The Journal Gazette
Sunday, November 24, 2019 1:00 am


Indoor motorcycle racing scheduled for Coliseum on Dec. 21

Journal Gazette

Winter is almost here and so is the second annual Hoosier Winter Blast.

Motorcycle and quad riders from all over the country, some as young as 5, will come to Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 21 to race on a one-eighth-mile concrete short track covered in Coke syrup.

Rider gates open at 11 a.m. and doors open at 1 p.m. for spectators with the main event kicking off at 5 p.m. Advance tickets through Saturday are $20 per person ages 13 and older. Admission price at the door is $25 per person ages 13 and older, $12 for kids age 6-12, and kids 5 and under are free. Military and veterans with a valid ID are also $15.

Tickets are be available at the Memorial Coliseum Ticket Office, online at and via the TM Mobile App.

Park to dedicate CCC Tribute Tree

Ouabache State Park will honor its Civilian Conservation Corps legacy at its annual Wonderland of Lights celebration with a CCC Tribute Tree.

The tree is being dedicated at 5 p.m. Saturday, right before the park's Reindeer Romp and Jingle Jog event, which starts at 6 p.m.

The first light show at Ouabache was created 80 years ago on Dec. 19, 1939, by CCC members using a flagpole that stood near the Nursery Service Building. The “tree” consisted of 16 strands of 16 blue lights hung from the flagpole, with a diameter of 32 feet at the bottom.

The Tribute Tree keeps the 16 strands of blue lights, though the number per strand differs from the number on the original. It's still located at a flagpole, but this one is near the park's CCC monument. It's also surrounded by 13 pine trees that symbolize the original 13 colonies.

The Reindeer Romp is a 2.5-mile fun run, while the Jingle Jog is a walk. Both events travel through the park's Wonderland of Lights, an annual event where businesses, individuals, families, or nonprofits decorate the park's campsites with lights and holiday decorations for the Christmas season. The show includes a light show, synchronized to music, around the fire tower.

First Bank of Berne in Bluffton partnered with the Friends of Ouabache and Ouabache State Park to bring the Tribute Tree to the Wonderland of Lights, which is from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4 through 31.

Admission is $5.

To register in advance for the Reindeer Run or Jingle Jog, go to Cost is $10 for adults; children are free.

Ouabache State Park is at 4930 E. Indiana 201, Bluffton.

#OptOutside on Black Friday

Tired of spending Black Friday in shopping malls?

“Opt Outside” on Black Friday and get free admission to any DNR property that charges a gate fee on that day. Visitors can also get 20% off a meal at an Indiana state park inn or lodge restaurant on Black Friday – visitors should tell the host or hostess they are “opting outside.”

Visitors also can be entered in drawings for DNR annual passes, lake permits, Smokey Bear materials, gift cards and DNR staff-led outdoor experiences, among other items, just by choosing to #optoutside at a DNR property.

To participate:

Share photos: Post photos of outdoor Black Friday on DNR social media using the hashtag #OptOutsideIN2019. Posts that do not use that hashtag are not eligible for the drawings. Participating DNR properties include state parks, reservoirs, state forests, state fish and wildlife areas, nature preserves and off-road riding SRAs.

Stay overnight: Camp at a state park, reservoir or state forest recreation area, or stay at an Indiana state park inn on Black Friday. The hashtag #optoutsideINN or #optoutsideCAMP must be used with a social media post to be eligible for the drawings. Find out more about winter camping facilities at Make camping reservations at or inn reservations at

Opt outside scavenger hunt: Visit any DNR property and complete the #optoutside scavenger hunt on Black Friday then return it to to be entered in a separate drawing for prizes and experiences.

The scavenger hunt details and an overview of the prizes for drawings and participation are listed at

Everyone who posts a photo as described, camps or stays at an Indiana state park inn, or participates in the scavenger hunt will be entered into a grand prize drawing for a gift pack from the outdoor gear retailer REI in Castleton.

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