Anderson/Madison County Visitors Blog

December 2013

Posted by on in The Bannon Blog
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It's December, so that means it is time to take a look back at the year.


In honor of our year-end review, I've created the Tommy Awards, because doesn't the world really need more meaningless awards?  I decide the categories. I decide the winners. Winners get nothing but an imaginary pat on the back.

And now, in spite of no anticipation or demand, I present the 2013 Tommy Awards:

Best Hoosier Park Concert Award:  The Tommy goes to Huey Lewis and the News.

I didn’t see every Hoosier Park concert, but I saw quite a few, and Huey Lewis is tough to beat. It was great weather, a great crowd, and a great show. It was one of my favorite nights of the summer. 

Honorable Mention: The Little River Band.

Most Under-Appreciated Attraction Award:  The Tommy goes to the World’s Largest Ball of Paint.

A lot of people have heard about the World’s Largest Ball of Paint in Alexandria, but many have still not seen it. That’s too bad, because it is a lot of fun. In case you don’t know, Mike Carmichael started painting a baseball in 1977 and it now weighs over 4,000 pounds and has nearly 25,000 layers of paint on it! Visitors can stop by and put on their own layer (supplies are provided). Part of the charm is that the Carmichaels do not take the ball or themselves too seriously. They know it is silly fun and are warm and gracious hosts.

Tourism-Related News Story of the Year Award:  The Tommy goes to Mounds Lake.

The proposed Mounds Lake will likely be the top overall news story of the year and definitely gets the nod for top tourism-related news story. If it becomes reality it should have a big impact on tourism and recreational activities in the area. It has been among the most talked about and debated topics of the year.

Honorable Mention: The Centaur purchase of Indiana Grand. The transaction solidifies one of Madison County’s most important businesses.

Best New Venue Award:  The Tommy goes to York Performance Hall and Galleries at Anderson University and the Terrace Showroom at Hoosier Park (tie).

We are fortunate in Madison County to have some great venues to watch musical, dance, and comedy performances. Things got even better in 2013 with the opening of York Performance Hall and Galleries at Anderson University and the Terrace Showroom at Hoosier Park. York is an acoustic masterpiece that can be tuned based on the performance on stage! The Terrace Showroom is a fabulous addition to Hoosier Park and will make their indoor concerts even better. 

Good to Have You Back Award:  The Tommy goes to the Anderson Christmas Parade.

A quick look at the December newsletter shows how many holiday events take place in Madison County. Each holiday season we get to enjoy Christmas in Pendleton, Christmas in Lapel, the Alexandria Christmas parade and celebration, the Elwood Christmas parade and celebration, The Festival of Trees at the Paramount, and much more. But a special tip of the hat this year to the Anderson Christmas parade. A large crowd braved the wind and cold to enjoy the parade this year, which was the first Christmas parade put on by the City of Anderson in nearly 50 years. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 50 years for the next one!

That’s in Madison County? Award:  The Tommy goes to Warner Sallman’s The Head of Christ painting.

Warner Sallman was an acclaimed artist of Christian images. His work, The Head of Christ, is one of the most recognizable paintings in the world, with more than 500 million copies sold. The vast collection of his original works—including The Head of Christ—is owned by Anderson University and on permanent display at the Scheierman Gallery at the York Performance Hall and Galleries (a 2013 Tommy Award winner).

Honorable Mention: The Central Indiana Soaring Society spends their Saturdays April-October gliding in the skies of Madison County. Trained pilots take riders up in two passenger gliders and then float above the Madison County terrain. It is a great way to gain a new perspective!

Best Fair Food Award:  The Tommy goes to elephant ears and K Burgers.

This category isn’t to be confused as the fair with the best food (hey, I think I just came up with a new category for the 2014 Tommy Awards!).  This is for the food that you most look forward to having when you go to one of our fairs and festivals. My wife loves elephant ears and I love the K Burgers at the June Jamboree. So, they get the nod this year! I never said a lot of thought went into the Tommy Awards!

Honorable Mention: Corn dogs, corn on the cob, cotton candy, and just about everything else I can stuff into my mouth.

Everyone Knows You’re Here and We’re Glad Award:  The Tommy goes to the Indianapolis Colts.

For three weeks every summer, the Indianapolis Colts move to Anderson University for training camp. When the Colts arrive in town they bring with them a cadre of reporters, shining a statewide and national spotlight on camp, and in turn, our community. The exposure is invaluable. The Colts are a first class organization composed of terrific people. We are fortunate to be associated with them. What do you think the chances are that the Colts will fly a Tommy Awards banner next to their Super Bowl banner at Lucas Oil Stadium? 

News, notes, and thoughts—Kudos to the fine people of Frankton for the naming of the Frankton Heritage Days as the Best Small Festival in Indiana by the Indiana Festivals Association. It is a well deserved honor for a great event and a bunch of nice, hard working people…Food Truckin’ Thursdays was a nice addition to the Anderson dining scene this summer and fall. Food trucks are gaining in popularity and it was nice to see Anderson get involved…Kudos to Centaur Gaming for being this year’s honoree at the 108th Anniversary Dinner of the Indiana Society of Chicago Foundation. It is a great honor…Enjoyed the Alexandria Chamber’s annual luncheon earlier this month. Jeff Bryan does a great job with the Alexandria Chamber. His counterpart in Elwood, Marcy Fry, will be having their chamber’s annual dinner in January. Both Jeff and Marcy are great relationship builders and terrific ambassadors for their communities and our county as a whole…I wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season!

--Tom Bannon is executive director of the Anderson/Madison County Visitors Bureau



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