By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
With 60 days to go until the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis excitement about the “super” celebration is growing, local organizers involved with the event have said.
“This is a big deal for the state and a really big deal for Madison County as well,” said Dennis Ashley, chairman of events for the Super Madison County initiative.
Madison County — specifically Hoosier Park Racing & Casino — was selected as one of 17 “super celebration sites” across the state that will act as a gathering place full of activities for those wanting to participate in the Super Bowl activities and be a welcome area for guests.
Anderson’s site is unique as it is one that will be providing transportation to the Super Bowl activities in downtown Indianapolis. A mile area around Lucas Oil Stadium will be blocked off to traffic and getting anywhere near the site will be difficult, Ashley said during an informational session Monday morning.
Buses will be providing transportation between area hotels and Hoosier Park — where the local activities are happening — and between Hoosier Park and downtown Indianapolis.
The transportation, like the majority of the Super Celebration activities at Hoosier Park, is free to visitors and residents, Ashley said. The way reservations can be made will be announced as the event nears.
The activities planned locally are a family fun interactive media zone, a mini grid iron challenge, a display of information from area businesses and organizations, Blackjack mania, slot tournaments, live entertainment including KC and the Sunshine Band, and a tailgating extravaganza on the day of the Super Bowl.
“There are a lot of exciting opportunities for both transient guests and residents,” Ashley said.
One of the ways Ashley said they are hoping to welcome visitors is by having volunteers and those in the service industry who will be interacting with visitors “Super Service” certified. There will be a free Super Service training on Dec. 19 at Hoosier Park. Details about that date are forthcoming, but Ashley said those interested in volunteering and businesses wanting to get the certification should call the Madison County Visitors and Convention Bureau at 643-5633 to get registered for the event.
Anderson Municipal Airport manager John Coon said the big game will definitely affect things at the airport. Flights two hours before through two hours after the game on Feb. 5 will be restricted in a 35-mile radius around Lucas Oil Stadium, meaning all flights at Indianapolis International Airport and others nearby will be grounded.
And with 1,000 planes expected to be in the area for Super Bowl, Coon expects many flights to be handled here — the first airport with a control tower outside the no-fly zone.
Also on hand during the meeting were area hotel owners. Jag Bohra, owner of the Tipton Inn and Suites, said he wanted to learn more about how the Super Celebration Site would affect his business.
“We are trying to explore our options and learn more about what is happening before we make decisions like what our rate will be,” Bohra said.
Ashley said he is excited about the upcoming celebration and the opportunities it presents for local residents.
“This is their opportunity to get into the game and get their piece of the NFL and Super Bowl and get their fix via the celebration site and or by capitalizing on one of the available slots to get to downtown Indianapolis to experience everything that is offered there,” he said.
While 150,000 visitors are expected in Indianapolis, Ashley said, locally they are looking at 15,000 to 20,000 over the 10-day time period.
Contact Abbey Doyle: 640-4805, firstname.lastname@example.org