Culture » Festivals

Earthly Delights

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What was first celebrated in the United States on April 22, 1970, Earth Day now ranks as the largest civic event in the world.

A love-in to love, that initial tree-hugging holiday rallied support to save the planet and honor Mother Earth. It resulted in the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the eventual passage of the Clean Water, Clear Air and Endangered Species acts.

Giving a nod to nature and this special day, Sky Blue Window offers up the following fun gatherings and activities taking place this week throughout Indy.

What: Leaf Winter Behind

When: April 22, 4 - 8 p.m.

Where: Flat 12 Bierwerks (414 Dorman St.)

Make a toast to Earth Day and another to maintaining the city's natural assets at Flat 12 Bierwerks. This Wednesday Flat 12 will give a nod to Mother Nature in style with Leaf Winter Behind, a fundraiser for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB). Celebrate the planet most of us call home with an Upside Down Blonde or a Pogue's Run Porter. Ten percent of Flat 12's pint and growler sales will go to KIB in support of its ongoing beautification efforts around Indy. For more info, call (317) 635-BEER.(Yes, seriously.)

While supplies last, Conner Prairie will hand out American Plum, Redbud and Washington Hawthorn saplings -- trees to plant (then hug). - COURTESY OF CONNER PRAIRIE
  • Courtesy of Conner Prairie
  • While supplies last, Conner Prairie will hand out American Plum, Redbud and Washington Hawthorn saplings -- trees to plant (then hug).

What: Arbor Day

When: April 24, 10 a.m.

Where: Conner Prairie (13400 Allisonville Road)

You love Indy's architecture, its constructed amenities and attractions, you do. But too many cement and steel structures and blacktop paths are enough to make you crave the quiet shade and dirt trails of a more laid-back scene. Conner Prairie Living History Museum understands. With trails and trees out the wazoo, this attraction just a 10-minute drive past Castleton has you covered. What better place to get your nature on than Conner Prairie's Arbor Day? Participants talk to foresters and furniture artists and learn about the history of wood, and enjoy a nature walk while learning to identify trees native to the state. The event is free with general admission. More information is available by calling (317) 776-6006.

What: Mayor Ballard's Great Indy Cleanup

When: April 25, 9 a.m. - noon

Where: Indy's Westside

Saturday, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful kicks it up a notch on cleanup efforts around the city. The first "litter grab" of the year will take place near the Mary Rigg Community Center and involves more than 500 volunteers from church groups, fraternities, corporations and more. KIB public relations director Ashlee Wilson Fujawa says, "April is a really busy time for us. We generate one-third of our annual volunteers from this event. It's a great time to learn about little gems in the city." Plans have been in the works for a year to help Westside residents spruce up alleyways, paint murals, plant trees and deal with issues such as the illegal dumping of unwanted furniture. Saturday's cleanup crew is at max capacity, but the organization's much-needed efforts continue throughout the year. Check out KIB's site or call (317) 264-7555 to get involved in future events.

Earth Day Indiana is an annual event in downtown Indy, that dates back to the holiday's 20th anniversary in 1990.  - COURTESY OF EARTH DAY INDIANA
  • Courtesy of Earth Day Indiana
  • Earth Day Indiana is an annual event in downtown Indy, that dates back to the holiday's 20th anniversary in 1990.

What: Earth Day Indiana

When: April 25, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Where: White River State Park (801 W. Washington St.)

Ready for five hours of fun, sun, arts and crafts, and exhibitors ready to chat about loving the Earth just a little more? Check out Earth Day Indiana, which executive director Summer Keown calls "an opportunity for people to get involved with more than 100 environmental organizations and to enjoy a day of free music, activities and food." Groups such as Animalia, Bee Public, Earth Mama Compost, Freewheelin' Community Bikes and the Indiana Native Plant & Wildflower Societywill be on hand. WTTS will host the Karma Records Music Stage with everything from hula hoop enthusiasts to harmonizing musicians with ukuleles. Keep an eye out for children wearing butterfly wings and their parade to the ArtsGarden. Grab your Birks, your bike, and come learn about sustainability, conservation and hemp. Oh, come on. You know someone will be talking about it.

What: Naturally Inspired Paint Out Day

When: April 25 (call (317) 630-2001 for event start time)

Where: Indianapolis Zoo (1200 W. Washington St.)

If you've ever quoted Friends and sneered, "Do you believe everything the zoo tells you?" or if you'd just like to observe artists in their natural habitat, now's your chance. Every year, Naturally Inspired Paint Out Day invites 15 juried artists to create paintings or sculptures enplein air (French for "outdoors") that evoke nature and its elements. (Last year, frontier artist Ken Scott was one of the participants.) The finished works of art will be on display in the Schaefer Rotunda at White River Gardens from June 1 to Aug. 26, followed by a silent auction and artists' reception on Aug. 27. Reservations are required for the reception; call (317) 630-2046 for more info.

Earth Day at the JCC will include everything from bug art for kids to an IPL rep who'll explain solar and wind power. - COURTESY OF THE GLICK JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER
  • Courtesy of the Glick Jewish Community Center
  • Earth Day at the JCC will include everything from bug art for kids to an IPL rep who'll explain solar and wind power.

What: JCC Earth Day

When: April 26, 1 - 4 p.m.

Where: Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center (6701 Hoover Road)

The earthy fun continues on Sunday afternoon. The JCC of Indianapolis will host its annual Earth Day Community Celebration with activities, music, food and fun for the entire family. Now in its fourth year, the event offers the chance to make and fly kites, embark on scavenger hunts and check out multiple booths from groups such as the carpool advocates from Commuter Connect, the sustainability educators from Earth Charter Indiana and the backyard chicken farmers from Nap Town Chickens. (We may or may not have been secretly hoping that was actually a band name for a punk rock klezmer quartet.) There are always earthy-crunchy kids arts and crafts offered (such as making Crisco-coated pinecones rolled in seeds, terrariums made of liter plastic bottles and leaf-rubbing prints), along with cool contests (an example from last year was digging into a tub of dirt to select the fattest earthworm, placing it on a scale and weighing it). More information about the event is available by calling (317) 251-9467.

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