INDIANAPOLIS – The 51st annual Penrod Art Fair, known as “Indiana’s Nicest Day,” returns to the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Road, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance (at penrod.org) and $20 at the gate. If you plan to attend – especially if you’ve never been – here are four things to keep in mind before you go.

It’s all about the arts

This juried art show showcases more than 300 artists from around the Midwest and as far away as New Jersey and Alabama. In additional to the two-dimensional art of dozens of photographers and painters, Penrod also hosts wood carvers, jewelry-smiths, textile artists, potters and ceramicists, glass blowers and leathercraft artists.

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But visual art is only part of the experiences awaiting visitors at Penrod. More than 25 local performing arts groups will be singing, playing, dancing or acting on one of the five stages spread across the grounds. The list includes the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indy Jazz fest artists and the Gordon Bonham Blues Band.

Don’t overlook the art of food at Penrod. More than 20 food service options are available to tempt your taste buds.

Plan to take the shuttle

With more than 20,000 expected to attend, you don’t want to start “Indiana’s Nicest Day” dealing with parking issues. Parking is available at the Indianapolis Museum of Art for $30 a vehicle (twice the cost of an entrance ticket) until the lot fills up. Free parking and shuttle service are available continuously throughout the day at the Indiana State Fairgrounds (1201 E. 38th St.), Crown Hill Cemetery (4080 Clarendon Road), Light of the World Christian Church (4646 N. Michigan Road), and the Major Taylor Velodrome (3649 Cold Spring Road).

Parking also is offered at the Butler University Clowes Parking Garage (47th St. and Sunset Ave.), but $5 will be charged if you arrive after 4:30 p.m. or retrieve your vehicle after 6:45 p.m. The Penrod.org website also includes a list of places not to park.

Start at 9, stay until 5

Spread over the 20 acres of the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, a map of the Penrod Art Fair designates four areas – red, yellow, blue and green – for art and entertainment and a fifth area just for the young (and young at heart). Allow time to enjoy the art; allow the kids time to experience art in the children’s area. Grab a lunch, take a seat at one of the entertainment stages and relax to a performance of music, dance or theater.

Rain won’t stop “Indiana’s Nicest Day”

This one-day event, held the first Saturday after Labor Day, goes on rain or shine. So if the forecast looks iffy – if there’s a possibility of rain – be sure to dress for the day with the proper footwear, rain gear, a hat or an umbrella. One positive note about inclement weather – it might keep the crowds down.

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Christine Schaefer is arts editor and editorial assistant at the Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3222 or cschaefer@greenfieldreporter.com.