INDIANAPOLIS — As Indiana art festivals go, there are none that can compare with the annual Penrod Arts Festival, set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, on the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Museum, 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis.
Promoted as “Indiana’s Nicest Day,” the sheer size of Penrod, covering more than 20 acres of museum property, sets it apart from the others. In attendance will be some 300 artists, 50 non-profit arts organizations, an array of food and beverage choices, and an expansive variety of live entertainment on six different stages.
Penrod is art. The artwork is the star of Penrod. There’s nothing like original artwork. Whether it’s for the wall of your living room or something you can wear, it’s yours and it’s the only one, and you own it. Penrod artisans offer everything from jewelry, ceramics, watercolor and oil paintings, weaving, metalwork, woodcraft, glass sculpture, leatherwork, photography and paper arts. You can spend a little or a lot, depending on your budget, and come home with original art.
Penrod is entertainment. Six performance stages are spread out across the grounds differentiated by color names. You can see, for example, ballet on the green stage, a chamber orchestra on the red stage, a bluegrass band on the blue stage, and a magician one stage over in the kids’ section — all at the same time.
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Penrod is food. Are you a foodie? There are enough food trucks and vendors for a stand-alone “Taste of Penrod” event, and most of it is local. Attendees can enjoy fair food, root beer floats, buffalo burgers, ethnic food, kabobs, and pizza. There’s even a craft beer garden, featuring several Indiana-based breweries.
Penrod is people. Some of you may be saying, “All of this sounds great, but I’ve got the kids, and they’re not going to enjoy looking at a bunch of art.” Never fear. Again, the festival comes through like a champ with a huge children’s area and enough hands-on art activities to fill the day.
By now you may be wondering, “How do we get there?” With more than 20,000 expected, parking on the grounds is not your best bet. There are five free shuttle locations (with free parking), including Butler University, the Major Taylor Veledrome and Crown Hill Cemetery. There is even a pedal-and-park bike rack if cycling is your chosen mode of transportation.
Penrod is every outdoor fair you could want or imagine. All in all, the title of “Indiana’s Nicest Day” could be a matter of opinion. The weather is definitely a factor. It’s a rain-or-shine event, and if it’s “shine,” you can’t do better than to enjoy a late-summer day on the grounds of the regal Indianapolis Museum of Art, taking in the best Indiana has to offer in arts, food and performance on its nicest day.
Advance tickets are on sale now for $15 at Marsh, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Eventbrite. Tickets at the door are $20.