around Courthouse Square downtown. See restored cars and other special vehicles of interest at this free event. Bring your family and stroll the streets, shop, have dinner in one of our local restaurants. There will be door prizes and a Crew's Choice Award for the most popular car. All show vehicles should arrive no earlier than 5:30 pm. Please enter at the corner of 7th & Cedar in order to check in and receive registration forms. All Cruise In's are held in Downtown Auburn around the square (Cedar, 9th, and Main.)
Berne Swiss Days - July 25-27 throughout Berne. The Swiss Day Celebration is a time for Berne to share it’s heritage with authentic Swiss costume, great food, craft vendors and merchandise. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the friendly competitions for all ages. From the 5K race to Big Wheel Competition for the younger ones to the Steintoss, there is something for everyone. On stage and around the festival you can hear Swiss music. Watch as couples dance the polka to live music on stage.
Allen County Fair - July 23-28 at the Allen County Fairgrounds. We welcome families to the 30th Annual Allen County Fair July 23rd to July 28th at the Allen County Fairgrounds, located off Carroll Road in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The 2019 Allen County Fair is home to Allen County 4-H and features many animal shows, projects and events throughout the week. In addition to 4-H festivities, the fair offers a full food court, carnival rides, and lengthily list of family-fun events. Highlighted events include: free ice cream social, hot air balloon fight/glow, 4X4 truck pull, demo derbies, kids day, live music, peddle truck races and much more.
Fort Wayne Pride Fest - July 26-27 at Headwaters Park. The two day event features live entertainment, vendor market, a beer tent, food plaza, workshops, tournaments, KidSpace and fun with the community! There are a variety of opportunities available for businesses and individuals who are looking to support Pride in the Fort including sponsorship, vendors, and volunteering. Pride is committed to bringing events throughout the year to build a stronger LGBTQ community outside of the festival. Check out our events page for more info.
Colonial America on the Frontier - July 27-28, 10am-6pm, at The Old Fort. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the American Revolution at Fort Wayne’s Historic Old Fort. The Continental Army and British forces will be on hand to provide live demonstrations throughout the day on period specific artillery and military maneuvers. Re-enactors will also bring to life the daily activities of this time period through demonstrations on period cooking, gardening, blacksmithing, and much more! The Fort will be open to the public: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, and 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 28. Tours of the Fort will be offered throughout the weekend.
Elkhart County 4-H Fair - July 19-27 at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds. he fair hosts nationally known musical artists during their 5-night concert series. A sanctioned rodeo, PPL tractor pull, and demolition derby are also highlighted at the free grandstand during fair week. Bring your appetite and explore famous food row. With more than 70 food stands, the fair takes pride in offering mouth-watering, once-a-year, fair favorites. Over 3,000 4-H livestock and more than 4,000 4-H still exhibits are shown during the 9-day event. Daily entertainment can be been found on every corner of the grounds, with multiple shows and exhibits included with your gate admission. Thrill seekers of all ages will want to visit the mid-way, complete with roller coasters, games and kiddie rides for the young fairgoers.
Amishland and Lakes Bicycle Tour - July 27-28, 6am-1pm, at Lakeland High School. Amishland and Lakes, based at Lakeland High School in LaGrange, Indiana, visits a world where lifestyles have remained almost unchanged for over a hundred years. One of the friendliest rides around, you’ll enjoy seeing and meeting families, women’s groups, regional cycling clubs, and tandem pairs who tell us they love our routes because they are so “tandem friendly.” There are wide open spaces, clean country air, friendly people and lots of great food. There is plenty to explore, experience and eat. Amishland and Lakes is famous for great SAG food (watermelons, peaches, blueberries, bananas, fresh baked cookies and more), and there are also Amish bakeries, restaurants and homemade ice cream parlors along the route. The routes range from 22 to 100 miles, offering smooth, quiet roads, where buggies are numerous and cars are few (both days begin and end at the High School). We also offer directions for a do-it-yourself Friday option to ride the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. Camping is available at the 4-H Fairgrounds across from our start location. For more details go to http://amishlandandlakes.com
11th Annual Dixie Day Festival and Arts & Craft Fair - July 27, 8am-5pm, at 102 S. Morton St. The Dixie Day festival honors the landmark sternwheel paddle boat. It also encourages everyone to visit North Webster. The Dixie Boat has been cruising Webster Lake every summer since 1929 and attracted more than 13,000 riders last season. Dixie Day Festival is a dream come true with a list of activities and events that continue to grow. Extra Dixie cruises will be added for Saturday afternoon of the festival as well as the regular evening cruises. What to expect: North Webster Fire Department Pancake/sausage breakfast - 7am until out, Arts and Craft fair- 10a- 4p, 5K Run like a Pirate/Walk like a Captain, Car, truck, and bike show 10a-3pm, Boat show- 8am-4pm, Delicious food trucks, Tractor Show 10a-3p, and Ride the Dixie Sternwheel on beautiful Webster Lake.
Lauren Talley - July 23, 7-9pm, at the Blue Gate Theatre. Showtime: 7:00pm | Doors Open: 6:30pm Prices: Tickets Only - $19.95 | Dinner and Theater - $37.95
The Taylors - July 25, 7-9pm, at the Blue Gate Theatre. Showtime: 7:00pm | Doors Open: 6:30pm Prices: Tickets Only - $19.95 | Dinner and Theater - $37.95
Legacy Five - July 26-27, 7-9pm, at the Blue Gate Theatre. Showtime: 7:00pm | Doors Open: 6:30pm Prices: Tickets Only - $39.95 | Dinner and Theater - $57.95
SetonFest - July 25-27, 6-10pm, at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church. SetonFest is a three-day festival that includes carnival rides, a different band each night, food, bingo, a casino, beer garden and more. Free parking and free admission.
2019 Topgolf Tour - July 22, 6-11pm, at Topgolf Fishers. Team up, play and earn your way to Las Vegas and $50,000. There are 19 Regional Tournaments at Topgolf locations across the US, UK, and Australia, between June 18 and August 14. Playing a variety of Topgolf signature games that test strategy and accuracy, two-person teams compete against one another for a spot at the Topgolf Tour Championships in Las Vegas, with full VIP treatment. Only one team from each Regional Tournament makes it through to compete for the glory and a life changing prize. WHAT'S INCLUDED Entry into Topgolf Tour Regional Tournament, Minimum 2.5 hours of game play, Hot buffet, Official Topgolf Tour Insulated Water Bottle, $5 donation to Bunkers in Baghdad from every US player registration.
25th Annual Frankfort Hot Dog Festival - July 26-27 at Prairie Creek Park. Indiana's largest two-day hot dog festival features vendors, family fun, hot dog eating contests, dachshund races and HOT DOGS!
Gas City Concerts in the Park Presents Keith Anderson - July 23, 7pm, at Gas City Park. This is a FREE concert brought to you by the Gas City Concerts in the Park committee.
Gas City Concerts in the Park Presents The Park Avenue Band - July 26, 7pm, at Gas City Park. This is a FREE concert brought to you by the Gas City Concerts in the Park committee
Indy Shorts International Film Festival - July 25-28, 10am-10pm, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. The Indy Shorts International Film Festival, presented by Heartland Film and the organizers of the Heartland International Film Festival (HIFF), is an Academy Award®-qualifying fest dedicated to the art of short film! Last summer, Indy Shorts expanded as its own separate event from HIFF, becoming the largest short film festival in the Midwest - showcasing storytelling from around the world. All winners (Grand Prize and Audience Choice Awards) will play encore screenings at HIFF in October 2019. General ticket info at https://heartlandfilm.org/indyshorts/.
Athenaeum Soireé: An Affair on the Ave - July 25, 630-900pm, at Athenaeum Foundation, 401 East Michigan St. The Athenaeum Soireé: An Affair on the Ave is an annual fundraiser featuring pairings of culinary creations and delicious handcrafted beverages from local establishments as well as live entertainment, silent auctions and more at this business casual, 21+ indoor event.
7th Annual Iron Eagle Paddle & Run - July 27, 8am-6pm, at Eagle Creek Park. Athletes of all ages can explore Eagle Creek Park, one of the nation’s largest city parks, via land and water alternating between trail runs and a canoe/kayak leg. Starting at the beach, the race consists of a 2.5-mile trail run, 1.5-mile paddle and 2.5-mile trail run back to the beach. Participants can enter as an individual or 2-person team. They have the option to bring personal kayaks or canoes with life jackets and paddles, or rent a boat in advance from Eagle Creek Outfitters. Spectators are more than welcome to come show support. Awards will be presented to the top solo female, the top solo male, the top team and the top relay team. An after party will be held post-race at the Earth Discovery Center. 100% of proceeds benefit the Eagle Creek Park Foundation. To Register: Visit EagleCreekPark.org
RhumFest 2019 - July 27, 2-10pm, at Kokomo Arts Pavilion in Foster Park. Enjoy live music by local students and instructors of Rhum Academy of Music in Kokomo. Free admission. Bring everyone for a family-friendly day of great music, art, food, and fun in Foster Park. With back-to-back performances in a variety of styles and genres all day you are sure to hear some music you love!
Tippecanoe County 4-H Fair - July 20-27 at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds. All phases of agriculture, 4-H exhibits, wide variety of youth activities, carnival rides, games and mouth watering fair food.
Tuesday on the Trail Nature Walk - July 23, 6-7pm, at the Haan Museum of Indiana Art. Get a closer look at nature as a guide leads you on an educational walk along our Nature Trail. The trail is about a mile long loop in the Museum’s three acre woods making it feel very much like a wilderness experience in the middle of town. Meet at the Nature Trail Entrance located at the south side of the Carriage house just off the parking lot. Fee: FREE
Bicentennial Park Summer Concert: Random Reaction - July 27, 7-9pm, at Bicentennial Park. Located at the corner of Indiana and Main Streets, the park is convenient to local restaurants to enjoy before the show. Popular local group Random Reaction will take the stage on July 27. Live music begins at 7 pm; bring your lawn chairs or blankets. Free.
47th Annual Vintage Motorbike Show - July 24-28 at the Jay County Fairgrounds. The LARGEST vintage motor bike show in the USA. Join us to reminisce the Simplex, Mustang, Whizzer, Cushman motorbikes and more! $5 admission fee per person/per day charged at the Fairground's front gate. Gates open at 6 AM daily.
Jackson County Fair - July 22-28 at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. The Jackson County Fair is the biggest and best! Still a free fair, find building after building of exhibits, visit barns, enjoy the midway and delicious food. Great grandstand events and racing!
Bluegrass on the Square - July 27, 4-8pm, at Historic Downtown Corydon. Since its inception in 2003, Bluegrass on the Square has featured some of the most well-known Bluegrass musicians in the region. Now in its 16th year. All concerts are free and open to the public. July 27 features Hog Operation and Ida Clare
Master Gardeners and 4-H Llamas & Alpacas Club - July 27, 800am-1230pm, at 400 Block Laffollette Station. Join us for Two Special Events;; Master Gardeners will be a the Market answering your Gardening questions and Floyd County 4H Club will be bringing the Alpacas & Llamas.
Purple Veins: a tribute to Prince - July 27, 630-900pm, at Lincoln Amphitheatre. Purple Veins aim to re-create the magical power and energy of a classic Prince show circa 1985: an all-out dance party with relentless funk, all the hits, tasty lesser-known classics, theatrical elements, and dance choreography woven into it. Their aim is to be all-inclusive, with an age range of 18 to 40 and multiple ethnicities within the band..to both reach his music to millennials who didn’t live through it and transport those that did back in time to their younger days. With a charismatic and soulful frontman, a huge ensemble (16 plus!) of the funkiest cats, sultriest singers, and hottest dancers Wisconsin has to offer, Purple Veins is THE tribute show of all Prince tributes.
Country Roads Shop Hop - July 25-28, 10am-5pm, at Country Roads of Dearborn and Ripley Counties. Six Antique, Vintage and/or Home Decor shops will be combining forces to give you an unforgettable shopping week, with the chance to win big in the process! You can start and end at whichever shop you would like. Get your brochure stamped at each location and you’ll be entered to win our Grand Prize Drawing, $150 in gift certificates! ($25 from each participating shop) * Must be 18 yrs or older to be entered and Limit 1 per family* No purchase is necessary to receive a stamp, but it will be difficult not to purchase anything when you see what these amazing shops have to offer! Are you ready for some Antique, Vintage or Home Decor shopping and hopping? Hop all over the country roads and visit each participating shop! The Greenbriar Shop - Guilford, IN, The White Swan - Moores Hill, IN, The Blue Willow House - Dillsboro, IN, The Rustic Nail - Dillsboro, IN, The Whistle Stop - Milan, IN, The Huntington Carriage House - Milan, IN.
Wild Women's Hike - July 27, 10am-12pm, at McCormick's Creek State Park, 250 McCormick's Creek Park Rd. All are welcome to join us for the monthly DNK hike at McCormick's Creek State Park! The hike is free, but there is an entrance fee to get into the park. We'll be meeting at the Wolf Cave Parking area for about a 2-mile hike. Click here for the park map: https://www.in.gov/dnparklake/files/mccormicks_creek_trail.pdf Can't wait to hit the trail with you!
ONGOING EVENTS Northwest Indiana
Chesterton's European Market - Saturdays May through October at Third St and Broadway, Downtown Chesterton. An outdoor family/artisanal market held in historic downtown Chesterton from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Gary Southshore Railcats at U.S. Steel Yard - Various days at US Steel Yard. A day at U.S. Steel yard is non-stop fun, and that's even without the baseball! The RailCats promise a wide array of laugh-out-loud between inning entertainment, great giveaways , jaw-dropping fireworks and a family-first, kid-friendly atmosphere!
Miller Woods Hike Sundays - Every Sunday at Miller Woods. The hike starts at the National Lakeshore's Paul H. Douglas Center and travels through varied habitats including rare and beautiful black oak savanna and offers incredible views of Lake Michigan and Chicago. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water and insect repellent. This hike is offered every Sunday from 1:30 to 3:30pm.
61: An Exhibit Celebrating the 61st National Park - July 2 - Sep 21 at the Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Dr. The 6,500-square-foot exhibit hall will be transformed to represent the 15,000 acres of diverse landscapes and highlight activities available to those that visit the park system. The exhibit will feature 12 trail stops. There will be interactive exhibits for children along the trail, selfie stations and a large “sandbox” for building sandcastles. Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about the 1,100 native plant species, rare and migrating birds, as well as recreational opportunities like camping, hiking, kayaking and cross-country skiing. Interactive activities will also give children a chance to become a Junior Ranger!
Summer Market on the Lake - Thursdays through the end of August at Festival Park, 111 E Old Ridge Road. Come enjoy outdoor shopping featuring fresh produce, baked goods, ethnic and gourmet foods, beer garden, local live entertainment, jewelry, handmade crafts and so much more.
LaPorte Farmer's Market - Saturdays July through the end of October at Monroe St and Lincoln Way. The LaPorte Farmer's Market strives to build and strengthen the local food movement in LaPorte by showcasing our region's bounty and economic opportunities locally.
Summer Sundown Music Series - Sundays May through August. Bring the lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy Sunday evenings listening to a different musical artist each week. Each Sunday evening you will find yourself at a different park with new musical artist. Check online to see where and who will be appearing!
Michigan City Municipal Band Concerts - Thursdays in June, July, and August, at the Washington Park Guy Foreman Amphitheater. Experience free live musical performances under the stars near the shores of Lake Michigan in Washington Park. Seating available or bring your own chair. June-August, Thursdays 7:30pm.
Light Keeper Harriet Colfax Month - July 1-31, 1-4pm, at Old Lighthouse Museum, 100 Heisman Harbor Rd. Harriet Colfax came into the 1858 Light House in 1861 an served faithfully until her retirement in 1904. Learn more about his Great Lakes legend all month long. The Michigan City Historical Society commissioned a color portrait of Harriet by local artist Wendy Wilcox Kerman. Come and view the portrait and enjoy the historic museum and don't forget to browse the gift shop.
Michigan City's Farmers Markets - Saturdays July - October at 801 S Washington St. and 1500 Franklin St. Saturdays through October 26th, 2019. Michigan City's Farmers Market aims to provide our community with the freshest produce, providing a space filled with locally grown food and artisan goods
Market on the Square - Fridays June through August, 3-9pm, at Founders Square. There will be over 20 vendors selling unique crafts, fresh produce, honey, flowers, breads and jams. Plus local food vendors selling food. Bands from the region will begin at 6. Then to top off the evening we will have a family movie at dusk.
Keepers of the Fire: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi - April 2019 to January 2020 at The History Museum. The rich history, culture, and art of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi is shared in this vibrant exhibit about the thriving community. Through interviews and oral histories, sculpture and beadwork, art and artifacts, the exhibit immerses visitors in the traditions and teachings of the Pokagon Band.
South Bend Cubs at Four Winds Field - Various days at Four Winds Field. The South Bend Cubs are the Class A minor league affiliate of the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Over the past 30 seasons, the team has won five Midwest League titles and has captured 12 division titles. In 2015 the team was named Ballpark Digest's Team of the Year and received the John H. Johnson President's Award, the highest award in minor league baseball.
The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Show - May 4th 2019 to May 2nd 2020, 6-9pm, at the DoubleTree by Hilton. America’s largest interactive murder mystery dinner show! The Dinner Detective provides a hilarious evening of murder mystery, a 4-course meal, and a prize package for the top sleuth. Just beware, the killer might be sitting right next to you!
Fort Wayne TinCaps at Parkview Field - Various days at Parkview Field. The TinCaps are entering their 10th season at Parkview Field, which has been rated as Minor League Baseball's No. 1 Ballpark Experience four consecutive years.
Faces of Middlebury - May 17th to October 4th throughout Middlebury. Grab your cameras and the map to locate each “face of Middlebury” and insert your face for the perfect picture. Free maps are available at local businesses and organizations. Post your pics on Middlebury Then & Now’s Facebook page or on Instagram using #facesofmiddlebury. Can you find all of them, up to 30 "faces"?
Gangsters, Saloons and Buggies on Roofs Guided Tour - May 29th to September 25th at the Downtown Middlebury library. You wouldn't know Middlebury had a rough-and-tumble past, but behind today's modern facades lie tales of small-town mischief, hoods on the lam and possible mysterious passageways. Get the inside story and secrets from a local with this tour of downtown. Tours are offered at 10am every Wednesday and at 630pm the first Tuesday of each month. Walking tour is approximately 1 hour. Allow time after the tour to visit the unique shops and restaurants in the area. $5 Group tours are available by advanced reservation (call 574.825.5601)
Giant Toadstools and the World's Fair Guided Walking Tour - May 30th to September 26th at the Krider World's Fair Garden. Enjoy a guided tour through living history! The Krider family of Middlebury once captured the imagination of the world. This tour of the garden that bears their name opens a window to the family's nursery at the height of its creative powers. The beauty will take your breath away, just as it did at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. Tours are offered at 10am every Thursday and at 630pm the first Tuesday of each month. Walking tour is approximately 1 hour. Allow time after the tour to visit the museum, unique shops and restaurants in the area. $5 Group tours are available by advanced reservation (call 574.825.5601)
A Simple Sanctuary, the new musical - March 28th to October 31st at the Blue Gate Theatre. She prayed the day would never come, but when her past comes calling, Melissa James has no choice but to flee. Pursued and living on the run, she finds desperate sanctuary and surprising friendship in Amish country. Part suspense, part romance, A Simple Sanctuary is a compelling story of love tested, the cost of freedom, and the solace found in true community.
Shipshewana Flea Market - Tuesdays and Wednesdays from May through September, 8am-4pm, at the Shipshewana Auction. Nearly 700 open-air booths on 40 acres await you at the Midwest’s Largest Flea Market. Food courts, restrooms, scooter rentals and rest areas are on site. Open rain or shine. Also open for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and new weekend markets on August 16-17 (MotheDaughter Days). Antique Auctions are every Wednesday inside the Antique & Miscellaneous building.
Shipshewana Breakfast Club - Fridays in July and August, 830-1100am, at the Blue Gate Theatre. Breakfast: 8:30am | Program: 10:00am Price: $26.00 - Includes Breakfast and Show These concerts will be held at the Blue Gate Theatre July 12 - Lynda Randle July 19 - Allison Speer July 26 - The Taylors Aug 2 - King's Brass Aug 9 - Doug Anderson Aug 16 - Old Time Preacher's Quartet Aug 23 - Soul'd Out Quartet Aug 30 - TBA
Kroger Symphony on the Prairie - Saturdays and Sundays at Conner Prairie. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's summer series provides music from classical, pop, and rock genres from mid-June through Labor Day weekend. See performance schedule online indianapolissymphony.org
Celebrate the 10th Year of Tenderloin Tuesdays - Tuesdays in July throughout Hamilton County. Celebrating the 10th year, dine along the Tenderloin Trail™. Don’t miss Tenderloin Tuesdays™ in July along the tastiest trail. Each Tuesday restaurants offer special deals on the Hoosier delicacy. For a complete list of participating restaurants in Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield and Northern Hamilton County, visit TenderloinTrail.com.
Hot Wheels: Race to Win - May 18th to July 28th at The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines and hold on tight as we open our Hot Wheels: Race to Win exhibit celebrating speed, safety, design, and power. Get revved up for the special performances, activities, and the occasional pit stop.
Treasures of Ancient Greece exhibit - Jun 15 to Jan 5 at The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis. This once-in-a-lifetime immersive exhibition brings to Indianapolis more than 150 ancient objects and artifacts, many of which have never been seen outside of Greece. The ancient Greeks revered the human body, and many of the depictions are nude. Featured are bronze and marble statues, gold jewelry and funerary objects, exquisite pottery, artifacts of the world’s first democracy, and an extraordinary replica of the Antikythera Mechanism, known as the world’s first computer.
Mind Tripping Show - March 1st to December 28th, 8:30-10PM at the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites. Mind Tripping: a Comedy with a Psychological Twist is an interactive show by Christian & Katalina, the #1 Husband and Wife Comedy Mind Reading Act in the Nation. Be a part of a mind-bending, reality-twisting interactive theatrical show. Think Candid Camera meets the Twilight Zone. Be prepared to have your perceptions challenged and your expectations turned upside down
Naturally Inspired Art Exhibition - May 24th to August 21st at The Indianapolis Zoo. After the paintings have dried and been professionally framed by The Great Frame Up Downtown, they are displayed for the summer in the Schaefer Rotunda at White River Gardens. Plus, you also get to enjoy the works of some of our more artistically inclined animals. Who knows — you may see a penguin Picasso, a walrus Warhol, an elephant Escher and many others! The Naturally Inspired Art Show presented by The Great Frame Up Downtown is included with Zoo admission.
Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol Adventure Play - February 23 to July 28th at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. The hero pups of Adventure Bay are coming to The Children’s Museum, and they need your help. It’s time to run some rescue missions, as we work together to overcome challenges and help everyone in Adventure Bay. Enter the Lookout. Save the Day in Adventure Bay. Be a Helping Hero on Jake’s Mountain.
The National Bank of Indianapolis Summer Nights Film Series - Various days June-August, at The Amphitheater. You can watch movies under the stars every weekend at Newfields. Doors open at 7 pm, when you can enjoy a picnic dinner, music, and activities, followed by that night’s movie, which will begin when twilight turns to night (usually 9:30 pm). Over the summer, over 20 movies will be shown—everything from black-and-white classics to modern blockbusters. All you need is a picnic (with non-alcoholic beverages only), chairs (for the back row of each tier), and blankets (in case the chair row is full). You will also want sunscreen and bugspray. No alcohol, pets, candles taller than 12 inches, or knives permitted. And if you want to travel light with just a chair and blanket, concessions will be available to purchase. Check out discovernewfields.org/summer-nights-2019 to see available films and to purchase tickets once they are available.
Zoolapalooza Concert Series - Fridays in June and July, 530-830pm, at the Indianapolis Zoo. Under the Bicentennial Pavilion, this incredibly fun night out is a great way to kick off summer weekends on Friday evenings with terrific live music. Concerts are free for members and included with Zoo admission, so you can play all day and dance all night! Seating under the Bicentennial Pavilion includes open tables on a first-come, first-serve basis
The Generous Pour at The Capital Grille, July 8 - Sep 1, 5-9pm, at 40 W. Washington Street. The Capital Grille’s annual The Generous Pour wine event has returned for its eleventh year. This year’s theme is Legends of the Land, where guests can sip on any combination of seven select wines including the Maggy Hawk 2015 Pinot Noir, the 2015 Cenyth Red Blend, and the Arrowood 2013 Red Blend. Each is from California’s Jackson Family that tell a unique story of origin and sustainability. From July 8th through September 1, 2019, guests are offered a customized wine tasting paired with the restaurant’s classic menu items, including hand-carved steaks and fresh seafood and appetizers with a flavorful twist for $28 per person with dinner.
First Friday Kokomo - First Friday of every month, 530-9pm, at Downtown Kokomo. Activities include art, music, food, local vendors, shops, entertainment, kid's activities & much more! Visit their Facebook page for monthly themes and schedule of all activities!
Kokomo Jackrabbits at Kokomo Municipal Stadium - Various days at the Kokomo Municipal Stadium. Enjoy a day at the ballpark! The Kokomo Jackrabbits baseball team are members of the summer collegiate Prospect League. Games are held late May through early August and feature fun themes and giveaways. Lawn and stadium seating available, starting at $8.
Karl Martz and the Legacy of IU Ceramics - May 4th to July 27th, 1-4pm, at the Haan Museum of Indiana Art. Martz’s influence spread throughout Indiana and beyond through the ceramics program that he established at IU in 1945, and through his students. Many of Martz’s students went on to teach at universities, and others established successful careers as independent ceramic artists. The exhibition features works by Karl Martz, faculty that taught (or still teach) in the IU Ceramics Department, and students who went on to establish successful careers in ceramics.
Summer Story Hour - Mondays, 10-11am, at the Physical Building of the Joseph Moore Museum. Join us each Monday in June and July at 10am for a special hour of stories! Each week will feature a different book about nature or science with a corresponding craft or activity. All ages are welcome and stories are chosen particularly for children in preschool - first grade.
Indianapolis Colts 2019 Training Camp - July 25 - Aug 15 at the Grand Park Sports Campus. Join us at the Indianapolis Colts 2019 Training Camp! Every day you can enjoy watching practice, giveaways, food & drink specials, interactive games, and more. Download your free tickets at www.colts.com/camp.
Wildlife Cruises on Patoka Lake - Wednesdays May through October at the Patoka Lake Marina. Not just a boat ride: cruise the second largest lake in Indiana upon a climate controlled tour boat to search for osprey, eagles, blue herons, loons and other wildlife. Two hour cruises embark EVERY WEDNESDAY at 10am beginning in May and continuing through October. Voyagers are encouraged to capture on camera baby osprey in their nests, an eagle in flight, and busy beavers as the boat passes by.
Wine Cruises on Patoka Lake - Every other Friday starting June 7th, 730-930pm, at the Patoka Lake Marina. Sip wine paired with hors d'oeuvres/desserts while enjoying the sunset on Patoka Lake on our 60 person tour boat! Enjoy 5-7 tastings of wine from a featured Indiana winery, and choose 2 glasses of your favorite to enjoy after the tasting portion. Bottles of wine available for purchase as well as additional glasses. Call (812) 685-2203 to reserve your spot today! Only $50/person or $98/couple. Visit our website to view the winery lineup.
Shrek the Musical - July 3rd - Aug 18th, 6-10pm, at the Derby Dinner Playhouse. Somebody once told me everyone’s favorite ogre is back in the hilarious and twisted adventure based on the Oscar-winning smash hit film. Follow this unlikely green hero on a life-changing journey full of romance and dozens of zany misfit characters. The perfect show for any age! Ticket price includes dinner, show, tax & parking. AAA discount available.
Evansville Otters at Bosse Field - Various days at Bosse Field. Locally owned and a member of the Frontier League, the Otters are the darlings of summer. Great ball play combined with fun promotions throughout the game guarantee an evening of fun family entertainment. To top it off, the games are played at Bosse Field, a stadium built in 1915 and the site of the filming of "A League of Their Own" in 1992. Come watch our Boys of Summer from May through August!
Floyds Knobs Farmers Market - Saturdays May through October at 400 Block Laffollette Station. Floyds Knobs Farmers Market Opening May 11 - October 26 Every Saturday from 8:30 am to 1 pm. Were an Indiana Grown Market and host a variety of Great Events throughout Season.
The Art of the Monon - April 1st to August 31st, 10am-4pm at the French Lick West Baden Museum. The Monon was Indiana’s railroad and touched every town in Orange County. See the Monon paintings of renowned railroad artist Howard Fogg and other rare Monon items.
Dubois County Bombers at League Stadium - Various days at the League Stadium. League Stadium was home to the Rockford Peaches in the hit movie A League of Their Own. The vintage signage, scoreboard, and atmosphere remain. The Bombers play in vintage-inspired uniforms - pants are knickered, stirrups are worn. The crack of a wood bat against a baseball resounds through the stadium. You may hear Who’s on First over the audio. We even have our own Peaches at the games keeping everything in the stadium rolling, while our coaches and players keep it exciting on the field.
Rock on Rising Sun - April 10th to September 30th on Main Street. Search and re-hide painted rocks hidden within the City of Rising Sun city limits. Spearheaded by a local resident, thousands of rocks are painted throughout the season for kids of all ages to find and re-hide. Participants are encouraged to paint their own creations and hide within the city limits. Photos of found rocks are asked to be uploaded to the Rock on Rising Sun
I had booked the cheapest flight on the cheapest airline I could find and I was already paying the consequences. Delays and transfers ate into whatever meager budget I had left, but the final nail in the coffin was the mass overbooking of my last connecting flight. Since my ticket was the lowest of low priority seating from a deep discount booking app, I was bumped. I would have to wait hours, if not another full day, to get a flight. You were getting married back east in Massachusetts, I was stuck at O’Hare International Airport, and since I had flown in from Las Vegas, I was low on funds and luck. I’d meant for it to be a surprise. I was invited, but nobody expected me to come except you. Even when I lied and told you I couldn’t make it, you saw right through me. You were the one that always saw something good in me. You were the only family back home that still kept in touch. Professional gambler really wasn’t the type of thing a parent would want to see their son go into, even when it paid the bills. Or at least, it did when it used to. I thought I could use my talents to give you a nice little wedding present, and show my kid sis my worth as a big brother. It made me forget my own system. If you want money, you’ll never win it. I was playing with my heart instead of my head and almost lost it all. I had enough sense to leave while I still had my phone, a cheap suit, and a pocket full of maxed out credit cards, but that was it. There was nothing left for a train ticket, let alone a rental car. Late afternoon in that airport was still a zoo, and the people working at the airline were less than sympathetic. They quickly kicked me out of the departure lounge and into the wild. I pulled out my phone and wandered around until I could find a signal. I sat back on a plastic bench, picked up a quarter on the ground, and rolled it through my fingers. I needed to think with my head. I was close to a casino, but I didn’t have the focus, buy-in, or clout for any real local action. I wasn’t above begging, but the people around me didn’t strike me as the charitable sort. I’d been in cold spots before, and bounced back from worse. I just needed to get the ball rolling again. I should’ve learned my lesson with technology, but instead I flipped through the gig app on my phone to see if I could find any local day jobs to help me on my way. Nothing struck me as particularly useful for my current situation. Dog walking, delivering food, holding signs, artistic modeling, and other menial work wouldn’t get me the money I needed to get out of town in time. I was starting to lose hope when I saw a posting for a delivery. They were looking for a discreet individual to drive a delivery truck from Chicago to some town a few hundred miles north of New York City. Payment was contingent on reaching the destination before sundown the next day. Proof of valid driver’s license required. No highways. No tolls. No questions. I checked the directions on Google Maps. It would be about twenty hours and in spitting distance of the wedding. There were even a couple casinos I could hit up if I had the time. I knew I might have the money by then. It was sketchy. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t have been the sketchiest thing I’d ever done, so I figured why not try my luck. I put in what I thought was an absurdly high bid, and kept scrolling. More food delivery and thinly veiled escort offers populated my feed. I kept swiping until my phone chimed. My bid was accepted and less than a minute later, the call came in. “Hello,” I said. “Is this Jason?” a light Eastern European voice asked. “Yeah, that’s me.” I tried to sound more confident than I was. “This about the gig?” “Gig?” He sounded confused. “The job. The delivery?” “Yes,” he said. There was a glimmer of recognition. “Yes, the cargo. You can drive a van, yes?” “Yeah.” “That’s good, bro.” He was getting more excited. “Do you need me to come and get you?” I did the mental math. Cab ride or strange pick up? I could only afford one. “O’Hare International. I’ll meet you at the curb. What should I look for?” “Black car. Sweet ride. You’ll know,” he said. “See you soon, Jason.” The phone went silent. I walked to the curb and watched the cars come and go. A black Mercedes pulled up to me. The car shook with the bass, and the passenger window slid down. A fragrant smoke poured out, and once it cleared, I saw a kid in a sweatshirt and track pants. He looked at his phone and he looked at me. “Jason?” a familiar voice asked. “Yeah.” “Mani,” he said. He leaned over awkwardly and opened the door. “Get in. I’ll take you to the place.” He took one last long drag from his cigarillo before he put it out and turned down the music. I closed the door behind me and buckled up. The car peeled out and he took me to who knows where. Mani was a lot more talkative than I expected. He talked about everything except the job. He rambled about where to get what he thought was the best food, women, and drugs. He asked if I was cool to party, and why I was dressed like I was going to a funeral. He was excited and despite the accent, very American. It was disarming and dull. I was zoning out before he got more serious. “So, my dad is like, ‘No, Mani, you can’t do it. We can find someone else to do it.’” He alternated between his own voice and a mocking sing-song. “And I was like, ‘No, Dad, I can do it,’ and he was like, ‘No, Mani, you have no head for business.’ And I was like, ‘I’m gonna outsource this shit. Technology, bro!’” He hit the steering wheel. “You ever do this type of shit before, bro?” “Drive a van? Sure, why not.” “Seriously, bro,” he said. “Don’t fuck me on this. Can you do this?” “Yeah,” I said. “I can do the job.” “Shit, bro. I wouldn’t. I mean, I totally could, but twenty fucking hours? Respect.” “What am I hauling—” He cut me off with a imitated buzzer noise. “No questions,” he chuckled to himself. “You are hauling whatever the fuck we need you to haul.” After twenty or so minutes of one-sided conversation, we pulled into a small industrial park, drove behind a chain link fence, and passed an empty security booth. White vans and light trucks lined the back of a long white building. A group of men were chatting and smoking cigars by one of the few open bay doors. One man motioned to the car and an older man wearing a brown windbreaker and jeans in the center of the group turned to look. The car rolled to a stop and Mani turned off the engine. I unbuckled my seatbelt and reached for the door. “Stay in the car, bro,” Mani said. “I got this.” I leaned back as Mani got out and walked up confidently to the older man. I could only hear murmurs through the glass, but thankfully Mani talked a lot with his arms and hands. The older man nodded and thought about whatever he heard for a moment. Mani’s energy went down and it looked like he was begging. The man tossed his cigar onto the ground, and backhanded Mani hard. He fell to the ground and his leg slipped when he tried to get back up. The older man waved two fingers towards me and two men from the group followed him to my side of the car. He lifted up his windbreaker and pulled a gun from his belt. My eyes went wide and my body froze. The door opened. The older man was strong. He grabbed me by the collar with his free hand and ripped me out of my seat. I fell onto my back and he kicked me in the stomach. “Pick him up,” he shouted. His voice was deep and his accent was thick. The two men that followed him each picked an arm and hoisted me up to eye level with their boss. “Who the fuck are you?” the man said as he waved the gun around me. “Jason,” I said. I looked him in the eyes with cold focus, but in my mind behind that steel gaze, I was quivering and on the verge of pissing my pants. I was desperately trying not to show my hand. I had to bluff. I needed to bluff. He pressed the gun into my forehead. “And who the fuck is Jason?” I gritted my teeth. I felt a squirt go, and thanked God for dark pants. “Just a guy looking for some extra cash,” I said calmly. The man removed the gun from my forehead and looked at me with curiosity. He hooked me in the ribs and I coughed. The pain radiated outward and the shock momentarily shook me out of my fear. “Do you want to die, Jason?” He hit the same spot again and it knocked the wind out of me. My side burned. “No,” I sputtered before catching my breath. “Not if I can help it.” He came closer and looked me in the eyes. I tried not to blink. My life depended on it. He turned and lowered the gun. I quickly blinked to wet my dried corneas, and resumed my poker face. “Maybe my pussy of a son was on to something. We do need a delivery, and I cannot use my own men for this.” He laid the gun to the side of his head and he tapped his fingers. I stayed silent. The men holding me said nothing, and Mani and the remaining workers looked on in interest. “Yes, this will work,” he finally said, still waving the gun. “Do you know who I am?” “No,” I said. “Good,” he said. He holstered his gun back behind his belt, waved two fingers to the ground, and the men dropped me. “What did my pussy of a son tell you?” “Nothing other than the job and the rough location.” He started walking and I scrambled to my feet to follow. He pulled another cigar from his coat with one hand, bit the top off with two teeth, spat, and lit the end of it with a lighter in his other hand. “Tell me,” he said again. “I need to drive a van somewhere in New York. No highways. No tolls. No questions.” He pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to me. The note had a more specific hand-written address. Smoke rolled out of his mouth. “This is all you will know. Now, get into the fucking van, Jason.” I walked faster towards the building and some of the underlings gave me a helpful nod to the vehicle I was supposed to drive. It was bigger than what I thought was a van, like something you would rent to move out of a house. It stunk of diesel, but I didn’t dare ask if something was lost in translation. The men stood back and I waited by the driver’s side door. He walked slowly back, savoring his cigar. He made a ‘come here’ motion with his hand, and someone handed him a set of keys. “If you fuck me, I will fuck you,” he said matter-of-factly. “You understand this, yes?” I nodded. Mani was standing in the background looking at his shoes. “Good.” He handed me the keys. “Drive safe, Jason. We’ll know if you don’t get there.” I didn’t know what else to say, so I got in, looked ahead, turned on the ignition, and drove out of the industrial park and into the night. Something chimed. “Continue straight to stay on US-30 East,” a soft female voice said. I looked around and the screen on my phone glowed. It was background noise, and I was on autopilot. “Continue straight to stay on US-30 East,” the voice said again. I saw the road signs and I was already crossing into Indiana. I looked down and my knuckles were white as they gripped the steering wheel. I knew this might’ve been careless, but I didn’t expect it to be this reckless. I loosened my grip and tried to calm down. I kept telling myself that this was worth it. This was important to me. You are important to me. I glanced around the cabin. It was clean and empty without a trace of personality. There was no cash, no map, and no trash. I looked back to my phone and the map app said to keep driving. There was a lot of stopping and starting at first, past chain restaurants and the eventual suburbs that followed it, but once I hit farmland, it was a much smoother drive. It was after ten or maybe after eleven. The van’s radio and my phone couldn’t agree. I was normally a night owl, but I was so tired. Between the flight, the threat on my life, and the focus on getting as far from Chicago as fast as I could, I was exhausted. “You should pull over and rest your eyes,” a female voice whispered. It startled me, and I snapped back to attention. The screen lit the cabin. I looked at my phone and I waited for it to repeat. “Turn left onto Indiana-205 North,” the voice said. It must have been my imagination. I looked back at the road and almost missed my turn. I saw a car behind me riding my bumper as I overcorrected the wheel. A car behind them sped past both of us and down the road. I needed to get it together if I was going to make it through the night. I powered on the AC and directed it towards my face. It woke me up and I kept driving. The voice on the app told me which turns to make and how much longer I had. It was well into the wee hours of the morning and the temperature finally dropped enough that I had to turn on the defroster. I wasn’t sure if I was making good time. It was hard to tell. Taking the side roads was much slower and more prone to stoppage even at the hour I was driving. The schedule was getting tight. I didn’t take into account how long the drop off would take or how long it would take to cross over from New York to Western Mass. I thought that even if I missed the service, I could still probably make it to the reception. “Turn right onto Ohio-199 South.” Navigating that van was like driving a boat. I turned the wheel slowly but the voice still repeated, “Turn right onto Ohio-199 South.” “Yeah, I know,” I said in frustration. The cabin was warming up and it felt like a soft blanket. “You’ll never make it. You should just pull over.” I looked at my phone and the screen was black. The voice was the same, but less mechanical and much softer. I looked around the cabin. “You should just stop, Jason.” “Hello?” I said. The outside world looked so much darker. I leaned to look for a speaker other than the radio. “Pull over, Jason.” The voice was calm and seductive. “It’s what’s best.” My hands were off center and I was rapidly drifting to the shoulder. The gravel kicked up and ricocheted like buckshot in the tire well. I jerked the steering wheel and moved the van back on the road. The car behind me braked hard and almost hit me. I scolded myself. I could not afford to fall asleep at the wheel. My heart was racing. I rolled down the windows and it was loud and cold. It kept me focused enough to make it to the next gas station. The lights were bright and the parking lot was mostly empty. I rifled through my pockets and found a little more than a dollar in loose change. It might’ve been enough to buy a bad energy drink or at least worse coffee. I got out of the van, double-checked to make sure everything was locked, and went inside. I bought the remnants of yesterday’s coffee and dumped in a handful of sugar packets. I slugged back the lukewarm beverage, threw out the cup, and walked past a guy going inside on my way back to the van. I heard a sound coming from the windowless storage compartment, faint and without rhythm. I started toward the back, but turned around before I could even look at the rear door. A black Mercedes with Illinois plates was parked several yards away from me. A man in track pants and a sweatshirt was filling up the car. Another man in jeans came out of the store with some drinks and a bag of jerky. I got into the van and started it up. It jerked to life and I sped down the road. I looked into my side mirror and after a few minutes I could see the Mercedes following me. They kept their distance, but now I knew they were there. I didn’t understand why they were willing to follow me, but unwilling to drive their own delivery. Maybe it was for plausible deniability, get some schmuck to take the fall if their van got pulled over, or maybe what I was carrying was more dangerous than I thought. “Turn left onto US-20 East.” I wanted to throw my phone across the cabin, but if I did, what would the men following me do to me if I went off course? “Turn left onto US-20 East.” The screen went black as I turned. “They’ll kill you anyway. You’ll never make it.” I was more awake now. I wasn’t hallucinating. I wasn’t dreaming. I wasn’t trying to convince myself everything was okay anymore. I felt shivers crawl up the back of my neck and the hair on my head scrunched together. “You should just pull over, Jason.” “Stop it,” I said out loud. “Whatever you are, stop it!” The cabin went silent for several minutes. I took a long blink and when I opened my eyes, I could see someone sitting next to me out of the corner of my eye. No one was really there, I knew that in my bones, but God help me, it felt like something was there. I turned to look over at a women in a white dress. The face was scrambling together in peach-colored blurs until it looked like a replica of you. She looked just like you. Lace grew on the dress and a veil spread from her blonde hair. I hadn’t seen you yet, but it was exactly as I imagined. “Hey Jay, I can’t wait to see you.” She smiled and looked at her engagement ring. “I knew my big bro wouldn’t let me down.” “What the fuck is this?” I said. “Thanks for taking me to my big day. The church is right up here.” She pointed out the window. It was still night but somehow we were driving towards the sunlit Catholic church from our hometown. A shimmering group of people were gathered around. If I thought about who would be there, their face suddenly appeared in the crowd. My hands started drifting again, but I held firm and stayed on the road. “You’re not my Jean.” I focused hard on the last word. “It’s me, Jay. Jeanie. Who else would it be?” “Alex,” I said. “My sister’s name is Alex.” The patch of sun washed away into the night, and not-you frowned. Her image flickered for a moment before flashing back into existence. I needed to make it to your wedding. That was the only thing that mattered to me. Her image flashed again and came back even more confused. “You are a surprisingly strong willed young man,” she said. “Is this all you really want?” “Yeah,” I said back. “She’s the only thing left that matters to me.” “I understand,” she sighed. “I had a family once too, so I am sorry for what has to happen next.” I turned to look and she was gone. I looked back over the steering wheel and someone was standing in the middle of the road. I slammed on the brakes before I could even think about it. The body disappeared like mist as it hit the engine compartment and rolled off the cabin into the air. The van stopped and less than a second later, I felt everything lurch forward again as a car slammed into me. I heard the metal doors burst open and something landed on their car. I heard the shattering of glass and the sounds of screams and gunfire. I looked out at my side mirror. A petite woman with dark curly hair, metal cuffs, and a hospital gown was covered in blood. Her eyes were jet black and her panting mouth was lined with canines. Our eyes met in the reflection, and she smiled a toothy grin before running off into the woods. I put my foot down to the mat and gunned it. The smashed Mercedes behind me disappeared from view, and I kept driving until I hit the next gas station. Most of what wasn’t bolted down fell onto the road as I fled, so the storage compartment was mostly empty. The gas station attendant was kind enough to give me an old bungee cord to tie together the doors. I didn’t know what else to do, so I just kept driving. Once I hit Pennsylvania, I snapped my phone in half and just followed the signs until I got to more familiar territory. I ditched the van on the outskirts of town and since people’s hearts really open up when you say you’re trying to make it your sister’s wedding, I was able to hitchhike the rest of the way and slip into the service before it ended. It was all worth it, though, to see you up there. And when you saw me and your face lit up, my heart melted. You hugged me long and hard and we both held up the receiving line. You told me you were worried when you didn’t hear anything and I just had to tell you how I made it. I wanted to tell you then, but numerous shoulder jabs from disapproving aunts and uncles pushed me out the door. So here I am, scrambling to get this written down after the reception in the hotel’s business center. It’s the only gift I have for you right now, and I don’t know if or when you’ll read this, or if you’d ever believe it, but I do hope you know this: Even if you don’t see me for a while, I’ll come running for you anytime. I’d do anything for you, kid. Enjoy your special day. Love, your big brother, Jason. MxHoehn
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