News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 20, 2014

From Downtown to Down by the River

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — It’s been 32 years since Indiana State University has hosted the Missouri Valley Conference baseball championship and teams, coaches, families and fans may be visiting Terre Haute for the first time today.

In addition to the MVC tournament, which features games at 9 a.m., 12:30, 4 and 7:30 p.m. today, on Wednesday the Tony Hulman Classic, featuring USAC Spring Cars and UMP Modifieds, will be staged at the Terre Haute Action Track at Wabash Valley Fairgrounds.

The fairgrounds is south of Interstate 70 at 3901 U.S. 41 South.

The race takes place on a half-mile dirt track that first opened in 1952. Notable drivers who have competed at the track early in their careers are A.J. Foyt, Jeff Gordon, Parnelli Jones and Tony Stewart.

The grandstands and infield open at 4 p.m. Hop laps begin at 6 p.m. General admission is $25, while infield is $15.

If you’re looking for rides and musical entertainment, the Wabash River provides a visual backup for the 41st Annual Banks of the Wabash Festival at Fairbanks Park. The event is slated to open at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The festival, staged at the 145-acre city park at 900 Dresser Drive, has amusement rides from Leuhrs’ Ideal Rides plus food and nightly entertainment at the park’s outdoor amphitheater.

The opening night entertainment is from the band Ignition, which performs from 7 to 9 p.m. The carnival and festival areas open at 5 p.m. on Friday, with the band Rural Route 3 is performing from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the carnival opens at 1 p.m. and the festival area opens at 4, with the band Echos of Pompeii performing from 6 to 9.

Also at Fairbanks Park is Joe’s Airboats that cruise the Wabash River. Rides are offered on Fridays and Saturdays, however reservations are required in May by calling 812-208-1901. Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for ages 12 and under for a half hour ride on the river. The company operates two 10-passenger boats. Hearing protection and life vests are provided.

Downtown Terre Haute is just blocks from Sycamore Stadium.

There, the Swope Art Museum, 25 S. Seventh St., is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Visit for more information.

The Terre Haute Children’s Museum, 727 Wabash Ave., is featuring a travel display of Eat Well Play Well, encouraging healthy food choices and fun ways to stay active, said executive director Lynn Hughes. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. It is open noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The museum houses Louise’s Downtown Cafe.

The downtown is also home to Clabber Girl, which has a museum and bake shop, open weekdays, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“I would encourage people to walk the shops downtown, with Roger’s jewelry, Millie and Maude, Modern Charm, Corey’s Fine Footwear, River Wolf and even take a look at the Indiana Theater,” said Shelly Klingerman, executive director of Downtown Terre Haute.

“Definitely, I think it is wonderful that we have this [baseball] championship coming as it is a great opportunity to showcase our quaint downtown and the great community we have. I also encourage people just to go to the [Wabash] river and look that over” from Fairbanks Park.

Some unique downtown eateries near the historic intersection of Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue include J. Gumbo’s Cajun & Creole and Boo’s Crossroads Cafe, which also features the Corner Grind coffee shop. There’s also Chava’s Mexican Grill. Don’t forget to try Yogurt in Love, open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.

For those up for some physical activity, try Maple Avenue Nature Park about a mile north of Sycamore Stadium at 500 Maple Ave. The park has a concrete walkway around a lake, which is stocked annually with trout for those wanting to fish. The trail also connects to Collett Park, Terre Haute’s oldest municipal park.

The city’s largest park is located on Terre Haute’s east side. The 177-acre Deming Park, at the intersection of Fruitridge Avenue and Ohio Boulevard, contains a miniature train to ride as well as the Oakley Playground, tennis courts, basketball courts and an 18-hole Frisbee disc course.

The sidewalk in front of the park leads to the National Road Heritage Trail, starting at Locust Street and Blakely Avenue. The trail can be taken east toward Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology or farther to the Jones Trailhead in Seelvyille. The trail taken to the west will lead visitors to Indiana State University. The trail also can be accessed on ISU’s campus at Spruce Street.

Indiana in May is best known for the Indianapolis 500. The 98th running of the race in Indianapolis will be Sunday. “It is the day after the MVC baseball tournament, but people can stay here and make the short trip Sunday to Indianapolis to see the race,” said David Patterson, executive director of the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or

More to offer …

The Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship starts today at Indiana State University’s Sycamore Stadium.

In addition to the tournament, some events this week in Terre Haute include:

• Tony Hulman Classic, featuring USAC Spring Cars and UMP Modifieds, on Wednesday at Wabash Valley Fairgrounds, 3901 U.S. 41 South.

• 41st Annual Banks of the Wabash Festival, which starts Thursday at Fairbanks Park. Also, Joe’s Airboats are available via reservation for half hour ride on the Wabash River.

• Downtown Terre Haute restaurants, shops and museums.

• Nearby Maple Avenue Nature Park or other city parks such as Deming Park, which offer walking trails and outdoor sports. National Road Heritage Trail goes from ISU to Jones Trailhead at Seelyville.