What happens in the host city in advance of the Super Bowl? Just thousands of things. The residents have been learning about planning for parking/transportation, opening temporary entertainment venues, redesigning the downtown traffic patterns and various other preparations through the media for a long while. Now the changes are actually occurring. I thought it would be fun to cruise around last week while I was downtown working at my new job. (I’ll talk about that part later.) I heard that the numerals (XLVI) were going up on Monument Circle and that some of the street closings that we have been hearing of would be started. So, out I went. I had fun taking detours, making short stops for photos and watching the early developments. Here’s a ten-days-out peek at the goings on.
As I drove west on Market Street toward Monument Circle I could see traffic slowing more than usual. Half way around I could see a huge X had just been placed by a crane and there was a crowd of about 50 people gathering and a couple of photographers setup to catch the event. Luckily I saw a spot to pull over, so I jumped out to take a closer look and get a couple of photos. While I was doing this, the people who had assembled starting walking out toward the X. I presumed this was for a news photo or a local TV spot. So, of course, I joined them. Why not? Well, as I stood there listening more closely to the conversations and watching the photographer I realized that everyone but me was a part of the same group, perhaps a company photo for a publicity shot, or some kind of souvenir. At one point a lady asked me if I knew the photographer. Oh well, the only thing to do was stand still and be cool. Pretty soon, after a lot of cheering, they all walked off in the same direction…back to work I suppose. So if you hear of a stray person in a corporate promo picture for the Super Bowl, it’s me!
After my crashing-the-photo event I decided to head south, closer to Lucas Oil Stadium, to see how things were playing out for Super Bowl Village that is planned for several blocks of the city’s streets. As I was zig-zaging through the blocked streets I came across crews changing the direction signs, and stages going up in the middle of the streets. Anyone traveling in the area will also have these “Bowl Route” signs directing them to the stadium and many of the metro bus stops are “Closed for the Super Bowl.” I love these humongous banners covering entire sides of buildings which advertise the temporary restaurants, entertainment and gathering spots.
Plans are underway for many types of activities and entertainment, so that everyone who wants to join in can enjoy themselves, even without a ticket to the game. There’s free entertainment planned at the Super Bowl Village and the NFL Experience in the center of Indy. There’s even a beach that was hauled into Victory Field, the home of the Indianapolis Indians baseball team. I’m hearing that there are festivities as far as Lafayette and Louisville also.
Although the Super Bowl is dominating the conversation for the most part in Indianapolis lately, it is still business as usual in many ways, including at the State House. The legislature is underway and freedom of speech is in evidence. As I was in the midst of my tour of the city’s preparations, the ‘right to work’ opponents stood vigil with their placards to let their elected officials know how they feel. And many local citizens who aren’t NFL fans and have to contend with the crowds to get to and from their jobs aren’t necessarily looking forward to the hassles. But, after all, anyone who grew up in this city has some experience with the “Month of May” and will roll with it, as they are accustomed. All will be calm again soon. Meanwhile, party on!
If you are visiting Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, have a great time. We will be laying low and enjoying it from the suburbs.
Thanks again for stopping by at Hurley Travels. Stay safe. See you later.