Georgia Street will once again see a transformation. Organizers with Indianapolis Downtown Incorporated are launching “City Sidewalks” this weekend.
The three-day festival will include live music, artisans and vendors, visits with Santa and free skating on an outdoor synthetic ice rink.
“Everything is free, there’s absolutely no cost for any of it. You do have to use the ice skates provided but those are free as well. We just want people to come down and have a good time,” said Melissa Thompson, director of Georgia Street for Indianapolis Downtown Inc.
The stretch of Georgia Street between the Convention Center and Bankers Life Fieldhouse was a bustling success story when Indianapolis played host to the Super Bowl last winter. Since then, however, fewer events on the street have seen the same popularity.
Second Thursdays this summer and fall received a lukewarm reaction and football fans packed the area again for the Big 10 championship, but the game itself sold nearly 20,000 fewer tickets than last year.
“We are learning what works for Georgia Street and what doesn’t. Second Thursdays was a good kind of trial for us to figure out who would come down. Really, we’re looking for that kind of critical mass of when there’s lots of people in town,” Thompson said.
She said the key may be to piggy back off of other events happening in the downtown area at the same time. This weekend the Convention Center is hosting the The International Motorsports Industry Show, Massachusetts Avenue is holding an art fair and the Pacers play at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. On Saturday, the fieldhouse hosts the Hoosier Invitational, featuring five high school basketball games, and Sunday the Colts play at sold-out Lucas Oil Stadium.
Thompson said City Sidewalks will be another learning experience in which types of activities attract crowds on Georgia Street.
“We hope that this year will be a good starting point for us and next year maybe more artisans will join in, maybe it’ll be longer, a two weekend event. We’re looking to feel it out and see how it goes,” said Thompson.