BY KAT BRAZ
PHOTOS PROVIDED

The communities within Greater Lafayette boast an impressive collection of historic districts with tree-lined streets featuring diverse architecture. But behind those stately facades lie myriad ghostly legends and chilling accounts, each one a testament to the lingering spirits and unresolved mysteries that have left an indelible mark upon the cities and towns where strange things are said to occur. 

James Moon’s Guillotine

One of the ghastliest tales in Lafayette lore is the unusual, tragic death of James Moon in 1876. After acquiring supplies at the hardware store, the farmer, blacksmith, self-proclaimed inventor and Civil War veteran committed suicide in Room 41 on the third floor of the Lahr House, which overlooked the marketplace on Fifth Street. A maid discovered Moon’s corpse the day after he checked in to the hotel. His body was strapped to the wooden floor, his head cleanly severed by the blood-splattered broadax bolted to a six-foot-long wooden arm that served as a crude guillotine activated by a candle burning through a cord. Today, the former Lahr House still stands and has been converted into an apartment building and retail spaces. Some say Moon’s ghost still haunts the third floor hallways. 

Greenbush Cemetery

Considered one of Lafayette’s most haunted locations, Greenbush Cemetery holds many of the city’s most notable figures, including founder William Digby. The city’s original cemetery was a burial ground located on the site of St. Boniface Church on Ninth Street. Many of the people buried there were moved and interred at Greenbush when it was established in the 1840s. There also are graves for around 30 Confederate prisoners of war and Union soldiers who died in a train collision near Lafayette on Halloween in 1864. The carnage was so gruesome half the men could not be identified. Neighborhood residents report eerie sightings such as ghostly apparitions walking through the cemetery at night.  

Purdue Airport’s Hangar One

Amelia Earhart, the most famous aviatrix in history, prepared for her final flight in Hangar One at the Purdue University Airport where some believe her spirit still lingers. Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, vanished near Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

Earhart purchased her “flying laboratory,” a Lockheed 10-E Electra, with funds from the Purdue Research Foundation and prepped for her flight in Hangar One. Airport crew members report sightings of a slender woman with short hair who is wearing pants, an aviation jacket and a scarf around her neck standing in the shadows of Hangar One. A member of the National Guard was so startled by the apparition that he fired shots at her as he watched her melt into the air. It’s not just the airport that Earhart reportedly haunts; she’s also been spotted in Duhme Hall where she lived during her brief tenure on Purdue’s faculty. Over the years, student residents have heard the clacking of an old-fashioned typewriter late into the night, allegedly the time when Earhart was most fond of doing her writing. 

Top Notch Bar

Located on Third Street in Brookston, Top Notch Bar is known for serving up great food and spirits. Originally the A.B. Garrot Drygoods and Notions store in 1902, it later became the Myers Hotel in 1914. A young girl and guest of the hotel died there of Spanish flu in 1918. But the ghostly footsteps that can sometimes be heard on the stairs are usually attributed to another death. Lawrence “Bunk” Switzer was fatally stabbed by his former lover, Kathryn Newkirk, on June 5, 1965, in the apartment over the bar where the couple lived. Staff at the Top Notch suspect Bunk’s ghost is responsible when TVs go on the fritz, ice scoops go missing, items unexpectedly fall off the bar and the jukebox starts playing ’50s and ’60s tracks. In a gesture of goodwill, Top Notch employees often call out “hello” to Bunk whenever they go upstairs.   

Adams Mill

Built in 1846, Adams Mill, on Wildcat Creek near Cutler, operated as a grist mill until 1951 when it was converted into a local attraction demonstrating the grinding of grain and exhibiting artifacts of the early rural Midwest. The site is now owned and operated by the nonprofit Adams Mill Inc. Several spooky occurrences have been reported at the mill, including footsteps on the stairs when nobody’s there and a woman in a blue dress standing in front of the third-floor window who vanishes from sight. Visitors have reportedly experienced paranormal activity at the nearby Adams Mill Covered Bridge, too. Some claim they are physically held back and unable to cross it. ★

Notebook of Ghosts Q&A with Ashley Watson

Gripped by a fascination with ghost stories from a young age, Ashley Watson, a communications specialist at Purdue University who earned her Ph.D. in rhetoric, blogs about folklore, hauntings and commonplace books at notebookofghosts.com. 

What first sparked your interest in ghosts?

I’ve always been intrigued by ghosts, and I started keeping notebooks with ghost research when I was younger. The Willard Public Library [in Evansville, Indiana] has ghost cams set up inside, and I remember spending hours watching them online (willardghost.com). I just really enjoy a good mystery. 

How did the Notebook of Ghosts blog get started? 

I started the blog in January 2016 after my grandmother, who shared a fondness for ghost stories, passed away. I reflected on how I wanted to spend my time and decided I wanted to consume everything I could about ghosts, whether in literature, science, folklore or personal experience. I remembered my childhood ghost research bringing me happiness, and I wanted to continue my grandmother’s ghost legacy. 

What’s a commonplace book? 

I didn’t learn what commonplace books were until I had to keep one for a college course. I wasn’t aware of the tradition of using a blank notebook for storing and organizing information for later use, but I realized I had been keeping one since I was a kid, compiling all this internet research on ghosts. My physical commonplace book is mixed media and contains a table of contents and glossary. I carry it around everywhere because you never know when a ghost story will be told or a ghost story will appear. 

Where do you do your writing?

I’ve always kept ghost figurines on my desk. Once we purchased our house, I was able to have a dedicated ghost room which I’ve decorated with ghostly figurines and artwork. When I enter that room, I get nostalgic about my childhood and Halloween and it helps get me in the zone when I’m trying to start research on a new spooky topic. I also have a file system that holds all my research and a collection of vintage ghost books. 

What’s a favorite book in your collection?

A southern folklorist named Kathryn Tucker Windham wrote 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey in 1969. It was the first in a series of books that each focused on a different state. Jeffrey is the name of the ghost who haunted her home and inspired her to research local legends. I also own some cassette tapes of Windham telling ghost stories — they’re some of my prized possessions. 

What do you love about ghost stories? 

Ghost stories are an interesting way to look at society and culture because these stories really speak to a community’s beliefs and fears. When I’m researching a ghost story, I try to approach it with that lens 

of understanding. How did these stories start? What happened to spark this fear? Ghost stories are a way for people to make sense of something they don’t understand. 

Have you ever seen a ghost? 

One of my grandmother’s life goals was to see a ghost, and she died without having that experience so I’ve kind of picked up that baton. I view things through a critical lens, but that doesn’t stop me from seeking my own ghostly encounter by staying in haunted hotels when I travel or visiting haunted cemeteries. 

So do you believe in ghosts? 

I’m like Scully and Mulder. I want to believe, but I’m always going to look at it from a scientific perspective. I just don’t know enough to know the answer.  

Do you have a favorite ghost story? 

I have another website, It Was Not a Ghost (itwasnotaghost.com). While searching in the newspaper archives, I come across so many stories where the community thought it was a ghost but it turned out not to be a ghost. One of my favorites happened in 1902 when a group of boys in North Manchester, Indiana, strung wires across an abandoned cemetery and attached one of their mother’s robes. At night, the boys made all these spooky noises and used the wires to move the robe back and forth. They convinced some people in the community the cemetery was haunted until they were discovered. Childhood pranks are my favorite category of stories where it was not a ghost.  ★

BY KAT BRAZ
PHOTOS PROVIDED

Summer is a great time to get outside and explore Greater Lafayette parks. With new playground installations, upgraded sporting facilities and greenspaces for humans and pups alike, there’s so much to appreciate about the area’s community parks. 

“Investing in the future of our parks is so important when we think about quality of life in our community,” says Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski. “These park improvements enhance the overall experience for neighbors and visitors for years to come.”

Armstrong Park
S. Ninth Street & Beck Lane

Major improvements are coming to Armstrong Park, located on Lafayette’s south side, including a new playground. 

“The new playground at Armstrong is going to be an amazing addition to the park,” says Roswarski. “Between the new playground and the many other park improvements, there is a lot to be excited about.” 

The existing playground area will be doubled and feature rubber surfacing as well as multiple swings, slides and climbing features, including some pieces that stand 24-feet high. Existing tennis and basketball courts will be resurfaced, and new tennis nets and posts and new basketball goals will be installed.  

Armstrong’s three baseball fields will receive a number of upgrades as well — new bleachers and concrete pads, grading and seeding of the fields, new roofs on all six dugouts and irrigation installed for field two.

Munger Park
3505 Greenbush St.

New playground equipment is being installed at 

Munger Park this summer to replace existing equipment that had run its course. Lafayette Parks has playground safety inspectors on staff who receive certification through the National Recreation and Park Association. They monitor wear on playground elements to ensure pieces remain safe to use and are replaced on schedule, approximately every 20 years. 

“I grew up with the metal slides at Columbian Park that burn your skin on a hot summer day,” says Jon Miner, director of operations for Lafayette Parks. 

“Modern playground equipment is constantly redesigned to improve safety and incorporate different types of play. We evaluate our playground offerings across all the parks to provide a variety of options for children and parents.”

Arlington Park
1635 Arlington Rd.

This one-acre neighborhood park on Lafayette’s north end is receiving a makeover. An aging tennis court was removed to make way for additional green space. The existing basketball courts are being resurfaced and new playground equipment is being installed. 

Macaw Park
Union Street & Creasy Lane

This spring, the city began expanding the existing parking lot at Macaw Park from about 30 spaces to 146 spaces. The popularity of pickleball — the Lafayette Indiana Pickleball Association boasts more than 300 members — drove part of the need for additional parking. Another phase planned for future years includes the addition of four more pickleball courts, according to  Miner. 

“One of the things we’re really excited about is the construction of a new dog park at Macaw,” Miner says. “It’ll have five different paddocks for different levels of play, including a small dog area. There will also be a doggy splash pad for water play.”

The membership-based dog park is scheduled to open in the fall. A new restroom building also will be added to support the expected increase in visitors.

Future plans call for an additional 12 pickleball courts — the first 12 were installed in 2018 — and a paved trail around the park, connecting to the Munger Park Trail. 

“It’s already the largest group of outdoor pickleball courts in the state,” Miner says. “With the addition of a dog park and even more pickleball courts, we expect Macaw will become a destination park for the community.” 

CAT  Park
3630 McCarty Lane

CAT Park celebrated the opening of its all-inclusive sports field in May. The Tippy Stars, an inclusive baseball/softball program for individuals with special needs, played two games on the field, which is designed to host a variety of sports including baseball, softball, soccer and others. The field’s surface material is ADA compliant, providing individuals with all levels of physical abilities to participate. 

A number of sponsors and community partners helped realize the project, including Caterpillar and Wabash Center. Wessler Engineering, Keystone Architecture and Kettelhut Construction generously donated staff time and expertise. 

Also coming to CAT Park, an adaptive all-inclusive playground for youth and families. The specialized playground equipment is designed to foster active and engaging play for children of all abilities. Lafayette Parks is collaborating with Wabash Center as well as area families to ensure the playground design meets the needs and is inclusive of all. 

Columbian Park
Park & Wallace avenues

Lafayette Citizens Band held its 2023 opening concert at the Columbian Park amphitheater on Memorial Island over Memorial Day Weekend. The band is scheduled to hold concerts weekly on Thursdays through August 3 with a final concert on Labor Day — Monday, September 4.  

“The Citizens Band did a show here last summer and loved it,” Miner says. “It spurred conversations to have the band relocate to Columbian Park for the entire season. We’re thrilled to have the band performing regularly in the amphitheater on Memorial Island. It’s exactly the type of community event that venue was created to host.” 

At the Columbian Park Zoo, design planning has begun on a new primate exhibit. Additionally, the North American otter and eagle exhibits will be renovated. A zoo commissary building will also be constructed to provide housing for some species and provide space for staff to prepare meals for the animals. Plus, the African penguins have returned to their exhibit. 

Cason Family Park

Cumberland Avenue, West Lafayette – Currently under construction

Construction began this year on the 30-acre Cason Family Park, which will feature nature-focused playgrounds, trails, water features, public 

facilities and the Morris Schoolhouse. The modest building was constructed in 1879 and operated for nearly 40 years. It’s now located just east of its original location.  ★ 

BY KATHY MATTER
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Not just a colorful form of self-expression, art makes for good business in Greater Lafayette. Two businesses – Flourish and Art With a Happy Heart – fuel a growing desire, and an actual need, for youth art instruction in our community.  

For the longest time the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette was pretty much the only game in town when it came to youth (and adult) art instruction outside Tippecanoe County’s various school systems. When COVID hit, the museum had to put the kibosh on a lot of programs.  

But under new director Chris McCauley the institution’s broadest range of youth art classes ever — from Parent/Child Portrait nights to a series of four-day Art Camps — emerged this summer, and a slate of classes will continue through the school year.  

“We’re open to kids and teens telling us what they want,” says Emily Snell, the museum’s class coordinator. “I’d love to offer jewelry, printmaking, sculpture. I’m working on a henna instructor and we’ve even toyed with the idea of a design-a-tattoo class.

Outside of the museum, the success of various art businesses and not-for-profit entities offering classes makes the local arts community happy as they dramatically increase the opportunities for youth to make their mark in art. 

Former Montgomery County art teacher Amanda Kennedy, who started Flourish five years ago, has found that she can not only make kids flourish, but that she herself is flourishing as an educator not bound to a prescribed curriculum or state standards. 

“I want to make art available to everyone. The idea of creating is powerful,” she says. 

Originally opening in a small upper Main Street Lafayette location, her studio had just grown to the point where she could hire her first employee in 2020 when COVID hit. Kennedy kept going through virtual classes and selling her original line of sensory boxes for young kids. Recently she moved Flourish to a bigger storefront at 514 Main St. next to Artists’ Own. 

Her themed sensory boxes – ranging from beach to farmer’s market – contain an imaginative array of art materials designed for creative play.  The Farmer’s Market box, for example has cinnamon roll playdough (that she makes herself) plus little flowers, veggies, bees and more. 

“You give it to them and then step back,” Kennedy says. “Sensory play can be therapeutic for very young children, developing skills before they can even hold a pencil. It feeds the imagination, helps little ones identify colors, and develops fine motor skills.” 

Open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, the studio lets kids stop by and draw or play without a reservation. There are a variety of scripted classes, such as elementary art, where they explore a different medium each week, a photo class for teens and a special setup where kids can don a poncho and throw paint at a canvas like Jackson Pollock.  

Like Kennedy, Sarah Czajkowski at Art With a Happy Heart has a degree in art and used to teach in schools before opening her own studio located at 2139 Ferry St., where the well-known Sampson and Delilah Hair Studio resided for 30 years.  

Located across from Murdock Park, “this is a very magical place. I believed it when I first set foot on this property, and the folks that come…. I think they feel it, too,” she says. A boutique fills the main building and features a uniquely curated collection of art, clothing, handbags, jewelry and more. 

“The other building is the art studio where the magic happens through paint parties and classes,” she says. Most of her classes are aimed at youth. “With them I keep it really light and really fun. I pop popcorn and have music. I don’t want it to feel like school at all, but a place where they have creative freedom to do what they want to do.” 

 “Classes lend themselves to creativity and connection, fostering a sense of self-confidence and pride,” she adds. Her summer 2023 art camp explores working with glass, ceramics, wood and clay. In the fall, when regular classes restart, those art forms will enter the curriculum along with painting and drawing.  

It isn’t easy to ferret out all the art opportunities Greater Lafayette has to offer. It takes some creative thinking on your part along with web searches and phone calls. As you might guess, however, some of Lafayette’s galleries offer classes. 

Angela “LaLa” Vinson teaches pottery and more through her small LaLa Gallery at 511 Ferry St. The Herron School of Art-trained artist offers a late afternoon Art Club on Fridays for students. Art history lessons, painting and drawing projects, and pottery wheel instruction fill those hours. 

Sharon Owens’ Inspired Fire glass studio on U.S. 231 South always has offerings for kids, including a fused glass class (no fire involved) and an ornament making party for ages 6 and up. Teens age 14 and up can register for flameworking. It’s an introduction to glass making and torch work by creating and ornamenting glass beads. 

The West Lafayette Public Library opened a Creativity Lab as part of its recent renovation. The space offers a plethora of art supplies plus basic tools such as paint brushes and scissors for making things happen. Ages 13 and up can go in, make something, and take it home. A Creative Café happens on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. At each meeting teens are offered a new art challenge along with snacks and drinks to fuel creativity. A special summer 2023 activity planned by Teen Librarian Ashley Fletcher will use the lab to make water cannons. 

Fletcher says more and more people are becoming aware of their “Library of Things,” which allows library card holders to check out creative tools, such as a soldering iron, light box, desktop magnifier or even a round loom, among other items, for home use. 

Margerum City Hall in West Lafayette offers year-round youth art classes as well as camps in the summer with veteran teacher Jeanette Rehmel, affectionately known as “Miss Jeanette.” Drawing, painting and mixed media camps continue into late summer this year as well as creative expression. Other topics explored in youth classes include textile creation/tie dye and sculpy/sculpture. In Lafayette check out the McAllister Recreation Center, 2351 N. 20th St., for sporadic art activities. 

Outside regular school hours various public and parochial schools in the county offer a Kidz Art program. Czajkowski taught in it before going out on her own and says it fills “an absolute need for more art instruction.” The Arts Federation of Tippecanoe County also offers a free After School Arts Program for elementary and high school students during the academic year in the TAF studios at Sixth and North streets in Lafayette. Some of the programs are visual art, but don’t be surprised to find dance, ukulele and guitar.  

Every summer the Lafayette School Corp. offers Summer Challenge Art to keep interested students plugged into their creativity during the summer break. To participate in this summer school program students must live in Lafayette but don’t have to be enrolled at Jefferson High School. 

Last, but not least, who would think of finding art classes in an apple orchard? But you’ll find Kennedy from Flourish at Wea Creek Apple Orchard at 10:30 a.m. Mondays this summer, as long as the weather cooperates. In an activity born out of the pandemic, youngsters can pursue anything from painting to paper lanterns outside “in a beautiful open field at the top of the orchard,” Kennedy says. 

“There’ll be at least eight to 10 creative play stations to inspire messy fun and beautiful process artworks for every artist.”  ★

BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY PURDUE ATHLETICS

Ryan Walters is learning a lot about Greater Lafayette when he’s not performing his duties as Purdue University’s 37th head football coach.

It’s been a whirlwind lifestyle since Dec. 14, 2022, when Walters was introduced to the community during a press conference at the Kozuch Football Performance Complex.

“When I was offered the job, I jumped at it without really knowing about the community,” Walters says. “When I got here and got to see the facilities, got to see campus and got to go out in the community … every day I’ve been blown away by the support, by the family atmosphere. 

“My family can’t wait to get here. We’ve bought a lot here in (West Lafayette) and we’re building a place.”

For now, Walters and his family – wife Tara and sons Aaron and Cason – will live in a rental home. But while the family was still living in Champaign, Illinois, Walters had plenty of opportunities to explore Greater Lafayette.

“I’ve gone out and tried different restaurants,” he says. “I’ve been to some sporting events here in town. I got a chance to catch a Pacers game in Indy. I went to the mall. I’ve been able to get around (Greater Lafayette), which is why I’m getting more and more excited every day.”

Walters replaces Jeff Brohm, who departed for his alma mater Louisville after guiding Purdue to its first Big Ten Conference West Division championship in 2022. To many Boilermaker fans, Brohm’s departure was a matter of time after earlier flirtations with his hometown school and the University of Tennessee during his six-year stint.

With his rapid rise on the college football coaching ladder, starting with a student assistant role at his alma mater Colorado in 2009, Walters says he hopes Purdue is his final coaching stop in a journey that has taken him to Arizona, Oklahoma, North Texas, Memphis, Missouri and Illinois.

“It is nice to be at my age and where I’m at in this profession and feel like I landed a destination job,” Walters says. “I’m over the moon appreciative over the opportunity to lead this program. I want my kids, who are 9 and soon to be 7, when they grow up I want them to say they’re from West Lafayette.

“I plan on being here a long time, as long as they’ll have me. There will be adversity at times. That is guaranteed in life, right? But I’ll promise you we’ll do everything we can to attack that and overcome that adversity with great attitude and with maximum effort to win championships here.

“There’s no excuse why this place can’t have sustained success and compete and win championships at the highest level.”

Having turned 37 on Jan. 21, Walters is the fourth-youngest coach in major college football behind Kenny Dillingham of Arizona State (32), Kane Wommack of South Alabama (35) and Dan Lanning of Oregon (36).

In addition to being the youngest Purdue head coach since 28-year-old Cecil Isbell in 1944, Walters comes to West Lafayette with a defensive coaching background on his resume. Not since Leon Burtnett was promoted from defensive coordinator in 1981 has Purdue hired a head coach who didn’t have a history of coaching offense. 

This past season, Walters was named the 247Sports Defensive Coordinator of the Year and On3 Coordinator of the Year. His Illinois unit was first nationally in scoring defense (12.3) and second in yards allowed per game (263.8).

Purdue hasn’t led the Big Ten in scoring defense since 1959.

Walters wasn’t always defensive minded in his football career. Before switching to safety during his playing days at Colorado from 2004-08, Walters was a quarterback. 

Like his Purdue basketball counterpart Matt Painter, Walters seemed destined to become a head coach.

“That’s a good comparison if it holds true,” Walters said when told Naismith Hall of Fame basketball coach Gene Keady knew Painter was a future head coach during his playing days in the early 1990s.

“The coaches I had in college would always say, ‘You should think about getting into coaching when your playing days are done.’ 

“I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

For whatever reason, as a player the Xs and Os made sense to me. I don’t know if it was because I had the quarterback background prior to playing defense. Once I started learning the defensive side of the ball it just kind of made sense.”

Walters is used to being among the youngest coaches on his previous staffs, but he’s older than five of his 10 assistant coaches, whose ages range from 26 to 56.

“I have had a quick rise in this profession because one, I enjoy it,” he says. “I enjoy the relationships. I enjoy the creativity and I enjoy the challenge and the pressure and the nature of this job. I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

A side benefit to having a younger coaching staff is being able to relate to today’s athletes. 

“My job as a coach is to put them in the best position to go play fast, go play free and go have fun while still instilling discipline and accountability throughout the program,” Walters says.

“I think the way that is communicated is easier because of my age. We probably listen to the same music. I can get on a video game and play a video game with them. The way we speak and the lingo is still similar. Hopefully, when I’m 50 years old and still in this profession I can maintain that.”


Walters doesn’t fit the coaching stereotype in another way. You won’t hear stories of Walters sleeping in his office or putting in 16-hour days. Family comes first.

“This job requires a lot of your time,” he says. “I think time is the most valuable commodity on this planet. So I’ve got time to get away. I like to spend that time with my family on vacation. We usually go to Hawaii every year for an extended period of time.”

The Walters family loves Hawaii so much their two dogs are named Maui and Kona.

Walters also insists his assistant coaches balance football with family.

“I’ve been a part of staffs where you sort of burn the candle on both ends,” he says. “You get diminishing returns if you do that, I think. I think sometimes people get stuck in ‘This is how we’ve always done it so this is how we have to do it’ instead of changing with the technology and the times. 

“To me it’s important to give myself and my staff time to be fathers and be husbands, be available to your family. I think balance keeps you hungry, keeps you energized and can give you a better perspective on what is required and what is conducive to having a healthy environment in your program.”

It’s been more than 90 years since the last time a winning football coach at Purdue was followed by another successful coach. In 1929, James Phelan left for the University of Washington after leading Purdue to an undefeated season and a Big Ten Conference championship. His successor, Noble Kizer, won two more Big Ten championships and went 42-13-3 from 1930 to 1936 before illness forced him to give up coaching.

Since Jack Mollenkopf retired following the 1969 season with an 84-39-9 record, only three Purdue head coaches have had winning resumes. Jim Young went 38-19-1 from 1977 to 1981, Joe Tiller was 87-62 from 1997 to 2008, and Brohm recorded a 36-34 mark from 2017 to 2022.

So, how will Walters buck that historical trend?

“I know this place is not a rebuild job,” he says. “They’ve had success. So my job is to find areas where we can improve and do whatever I can to improve those areas. The areas that have been successful, make sure those stay successful and try to elevate that standard.

“I’ve always operated with a chip on my shoulder because of my age and my football background. My dad is not a coach. I didn’t have a long career in the NFL. I didn’t play at a ‘logo school’ per se. So, I’ve prided myself on my work ethic, my ability to enhance my talent in this profession. I think that my competitive spirit will continue to influence this building and the people that are coaching and playing, the support staff and all those areas to continue the success that Purdue has seen in recent years.”

Walters will get a chance to make a good first impression on Purdue fans. Four of his first five games as head coach will be played in Ross-Ade Stadium. Fresno State, coming off a 10-4 season in 2022, comes to West Lafayette for the Sept. 2 season opener.

Following a trip to Virginia Tech on Sept. 9, the Boilermakers host Syracuse on Sept. 16, a nationally televised game with Wisconsin on Sept. 22 and a reunion with his former boss, Bret Bielema, and Illinois on Sept. 30.

What should fans expect to see that first month of the season?

“You’re going to see a team that is going to be playing fanatically, playing fast; a team that loves to play the game and plays it the right way,” Walters says. “We’re going to be competitive. We’re going to be tough. We’re going to be disciplined.

“Offensively, we’re going to score points. We’re going to throw the ball around. Graham Harrell and his track record with developing quarterbacks and skill players speaks for itself. I’m going to piggyback what the new Colts coach says. We’re going to throw the ball to score points and we’re going to run the ball to win games. 

“Defensively, we’re going to confuse and harass the quarterback. We’re going to generate turnovers and limit explosive plays. We’re going to play smart football. More games are lost than they are won and so we are going to pay attention to the things that can potentially get you beat, like penalties, mental errors and turnovers.” ★

BY AMY LONG
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Tucked at the end of a dead-end street, the Footbridge Garden feels cut off from the rest of the world. Stand in the middle of the lush plot with your eyes closed as the leaves of the fruit trees rustle in the breeze, and it’s easy to imagine that you’re the only soul for miles around.

That is, until the roar of a nearby Norfolk Southern freight train interrupts the reverie. Open your eyes to glimpse rows of trash and recycling bins perched along the alley and the magnificent dome of the Tippecanoe County Courthouse looming over downtown Lafayette, only a half-mile to the north, and you realize that the garden was not designed to be a remote retreat. It’s supposed to be accessible. Within reach. Open to all. In the center of town.

Welcome to Footbridge Garden, a verdant fruit and vegetable patch that’s part of a network of 10 sharing gardens in and around downtown Lafayette called GrowLocal. The grassroots group formed in 2015 with the goal of building, nourishing and nurturing community through urban gardening.

Each sharing garden in the GrowLocal network is open to the public. There’s no membership required, no entrance fee and no plots for rent. The garden’s bounty is available to whomever wants to stop by to harvest it. All that’s asked of those who partake is that they contribute a little sweat equity. A sign at the entrance says, simply, “Take what you need, pull a weed.”

“I think there are people who pick from the garden, and they do it specifically when we’re not here, because they’re not sure they should, or can,” says Margy Deverall, one of GrowLocal’s founders. “When we do stop people and talk to them, we say, ‘Do you live around here? Well, this is your garden, too! There are strawberries over there that need to be picked. Go ahead!’ And they’re surprised.”

Deverall and Ken McCammon, longtime friends and experienced community organizers, hatched the idea of GrowLocal about nine years ago as they brainstormed a way to share resources — including knowledge, experience and people power — across a couple of community gardens.

At the time, Deverall worked in economic development for the City of Lafayette. Part of her job included neighborhood outreach, so she started a small garden on an unused wedge of city property on Erie Street. McCammon, who worked for a seed company and had access to inexpensive vegetable transplants, had started a garden at a downtown church as part of his involvement in a local neighborhood association.

“We were talking, and it’s like, ‘You’ve got a garden. I’ve got a garden. There are probably other people that have gardens. Why don’t we put a call out and see if anybody’s interested in working together?’ ” McCammon recalls. Others responded to their call, and a small network started to grow. But the idea of a network of sharing gardens didn’t come up until Harry Smith joined the group. An experienced horticulturalist, Smith had started a sharing garden at his church, and he explained the concept to the group.

“I had never heard that expression before,” says Deverall. “When he said, ‘It’s just one big garden and anybody can come and help,’ well, we liked that idea!” Because she worked in economic development, Deverall recognized that most of the gardens in their growing network were in a food desert — an area defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as having a high rate of poverty, inadequate access to transportation, and a limited number of grocery stores offering fresh produce and healthy food.

“Based on census data, those are in low-income neighborhoods where we knew there was food insecurity,” Deverall says. “It seemed like this is where we just want to grow food, and anybody walking by who needs it can pick it.” The organization’s mission statement and core values — which include building community, enhancing quality of life, inspiring healthful attitudes and actions, and providing access to healthy food and resources — practically wrote themselves.

The organizational structure of the all-volunteer network is straightforward. A small team that includes Deverall, McCammon and Smith handles most of the administrative tasks, including fundraising (they simply launch an online crowdfunding campaign each fall), grant writing and purchasing supplies. McCammon is friendly with a grower and distributer who donates thousands of vegetable transplants each year, and the GrowLocal leaders distribute them across the network in the spring.

By design, GrowLocal does not have its own 501(c)3 designation. As president of Friends of Downtown, a well-established nonprofit organization that promotes the vitality of downtown Lafayette, McCammon tucked the urban garden network under his organization’s community-building umbrella and maintains a column for GrowLocal on its balance sheets.

“All we want to do is garden,” Deverall says. “We don’t want to mess around with paperwork.”

So, GrowLocal doesn’t own the plots of earth. Rather, the member organizations — places such as churches and community centers — own the land, and when they signed on with the network, they agreed to provide water, a garden manager and a pool of volunteers. When there’s work to be done, garden managers rally their troops — usually by posting on Facebook — and available workers show up to plant, water, weed, spread mulch and mark rows.

Footbridge Garden, at 244 Smith St. in Lafayette, is part of a larger tract of land that was left over after a railroad relocation project and eventually bequeathed to Habitat for Humanity of Lafayette, which partners with low-income families to build affordable homes. This particular lot — hemmed in by a pedestrian bridge that spans the nearby tracks and a narrow alley on the other side — cannot be developed because it lacks street frontage and access to utility lines. So, shortly after the garden network officially organized, Habitat leaders approached the folks at GrowLocal to offer their space — almost a third of an acre — as a garden.

“It’s truly an unused city lot that can’t be put to much other purpose,” says Smith, who volunteers as the garden manager there. “The property is still [owned by] Habitat. And they basically turned it over to us to garden.”

Mulched paths criss-cross the broad plot and separate the annual garden at one end — where crops like tomatoes, eggplants, carrots, okra, sweet peppers and summer squash grow in long rows — from the perennial garden — a jumble of berry bushes, and fruit and nut trees.

Janet Clift, who lives a half-mile from Footbridge Garden, says she spends about an hour a week there in the summer, weeding and harvesting. She says she’s active in the garden, not just because sharing food is a noble cause, but because building a community is important to her.

“People in the community come and experience gardening, even if they don’t do it at home,” Clift says. “Even if someone’s not comfortable with it, they can’t keep up with it, or they’re not going to maintain it all summer, they can come and participate. And then they get to eat fresh produce that was made right in their home town, right down the street from them. And it’s just so cool.”

After school starts in August, gaggles of second-graders from Miller Elementary School a few blocks away make their way to the garden for a literal field trip — part of a broader GrowLocal outreach plan.

“It’s 45 minutes of chaos,” Smith says. “We kind of learned after the first year that you don’t really plan any curriculum. The kids drive the curriculum. They start asking questions the minute they walk in.”

“They go to that school. That means they probably live nearby,” Deverall says. She encourages the kids to come back with their parents, or grandparents, and to show them that they can pick from the garden, too.

A challenge, of course, is that the garden is open to everyone at all hours, while a volunteer garden manager is only on-site a few hours per week. “You always expect that if you put something out that’s free and you don’t watch it, somebody’s going to come and take everything,” says Clift, the neighborhood volunteer. “I don’t know if it’s because there’s so much, but it feels like people don’t abuse it.” GrowLocal organizers say there have only been a few issues — though not with vandalism or abuse of the space. The biggest problems have been with well-intentioned gardeners harvesting a little too vigorously. A crop of asparagus, for example, was mowed down before the crowns could establish underground.

“That’s the challenge,” Deverall says. “The gardens are here all the time, and you’re not here to educate people. So how do you educate people?” GrowLocal organizers solved the problem by making signs that identify the produce, explain when to pick it, and offer QR codes with links to recipes.

Because GrowLocal organizers will never be able to fully preside over the gardens, they will never be able to know exactly how many people are benefiting from them, or how much food they are harvesting. Most philanthropic groups can carefully track the populations they serve and the metrics that propel their mission statements, but the folks at GrowLocal are only just starting to participate in studies that estimate crop yield and gauge the group’s socio-economic impact.

“We’re not there, yet. But we’re growing in that direction,” says Smith. Until then, he adds, “We can’t really say that so many thousands of pounds of produce went here or there. But if it’s disappearing, we’re happy.”  ★ 

BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS PROVIDED

Greater Lafayette offers several of Indiana’s finest golf courses. Thanks to the mild winter, the most avid golfers got a head start on the 2023 season.

A new year also brings changes to our seven courses, ranging from improving course and facility services to the Cherry Lane realignment project making an impact on availability at Purdue’s Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.

Battle Ground Golf Club

A new club professional, Jackson Hillard, is among the changes that have taken place since last fall.

Hillard brings a decade of experience to Battle Ground, most of it spent at the Highland Lake Golf Course in his hometown of Richmond, Indiana 

“Battle Ground had an amazing year last year, and I hope to be able to continue that trend,” Hillard says.

“While we are installing new cart path segments in the worst areas, we are also planting new trees and removing invasive ones. We have large plans to renovate our fescue/no mow areas with better seed to make the course a much smoother look.”

Battle Ground Golf Club opened on July 4, 1967, and resides on 160 acres neighboring Prophetstown State Park. It was the home of the Lafayette Country Club for nearly 50 years. While the original course design was by Robert Simmons, two decades ago the course underwent renovation under the guidance of world-renowned golf course architect Tim Liddy. 

The club’s course favors every level of golfer, with wide bent-grass fairways offering multiple target lines. Sizable greens and large surrounding areas leave open an array of possible shots from close range. Longer hitters will be challenged by thick rough and strategically placed bunkers. Water comes into play on three holes.

Five sets of tees allow the course to play from 5,100 to nearly 7,100 yards. Amenities include a putting green, a short game arena and a practice tee equipped with five target greens.

Information on daily fees and/or memberships can be found at golfbattleground.com.

Purdue Golf Course

Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex

It will be an unusual spring and summer season at the Purdue courses due to road construction.

The Ackerman-Allen course is open for public play, but access will be from Cherry Lane via Northwestern Avenue  and then taking a left onto Steven Beering Drive. A bag drop and operations trailer will be located between the golf course and Ross-Ade Stadium’s “R” lot.

Due to limited access and parking, the Kampen-Cosler Course is limited to Birck Boilermaker Golf Club members and members of the Purdue golf teams until further notice. Guests may play only when accompanied by a member.

Legendary golf course designer Pete Dye oversaw the creation of both courses. Ackerman-Allen is a par-72 championship golf course featuring large bent-grass greens and fairways. The challenges for golfers come from the rolling hills, tree-lined fairways, white sand bunkers and a few water hazards. Five sets of tees play from 5,300 yards to the championship tees playing more than 7,500 yards.

Rated one of the top collegiate courses in the nation, Kampen-Cosler has been awarded 4.5 stars on Golf Digest’s “Places to Play” and is ranked among the most difficult golf courses in Indiana.

It has been the site of the 2000 Men’s Big Ten Championship, the 2003 women’s NCAA Championship, the 2004 Indiana Open, the 2005 Women’s Western Amateur and the 2008 men’s NCAA Championship. 

When it’s open for public play, Kampen-Cosler challenges golfers of all experience levels. Vast sand bunkers, native grasslands, ponds and a natural celery bog lead up to large bent-grass greens. Five sets of tees offer a playing range from 5,300 to more than 7,400 yards.

To book a tee time, see rates and to get construction updates, visit purduegolf.com.

Coyote Crossing Golf Course in West Lafayette Indiana

Coyote Crossing

“GolfWeek” calls Coyote Crossing the sixth-best course you can play in Indiana, and for good reason, says Brent Wills, president/general manager/director of golf.

“The course’s creative layout through the natural terrain, the improved turf quality for ideal playing conditions, the relaxed, player-friendly atmosphere and the camaraderie within the large and growing membership is what makes Coyote Crossing Golf Club special,” Wills says. 

Coyote Crossing was the dream of local businessman Randy Bellinger, who teamed up with Hale Irwin Golf Design in 1998. The course opened on June 7, 2000. 

“Hale was fully involved from the design process through completion of construction of the course,” Wills says. “Coyote Crossing’s features epitomize Irwin’s design philosophy of incorporating two critical design elements: the existing environment and land planning objectives.”

Built on the rolling terrain around Burnett Creek and within the Winding Creek neighborhood, Coyote Crossing maintains much of the wildlife, native prairies, wetlands and forests while still challenging every club in a golfer’s bag.

A semi-private golf club since 2017, Coyote Crossing logged a record number of rounds played in January and February thanks to the mild winter. 

Mild temperatures also allowed director of grounds Mike Dunk and his crew to rebuild the 10 cart bridges as well as the four walking bridges on the course. Coyote Crossing has added a new fleet of 2023 EZGO Elite golf carts with just about every imaginable extra: comfortable premium seats, USB charging ports, windshields, sun canopies, rain covers for golf bags, sand bottles and beverage coolers.

Other improvements from the 2022 season include a revamped menu and food service at its restaurant/bar, the addition of fiber internet service at the clubhouse and a new floor installed in the pro shop.

Coyote Crossing is scheduled to host an IHSAA boys golf regional in June, the Indiana Girls State Championship in July and the Indiana Women’s Senior Golf Association state tournament. 

Annual memberships are available and daily greens fees begin at $49 for 18 holes, including a cart. Tee time reservations are available online at CoyoteCrossingGolf.com.

“We would like to invite you to experience everything that Coyote Crossing has to offer, whether it’s as a new member, for a fun round of golf, to enjoy a casual dining experience or to host a banquet or event,” Wills says. “We are certain that you will have a memorable experience and will want to return again and again.”

The Ravines

Originally a family farm that has been in the Ade family for nearly 150 years, The Ravines was conceived in early 1994 and opened in June of 1995.

“It’s been a financial rollercoaster ride for 28 years, but we’ve survived and are doing well,” Ed Ade says. “We offer a very good product at a very fair price. It’s a family business. We try our best to make a round of golf at The Ravines an enjoyable family experience.”

The course provides two different 9-hole styles. The front 9 is longer and more open, with water, sand traps and mounding in play. Golfers then are challenged by a tighter, shorter back 9 with deep ravines to play over and around.

“All in all, it’s a fun course to play for golfers of all abilities,” Ade says. 

Green fees have increased for 2023 due to increased costs for chemicals and fertilizer, as well as items inside the pro shop, Ade says. 

“We’ve tried to keep our green fees low throughout the years, raising the fees slightly if at all,” he says. “Our goal is to keep the course in an upscale condition yet keeping our prices low, a good value for the money.”

The Ravines is now offering online booking at golfravines.com, but Ade says golfers may still call 765-583-1550 or 765-497-PUTT (7888) for tee times.

Memberships also are available at The Ravines for golfers who want to play 25, 50, 75 or more times per year. The Ravines offers a clubhouse and pavilion that is available for weddings, company outings and other events.

“If you haven’t played The Ravines, give us a try,” Ade says. “We think you’ll enjoy your experience.”

Lafayette Country Club

The oldest golf course home in Greater Lafayette was founded from a simple question.

“Why doesn’t Lafayette have a golf course?” Purdue Athletic Director Hugh Nicol asked prominent Lafayette lawyer William V. Stuart in 1909.

Spurred by that question, Stuart teamed up with other prominent citizens to plan a family-friendly club complete with golf course and other recreations on what was once known as “Reynolds Pasture.” 

This information comes from “A History of the Lafayette Country Club – Celebrating Tradition, 1909-2009,” by Joanne P. Willis. 

Today, it’s not uncommon while driving on South Ninth Street to watch members play the 9-hole golf course. 

“The mild winter has allowed our members to get out for a few rounds without too much issue,” General Manager Alex Smith says. “With our course being smaller and since it has been here for so long, it’s not too tricky to get it ready to play. Our groundskeepers maintain it year-round, so we are usually ready to go when we have nice weather.”

The members-only facility also has a pool and tennis courts as well as a dining room. For information about joining the Lafayette Country Club or booking its facilities for weddings or other celebrations, visit lafayettecountryclub.net. 

West Lafayette Golf and Country Club

It’s been almost 10 years since The Elks Country Club became the West Lafayette Golf and Country Club.

At its longest, WLGCC is a par-71, 6,256-yard course. The course rating is 70.4, and it has a slope rating of 120 on rye/bluegrass/bent grass. 

In addition to winning a Reader’s Choice award from the Lafayette Journal & Courier, WLGCC has emphasized service to its members. The semi-private club also welcomes the public. Visit wlgcc.com to reserve tee times or to become a member.

WLGCC is home to club professional Joel Baumgardner’s Golf Academy (joelsgolfacademy.com), which provides clinics and instruction for all ages.

Be sure to check out the club’s “Annual Fabulous Fourth of July Celebration.” The family event is open to the public. 

WLGCC also has a scenic banquet facility that is available for wedding receptions, parties, professional gatherings, charity events and other festivities. For more information, contact Julie Schremp at 765-463-2332.  ★

BY KAT BRATZ
PHOTOS PROVIDED

Ask Tim Detzner what he loves about trees, and you can hear the smile in his voice. 

“So many things,” says Detzner, who retired as urban forester for the City of Lafayette in January. “I love watching them grow and seeing the different changes that take place. I love all the amazing services they provide for us. They clean carbon dioxide out of the air, provide oxygen for us to breathe, provide shade to lower temperatures, help reduce stormwater runoff and they add beauty to our surroundings. 

“There are so many things to love about trees.” 

Detzner worked at Purdue University for 34 years as lead arborist before taking the job as a city forester in 2017. He describes the role as a one-person position where the responsibilities largely include oversight and coordination of the planting and maintenance of street trees throughout the city. 

“A city forester has to consider the urban conditions that affect species selection,” Detzner says. “There’s an awful lot of concrete around these trees, so you want to plan trees that will handle the city environment better than others, such as narrow trees that can grow and thrive without interfering with the buildings and sidewalks around them.” 

The city frequently collaborates with Tree Lafayette, a nonprofit organization that has planted trees around the city since its founding in 1993. 

“Tree Lafayette has planted more than 4,000 trees over the past three decades,” says Larry Rose, tree committee chair for Tree Lafayette. “We only have one planet to live on and we’d better take care of it. Trees help slow down climate change, produce much of the rain and clean the air. We encourage an urban forest for so many reasons.” 

One of the city’s largest tree planting projects took place in 2022 when scores of volunteers helped plant 150 trees in honor of the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. The trees were planted along Underwood Street in north Lafayette. The first 66 trees were planted in the spring and the remaining 84 were planted in the fall. In recognition of the community’s efforts, the International Society of Arboriculture recognized Lafayette with the Harry J. Banker Gold Leaf Award for outstanding Arbor Day activities.   

Lafayette has achieved Tree City USA recognition for 30 straight years by meeting the program’s four requirements: forming a tree board or department; creating a tree-care ordinance; designating an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita; and observing Arbor Day with a city proclamation.

In 2022, Lafayette was one of only 138 cities across the globe to earn the designation of Tree Cities of the World. To be recognized, a city must meet core standards that illustrate a commitment to caring for its trees and urban forest on a higher level.  

“Lafayette is very proud to receive these tree designation awards after many months and years of work by so many individuals and groups,” stated Mayor Tony Roswarski in an April 2022 press release. “Through our work with the City’s Urban Forester and other city departments, I’m excited to announce that we have a goal to plant over 1,000 trees in Lafayette over the next five years that will play an integral part in the work of the Greater Lafayette Climate Action Plan. We have a responsibility to combat climate change and I want to thank our partners of Tree Lafayette, SIA, Duke Energy, Center Pointe Energy, Tipmont REMC and the Lafayette Tree Advisory Committee for all their support over the years in making a difference in our community’s environmental footprint. By working together, we can make Lafayette greener.”

The work to plant more trees throughout the city will continue, but it will continue without Detzner. 

After 45 years of tree care in Tippecanoe County, Detzner moved to South Carolina earlier this year to enjoy his retirement.  ★

PHOTOS AND STORY BY TIM BROUK

Whether it’s for a rhymable month, years, or just a day, a downtown Lafayette shop is giving former and current beer, wine and liquor drinkers an alternative.  

Since its opening last October, Generation NA, 504 Main St., supplies non-alcoholic (NA) beer, seltzers, wines and spirits such as zero-alcohol whiskies, gins and rums to a clientele that likes to balance hard liquor with a non-alcoholic drink or those that have put down the hard stuff for years but miss the hoppy taste of a well-crafted IPA or mixing a classic cocktail. The shop that also features a casual lounge with old-school arcade games has quickly gained momentum, matching national trends in sober drinking.

“Like red meat or processed foods, people are more mindful about what they put in their bodies,” says Rob Theodorow, Generation NA owner, “beverage curator and hype man.” 

“I think people will be surprised. I’ve seen a lot of people that can’t quite process it when they first have an NA beer — ‘That tastes like a real beer.’ They almost can’t believe it.”

Generation NA was the first shop of its kind in Indiana when it opened. A few months later, a similar shop was established in Carmel, Theodorow says.

In 2022, Nielsen calculated non-alcoholic beer sales in the United States at $328.6 million, up 19.5% from 2021. Globally, the non-alcoholic market is valued at $11 billion, up from $8 billion in 2018, according to Forbes.

Theodorow and media outlets point to the COVID-19 pandemic as a possible motivator for stronger sales. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported sales of alcohol increased in 2020 by 2.9%, the largest annual increase in more than 50 years. Deaths involving alcohol jumped 25.5%, totaling almost 100,000 deaths. Drinkers shifting to non-alcoholic brews is believed to be an after-effect.

Theodorow, also CEO for SFP, a downtown Lafayette web and media production company, noticed a burgeoning market soon after he stopped drinking alcohol two years ago. He invested in several regional breweries and distilleries that provided non-alcoholic products to fuel pop-up sales in his downtown office. Each sale brought in dozens of customers. When the space on Main Street became available, he swooped in, and Generation NA opened in less than a week. 

More than O’Douls

Generation NA boasts numerous shelves brimming with cans of non-alcoholic brews. Some recommendations from Theodorow: Athletic Brewing, CERIA and Mash Gang. 

The coolers also are stocked with more brews, as well as water and seltzer alternatives. Liquid Death’s canned waters are popular and refreshing. Some products are enhanced by CBD, adaptogens such as lemon balm, kava and ashwagandha, and even “functional mushrooms” such as lion’s mane, reishi and shiitake. These give a relaxing feeling while still staying safe and Indiana legal.

 “These can help you unwind but also have health benefits like lowering blood sugar and pressure,” says Theodorow, adding that while his shop is all-ages, customers must be 21 or older to purchase anything. 
Most big-name breweries have dipped a toe or two into non-alcoholic products. Pabst Blue Ribbon, Budweiser Zero and Coors Edge were all recently launched. Theodorow says Stella Artois’ take tastes the most like the original product. However, there are hundreds of craft brewers who are creating beers most could not tell the difference at first sip.
Theodorow smiled when he revealed his bold entry in the annual Wines on the Wabash event. Of course, he brought all non-alcoholic vintages — some of which fooled even the most sophisticated of palates. 
“They had to look at the bottle because they didn’t believe me that it was alcohol-free,” Theodorow says.
 
‘Very, very close’
Federal law states a non-alcoholic beer is allowed to have up to .5% alcohol. This is due to some alcohol being essential for the product tasting like beer as opposed to hoppy water. Some brews go down to .3% and others go absolute zero, but regardless, that splash of alcohol goes a long way in the flavor department.
“NA beer has come a long way,” Theodorow says. “The mouthfeel and body is on the lighter side sometimes, but we’re 95 to 99% there when people can’t tell between a .3% beer and an 8% beer. We’re very, very close.
“It’s all about the ritual. You come home from work; you have a beer — whether that beer has .5% or 5% (alcohol content), it’s irrelevant. They just want that beer and flavor.”
Zero-alcohol liquors are a bit different. These contain, yes, zero alcohol but still have a bite and burn that hard liquors contain. However, most no-alcohol whiskeys are yet to taste like traditional whiskey. But, Theodorow says most of his customers that do purchase such bottles use them as mixers. Concocting a Manhattan or an old-fashioned with zero-alcohol whiskeys produces a better drink than just straight neat.
“If that technology improves to where someday you can drink a glass of non-alcoholic bourbon or whiskey side-by-side with a Maker’s Mark or Jack Daniels or any of the bourbons or whiskeys that are out there, that’s when I think even more people will be on board,” Theodorow says.
 
NA on tap
In January, Generation NA became one of the first shops in the United States to feature a tap system, Theodorow says. The keg came from Lafayette’s own People’s Brewing Company. The local brewery had been eyeing the non-alcoholic beer rise, too. People’s owner Chris Johnson started developing a .5% American pale ale (APA) in 2022 after attending one of Theodorow’s pop-up sales.
“It kept popping up in our trade magazines as something that was coming — NA in general. This is something we should keep the finger on the pulse. We might want to give this a try,” Johnson recalls. “I’ve been brewing commercially for 22 years, and I’ve never done anything like this — trying to make a beer that didn’t have alcohol. We learned a lot, but ultimately we were happy in how it turned out.”  
It was only natural for Johnson to work with Theodorow to get the new beer into the public’s hands. Since the brew is on-draft at the People’s tasting room, a keg and tap system was installed. Now customers can enjoy a pint while shopping, or they can take home a growler.
“It’s really light-bodied. In order to not get a lot of alcohol, we had to use a small amount of malt, which also gives you the body. We used cascade hops, a very traditional pale ale hop. It’s going to be hoppy but not like an IPA,” Johnson explains.
Johnson is thrilled to work with another local business. His brews for Nine Irish Brothers (Nine Irish Red Ale), Purdue University (Boiler Gold and Boiler Black) and St. Boniface (St. Boniface GermanFest) are all among the brewery’s top sellers.
“We’re going to keep doing the NA moving forward. We’ve had a great response so far. It’s definitely been positive. People are really excited that we are getting into it and working on it to begin with,” Johnson says. “Ultimately, we’d like to get it into a package to be able to get it out to (Generation NA) and other stores, bars, restaurants and whatnot.”

Return customers

A couple recent visits saw steady customer flow and Theodorow behind the People’s tap pouring several samples and pints. Remember, Greater Lafayette’s blue collar and collegiate crowds have spilled more beer than most other cities of similar size can drink. Still, Generation NA is cutting through like Pedialyte to a hangover.

Ryan Pritchett sipped on a pint of People’s non-alcoholic APA while shopping for a six-pack and a growler to go. The Rossville man says he quit drinking alcohol eight years ago, but he still missed sipping on craft brews, especially from People’s. 

“I’ve always liked the taste of beer, but I always thought the only option was O’Doul’s,” Pritchett says. “The variety here is unparalleled, probably better than anywhere in the country.”

Lafayette’s Joel Calabrese and Morgan Welker also had non-alcoholic beer and a six-pack of canned zero-alcohol gin and tonic drinks. The young couple enjoy mock cocktails at home while they cut back on alcohol consumption for 2023.

“We like beer, and we don’t really like pop so (non-alcoholic) beer fills that niche when you want something bubbly while cutting alcohol out,” Calabrese says. “We’re huge fans of this place.”

Welker concurs. “There are so many options, tons of different stuff to try. Compared to beer, you can’t really tell.” 

Theodorow says his shop attracts out of town customers, most of whom are passing through Lafayette via I-65 or they drove from out of state specifically for Generation NA. Chicago, Cincinnati, and even California are the most common addresses he sees on visitors’ identification. Most are in the area on travel or vacation and find Generation NA online.

“I really wanted to make this a destination place for Lafayette,” Theodorow says. “I want people to come here as a destination. I want this to be something that can’t be replicated.”  ★

Learn more about Generation NA at na.beer online. Enjoy free tastings every Friday.

BY JILLIAN ELLISON
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV AND VISIT LAFAYETTE-WEST LAFAYETTE

Few events throughout the year offer signs of better weather ahead than the first farmers markets of the season. Starting the first week of May, farmers markets hosted in downtown Lafayette, in West Lafayette’s Cumberland Park and on Purdue University’s campus will pick back up to a warm welcome.

Brittany Matthews, events director for Greater Lafayette Commerce, says regular goers shouldn’t expect many changes to the Lafayette or Purdue markets, both run by Greater Lafayette Commerce. The 2022 expansion of the historic Lafayette market’s footprint along Fifth Street, growing from the intersections of Columbia and Main streets farther north to Ferry Street, proved to be a great success, with the market nearly at its 40-vendor capacity just two months before kickoff.

“We are always open to new vendors joining the market, provided we have the space,” Matthews says. “We have had some inquiries from potential new vendors, but no specifics have been laid out just yet.”

A few vendors popular among market goers will be returning to the Purdue and downtown markets for 2023, Matthews says, including: RDM Farms, an aquaculture farm operation specializing in shrimp production; Maggie’s Kitchen, a local caterer crafting West African cuisine; and The Vegan Cheese Lady, an artisan dairy-free cheesemaker based in Lafayette.

While Lafayette’s 184-year-old market has experienced growth, the market held on Purdue’s Memorial Mall each season is limited in how much bigger it can grow.

“We would love to see the campus market continue to grow, and we are working on some ideas to make that happen,” Matthews says. “The challenge that market faces isn’t necessarily space within the mall’s footprint, but more of parking challenges and electricity options.”

All vendors who participate in the Purdue market are participants in the downtown Lafayette market, Matthews explains, but not the other way around. During the 2022 market season, a wait list was created for vendors interested in getting into the campus market, proving to the planning team the need for some creative thinking in ways to expand its layout.

The Lafayette market, whose presenting partner is Subaru of Indiana Automotive, sees participation from vendors traveling from 10 surrounding counties, making it a true Greater Lafayette event. Despite growing pains, Matthews says the feedback her teams receive from both markets is overwhelmingly positive. 

“The markets are a staple to the community and serve as a place where attendees can experience culture and source locally grown and made products,” she says. “The markets are so well received that the McAllister Center in Lafayette hosted a winter market this year to allow market goers to have a winter outlet.”

 

Visitors can expect the same hours during this year’s season as well, with Lafayette’s market hosting Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., while Purdue hosts on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., from May to October.

For shoppers looking for a weeknight market fix, the West Lafayette market has your answer. This pet-friendly market offers 60 vendors, says market manager Shelly Foran, with an array of produce, meats, dairy, plants and flowers, along with jewelry, baked goods, crafts and wine by the glass; area restaurants and food trucks serve up take-out options. The market, located at Cumberland Park, runs 3:30-7 p.m. each Wednesday from May through October. 

Matthews says no plans are in place to expand the Lafayette market’s hours further into the afternoon, as wrapping up by 12:30 p.m. ensures the city is able to host other downtown events and festivals that require Saturday setup.

“Our vendors work hard to grow and expand their offerings to keep things fresh and engaging for market attendees,” Matthews says. “We are always hoping to continue to grow the market with new vendors and new ideas, which make the experience better for both attendees as well as our regular vendors.”

After a long winter spent inside, Matthews says few things help shake off the feeling of cold weather for her than the opportunity to walk around Greater Lafayette’s busiest hubs and interact with her community face to face.

“I love the open air feel the markets offer,” she says. “It is so much fun to walk the footprint, listening to music, sourcing fresh flowers and veggies along with unique homemade items. We are really looking forward to two great market seasons.”

Foran agrees, adding the West Lafayette market has a number of new attractions this year. “We’re very excited about the coming season.”  ★

BY TIM BROCK 
FOR BASED IN LAFAYETTE
PHOTOS VIA MASS GIORGINI,
BY NEIL HITZE

This story originally appeared in August 2022 in Based in Lafayette, an independent local reporting project published by Dave Bangert. 

Before I moved to Indiana as a 22-year-old, the only things I knew about Lafayette were that it had a delicious Indian restaurant (Bombay, RIP), and some of my favorite records were created at Sonic Iguana Studios, which I envisioned as a magical and almost mythical punk rock Mecca.

Just weeks after moving into a meager apartment at Sixth and Hartford streets, imagine my elation when an old band buddy from Missouri, Matt Bug, called me to see if I wanted to meet Mass Giorgini, the producer extraordinaire behind such anthemic punk releases as Screeching Weasel’s “Wiggle” and Rise Against’s “The Unraveling.” It was an amazing early experience of being a new Hoosier as I geeked out over meeting the bassist of Squirtgun, touring the studios, and eating pizza at a long-since-closed Noble Roman’s with Giorgini, Bug and the Groovie Ghoulies, who were about to start a recording session that weekend.

Twenty-two years later, the Indiana punk rock legend and his young family — wife Leah Giorgini and young children, Giovanni and Aria — moved to Rome in July 2022, where Mass Giorgini will be close to his familial roots and relatives. 

It’s bittersweet to live here without Giorgini and the bragging rights of being in a town with a recording studio — that unmistakable red concrete block building on Kossuth Street — where so many punk rock heroes created amazing sounds. Giorgini will be taking his music and studio projects with him to Italy — as well as his affinity for Lafayette.

“It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Giorgini said, “and I shall forever be holding Lafayette in a beautiful spot in my heart.”

Giorgini’s mixing and mastering equipment is already overseas as Sonic Iguana’s audio legacy will continue. Giorgini revealed the existence of new Squirtgun demos, his band that played around the world since 1994. 

Before appearing on MTV and the “Mallrats” soundtrack, Giorgini cut his teeth in the 1980s punk act Rattail Grenadier, which he formed with his younger brother Flav Giorgini. He then opened Spud Zero, an all-ages venue that ran from 1987 to 1988. The small club, once located at 1600 Main St. in the Five Points area, lives in the punk history books as one of only 28 venues that hosted Operation Ivy during the influential ska-punk band’s first and only national tour. In the ‘90s, Giorgini transitioned to recording and producing punk rock bands. Before the Kossuth location, Sonic Iguana had a busy stint in the 1990s near Fifth and Main streets.

No matter where in the world he resides, the Lafayette/Giorgini legacy will live on through the nearly 400 records he recorded, mixed and/or mastered, an incredible portfolio that only pales in comparison to Giorgini’s unwavering passion for his hometown of Lafayette.

Question: Why are you moving to Italy?

Mass Giorgini: My hope is that this move will give my children a similar cultural and linguistic experience to the one I had growing up between Lafayette and northern Italy. My own Italian upbringing was primarily in a smaller city — not unlike Lafayette in some ways — but I also spent a significant amount of time in Torino, which is a larger, industrial metropolitan center. Rome is not exactly the same — it’s an entirely unique place — but at least the language is the same, and we will be within driving distance of my parents’ hometowns and can visit with relatives on holidays. 

Q: What is the future of Squirtgun?

Mass Giorgini: Squirtgun will pick back up soon enough. We had gotten to the point where our latest lineup was regularly doing a few shows per year in various locations, but the pandemic threw us for a loop and took the wind out of our sails. We have several demos for new songs ready, and our goal is to record some of those properly before planning more live appearances. I may get involved in some local performing among my dear musician friends in Rome, but I don’t plan for it to become a primary element of my time in Italy.

Q: Does this move make for more time to see your brother, Flav?

Mass Giorgini: This move absolutely means I’ll get to spend more time with my baby brother. As he lives in Leicester, England, we will be within a few hours of each other. Even better, flights in Europe are very affordable. It’s pretty common to get round-trip airfare from one country to the other for around a hundred bucks. That’s more like a local Greyhound bus ticket over here.

Q. Now that things have reopened during the last year, what does Lafayette-West Lafayette need to do to get its live music scene stronger? 

Mass Giorgini: I truly believe it goes back to the idea that there needs to be a regularly operating all-ages venue. … All major concert venues are all-ages. You don’t hear of an over-21-only show at Wembley Stadium or Madison Square Garden. The simple reason is that the draw is not supposed to be the choice of beverages, but the performance. If a venue exists with music as it’s raison d’être, then the audience will primarily go there for the music. With that focus, people will leave the venue and talk about the bands they saw, the songs they heard, the new sounds and styles they witnessed being created in front of them. 

The Lafayette area is actually quite fortunate to have fairly regular shows, often featuring some major underground forces from around the Midwest. Between The Spot (Tavern), the shows put on by Friends of Bob and Mom & Pop Productions and the various venues who less regularly put on shows, it’s been exciting to see that there is still the will to promote and attend shows — despite the pandemic. That said, there is a real need for an all-ages venue. The level of enthusiasm of under-21 audiences is unmatched by even the most diehard groups of adults. Those audiences are the ones who will determine the Nirvanas or Green Days of the future — both of those bands having been born of the scene of playing small DIY shows across the country. 

It would be simple to open an all-ages venue — and it could easily be community-funded. Importantly, it would not only serve as a venue to see artists perform, but also as a means to inspire young audiences to generate their own creative output, whether musical or otherwise. From a community perspective, it would also provide a safe environment for younger audiences, rather than having them seek improvised concerts at off-campus parties, often including unsupervised distribution of alcohol. 

Q: What are some tips for young 
musicians wanting to start a band, punk or otherwise?

Mass Giorgini:  Your No. 1 motivator should always be your music. It’s easy to get carried away with things like where you are performing, your placement on the bill and who the “headliner” is, how many people attend the shows or how many records or T-shirts you sell. The truth is that ultimately none of that matters. It’s the music you share and its impact on you and your audience that is ultimately the most important part of the entire journey.

Q: What do you tell people from Europe about Lafayette-West Lafayette, music or otherwise?

Mass Giorgini:  Believe it or not, Lafayette is brought up to me often by interviewers and music fans the world over. Because so much of the pop punk music scene internationally centered on albums I produced here, there is a belief that Greater Lafayette is a hotbed of pop punk bands, venues and record stores. The truth is that this area is quite varied in its musical interests, and we are no more pop-punk focused a city than most university towns. Despite that, it can’t be denied that Lafayette holds a special place in the history of the development of pop punk, and I am very proud to have been an integral part of that.

 Q: If you had to just pick a few, what are your favorite Lafayette memories, musical or not?

Mass Giorgini: I still recall the Lafayette alternative music scene of the ’80s very fondly. From the birth of the Freakshow Bungalow on South Chauncey (Avenue), to the surprise appearance of the Dead Milkmen at a trailer park, to the extraordinary year of shows at Spud Zero, and the heavily attended shows put on at the old Morton School and other venues on the eve of the millennium’s final decade, it was a highly vibrant and creative period in Lafayette music. Those were the halcyon days, the golden age, and bands including the Atomic Clock, the Bored Cops and the Disease were the knights in shining armor who enriched and acculturated the music milieu of this area.

Q: What kind of impact do you think you’ve made in Lafayette since the Rattail years?

Mass Giorgini: I’d like to think that the many shows I set up in the ’80s and ’90s featuring top-quality bands, some of which ended up being influential on the world stage, enriched the local artistic environment. It certainly encouraged the involvement of a much larger youth segment in the arts. 

When everything is considered, however, the studio may well be where I have left my biggest mark. A lot of the sound I tried to achieve has now become a de rigueur characteristic of melodic rock music at the level of the major labels, which I find rather ironic. The entire movement was trying to give a voice to the voiceless, a unique sound for a new generation that did not find itself represented in the mainstream. It was at least in part defined by its opposition to the status quo — and hearing it meant listening to the screams of the underground. Yet, now it is the sound of the institution, the establishment, and while the tonalities might tempt your ear, there is less and less certainty that the voice you hear is from like-minded folks of a similar ethical character. 

Still, I am proud of my role in the creation of that sound as an artistic movement, and I love even more that when the name “Lafayette” is brought up in discussions of punk music around the world, the first thing mentioned is Sonic Iguana Studios. 

Q: You’ve helped represent Lafayette punk rock so well since the ‘80s. What made you want to carry that mantle throughout the decades?

Mass Giorgini: When I say I love punk, I mean that for both the freedom of expression it represents and its focus on civil rights and the ending of oppression. But that’s not all — with the wave that began in the U.S. in the late-‘70s, it also began to emphasize the DIY development of an underground network independent of mainstream media and major label distribution. That meant bands started recording and releasing their own music and selling it directly to fans through mail order, and this was long before the internet. The same happened with the live music circuit — fans began renting VFW halls and community centers and putting on their own shows.

In that context, it simply always felt natural to me to promote the growth of a music scene where I live. In the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams,” the mantra “Build it and they will come” is repeated several times. I suppose one could argue that that is exactly what I did starting a few years before the film — I opened a venue, and both internationally renowned bands and local fans came to Spud Zero. Sonic Iguana Studios was simply a repetition of that on a grander scale.

★ ★ ★

While we’re here, time for one more story?

In a different timeline, Mass Giorgini moves to California to be Green Day’s recording engineer. He recalled:

Mass Giorgini: In 1995, I co-produced an album with Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. The band was the Riverdales, who had recently formed from the ashes of the recently dissolved (for perhaps the third time) Screeching Weasel. We tracked the music and vocals in Lafayette at Sonic Iguana Studios — the second location, downtown on Fifth Street — and added overdubs and mixed in Berkeley (California) at a studio I helped Billie build. Following that partnership, Billie and Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt (who had worked with me prior when I produced him in another of his bands, and also performed guest vocals on the debut Squirtgun album) proposed that I become the head engineer and studio manager for a recording facility they planned to build. Of course, that would have required me to move to California, and I simply was not emotionally prepared to leave Lafayette and my house. My father had passed away in late ‘94 and abandoning the family home just wasn’t something I was willing to do. So, I turned them down and one of my assistant engineers, who I trained right here in Lafayette, went out and filled the position. 

It was partly my deep attachment to this town that kept me from making that major career jump — but I don’t regret it. Lafayette has been very good to me in many ways, especially as far as friendships and staying close to the memories of my parents. Coincidentally, Billie Joe Armstrong has recently gotten in touch with his Italian roots and has purchased a home in Italy. Although there are no specific current plans, I can predict I’ll be meeting up with Green Day in Italy at some point in the near future. As it so happens, when I was in Rome for a few months in 2019, Mike put me in touch with his daughter Estelle, who was in the Eternal City with a student group, and we went to dinner and strolled for hours together for three evenings in a row. It was very nice getting to know her better, as the last time I had seen her she was still in diapers.

Ultimately, it seems that while Green Day were not able to lure me away from Lafayette to Berkeley, Rome has a much stronger pull. As both my parents were from Italy, my first language was Italian, and I spent many years bouncing between the old country and Lafayette, it seems that the right combination of ingredients was finally able to get me to move away. However, 

I must emphasize, my intention is for this to be a three-year experience and then return to my beloved Lafayette. I guess in the long run I have been able to have my Rome and Green Day, too.”  ★ 

BY KATHY MATTER
PHOTO BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

John Hughey could sense a hint of nervousness in his interviewer’s voice as the conversation took an unexpected turn away from the Long Center for the Performing Arts – where Hughey was seeking the position of executive director — to another performing space a block away called the Lafayette Theater.

It was 2019 and Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski wanted the city to buy the deteriorating theater space. It would also be run by the person chosen for the executive director’s job.

“Would you still be interested?” he remembers being asked. 

Would he?  Feeling an adrenalin rush of enthusiasm, Hughey immediately responded in the positive. “I think I’m more interested. Not less.”

Running the Long Center with attention-grabbing national acts such as country artist Scottie McCreary and Master Chef Junior Live, overseeing a five-year renovation at the Lafayette Theater while booking small local shows there, and having sellouts at the first two shows at Loeb Stadium, Hughey seems to be in the right place at the right time.

Before Hughey, who was a resident of Fort Wayne and involved with the leadership of the Embassy Theater there when he was hired, the executive directors of the Long Center had all come from Tippecanoe County. But the job, which expanded to the Lafayette Theater in 2019 and to Loeb Stadium in 2022, was tailor-made for Hughey’s skill set.

 “I’m not a performer but I’ve always been involved in live theater,” he recalls. The “seeds” of interest in booking and managing shows were planted during his high school days when he booked a Canadian acrobatic troupe and later an illusionist for benefit performances at Indiana Academy in Cicero. Dealing with agents led to handling hospitality, recruiting ushers and all the things the shows required.

 There was no magic leap to theater management, however. Hughey majored in journalism at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, which led him to newspaper jobs in Bedford and Bloomington, Indiana. Going for a master’s in journalism at Indiana University (with a concentration in arts administration), he started freelancing for the Indianapolis Star. He was covering the creation of the Palladium Theater in Carmel when the employment bubble burst at the Star and he got caught up in newsroom staff reductions.

It was then the magic happened. 

His dealings with the Palladium management led to Hughey being hired as an arts marketer for Carmel’s grand new performance hall. 

“The Palladium gave me a chance to thrive. I never thought I’d be on the same stage as Willy Nelson and Yo Yo Ma.” But he was. And he made things happen. When Yo Yo Ma expressed an interest in recording a digital single on the spot in the hall’s perfect acoustics, Hughey happily facilitated it.

His next stop as a marketer was the older and larger Embassy in Fort Wayne, where his charge was to up the already healthy show sales. And he did. The itch to take the next step – executive director — and oversee everything, including the always challenging job of fundraising, led him to the Long Center position. 

With the pandemic on his tail as he moved to Lafayette, Hughey says, “I was so impressed with how we managed that.” One inventive use of the Long Center was to hold jury selection there because it offered the space for potential jurors to be socially distant and a stage for interviews.

“Giving back the quality that Mayor Roswarski wants to build here,” is Hughey’s mandate. “We want people to get excited about new ventures.” Everything, including the weather, went perfectly for the new concert ventures at Loeb Stadium in 2022. “My takeaway is how many complaints I get after a show. There were zero formal complaints, which I took as a compliment that people really enjoyed the shows.  

“And we pulled in 1,000 people who had never bought a ticket from us before.”

The key to making the Long Center financially stable is a mix of three things:  the 12 shows that Hughey recommends for the Long Center Presents series; rental clients; and resident performing groups such as the Lafayette Symphony. “We’ve done really well with comedy shows with Netflix driving that (popularity of individual comedians),” he says. The stage will likely see more country music shows in the future as well.

 Local musicians who had used the Lafayette Theater stage in the past were worried about being homeless with Hughey’s arrival. It turned out to be a false worry. When Mayor Roswarski came up with money for badly needed new entrance doors for the Lafayette Theater, Hughey created the “New Doors Series” offering six performances in the fall, and again in the spring, where local musicians – think Sheeza, Graciously Departed, The Distance — and standup comedians are paid to put on a show. 

“There is no list of people who can or can’t play in our facilities,” Hughey emphasizes.

Updating the Long Center’s main floor concession space and adding a new one on the balcony level are on his immediate to do list. 

 Overall, Hughey wants all the performance elements to work together to make memories. “The experience of bringing family and friends together for a show is transformational,” he says. “The memories you’re making can last a lifetime. That’s the business we’re really in – making memories!”  ★

BY KATHY MATTER
PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Who or what do the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette and the Boy Scouts of America have in common?

The answer to this puzzler lies in the upbeat personality of Chris McCauley, recently hired in a regional search for the executive director’s position at the Art Museum.

McCauley fits the scout motto of “Be Prepared,” which means one is always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do one’s duty. And after eight years of “doing his duty” on the organizational level of the Boy Scouts of America, most recently as the district director for the Algonquin and Pioneer Trails Districts of LaSalle Council of BSA, he brings a polished skill set to a different venue in 2022 – the arts.

If you’re having a hard time imagining the connection between starting campfires and preserving, growing and exhibiting consequential art works, it helps to know that McCauley’s not-so-secret passion lies in creating art.

“I love oil painting,” he professes, but that’s not the only art form that captures his attention. There’s woodworking that he learned from his grandfather and dad, photography, mixed media and visual design as well as poetry, songwriting and screenplays. Oh, and he did teach a class in basket weaving to the scouts.

Raised in the tiny farming community of West Branch, Michigan, almost three hours north of Detroit, McCauley had little access to art outside of books, which he devoured. His family’s values were high on social justice, and thinking outside the box was encouraged — two things that shaped his career path in the long run.

“It was an eclectic path,” he says. “As a kid I loved Frank Lloyd Wright and kept drawing terrible A-frame houses with a river underneath. I thought, ‘This is not it’.”  Community college classes opened his eyes to a variety of art forms and at Ferris State University he ended up majoring in graphic design and marketing. One particular professor introduced him to art history and the impact of modern artists. “I just ate it up,” he recalls.

As he thought about careers, “I really wanted to make an impact, more than just myself.” Life took him first to Maurer Publishing where he put his degree skills to work. That desire to make an impact led him to join Kiwanis, the Lions and other community focused organizations. It led him to scouting as well.

He worked at leadership levels in the scouts for eight years, and his main duties included membership growth, volunteer engagement and recruitment, fundraising and community engagement. McCauley’s duties extended to advanced project management, leading teams of volunteers in developing and implementing plans for growth. He was also in charge of multiple special events or campaigns throughout his years there.

Just as he was getting the itch to move in a new direction, he saw the job posting for the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette. What McCauley discovered during the interview process was a museum that was financially sound, had an impressive collection, an active board; a museum that had benefited greatly from informed leadership provided by Kendall Smith, Mona Berg and others. But everyone saw a need for younger leadership going forward.

“There was no one in the wings. They needed to bring in people to curate the next generation, to hand down the knowledge, passion and love for the museum,” he says. 

“Providing that next generation of commitment is a huge piece of what I want to do.”     

Although he and his wife, Kate, have been here less than six months, McCauley says, “Lafayette has a collective consciousness that makes it a wonderful place to be. We found a niche here right away.” 

Reaching out and making connections throughout the community tops his to-do list. Beyond that he’d like to see the museum “bustling with activity” by expanding class offerings – ones with appeal to a younger generation such as tattoo design, digital animation, henna, set design – along with a new look at workshops and artist talks. And at the same time, he’d like to take art outside the museum walls. “I want the community to have touch points with art, make installations out and about in the community.

For the first time in 2022, the Art Museum served as coordinator for a favorite community festival, Art on the Wabash. McCauley feels it imperative to build on that and find more ways for the museum to give back to the community and enhance the quality of life in Greater Lafayette.

Making sure the museum continues to be a place where diverse voices can be heard and celebrated is also important to him. “I want to drown out any voices that say, ‘We don’t want you here’.”

Former director Kendall Smith gave birth to the idea of building an expanded museum campus on the banks of the Wabash River in West Lafayette. That goal will move to the back burner for a couple years while McCauley enthusiastically builds support. 

 “I want there to be a community outcry for a new museum,” he says. “That’s a really big moment for the community, and we’ll be ready when the time is right.” ★ 

PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Lafayette’s annual Christmas Parade was held on Saturday, December 3, in downtown Lafayette. More than 100 groups participated in the parade, including schools, businesses, service organizations and community leaders. The parade made its way down Main Street from 11th to Second Street, and the route was packed with festive parade goers dressed for the holiday celebration and the cold December temperatures. The parade’s big names — 

Santa and Mrs. Claus — welcomed the crowds and spread holiday cheer as they kicked off the unofficial start to the holiday season.

BY KATHY MATTER
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

In bright pink script neon, high on the wall of Mary Lou Donuts’ new eastside Lafayette flagship store, four words say it all:

Eat more hole foods

In the friendly but competitive world of donut baking in Greater Lafayette everyone — from Cassidy Kitchel, who makes gluten-free and vegan donuts at Rose Market in downtown Lafayette to Debbie and Tom Corlew, who quietly run the area’s second oldest, and very traditional, donut shop on Veterans Memorial Parkway — agrees on that adage.

While donuts of varying types, and freshness, can be found in pretty much every gas station, convenience store and food market plus national donut chains, area pastry lovers loyally seek out and abundantly support the Corlew Donut Company, Hammer Donuts, Mary Lou Donuts and Rose Market in Lafayette and The Homestead in West Lafayette.

Chances are good there’s at least one name on this list you’ve never heard of, so let’s meet these folks. And when you’re done reading this, put these stops on your morning calendar. Nothing tastes better than donuts and cider in the fall!

Stop 1: Corlew Donut Company

Make this stop one because while you’re on the southside you can also pick up cider at locally owned Wea Creek Orchard, 5618 S. 200 East.

Tom Corlew, the shy baking genius behind the donuts here, prefers for his wife, Debbie, to do the talking. You might be shy too if you spent every night, six nights a week from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. by yourself making donuts. 

“He’s 65 and started baking as a teenager. It’s all he’s ever done,” Debbie says. Originally, he worked for Payless in Anderson as a baker, then was asked to move to Lafayette to manage baking production at Payless stores here. “It’s a lot of hard work. You’ve got to know what you’re doing. Donut baking is a skill,” she says.

In 1999 Tom and Debbie decided to open their own southside Lafayette bakery. They’ve never advertised, but word of mouth brings in a steady stream of people. “Our donuts speak for themselves,” says Debbie. “The southside is booming and our business just keeps getting bigger.

“Our donuts are fresh every day. We don’t sell day-old donuts and we never freeze them. You can’t freeze donuts and make them taste good.”

Every night anywhere from 70 to 140 dozen donuts and pastries roll out of Tom’s kitchen. Weekends draw the most customers through the doors of this true mom and pop operation. Debbie, Tom and son Thomas do it all. After most of the donuts are baked, Debbie comes in at 3:30 a.m. to fill and ice them. Thomas makes the icing and glazes the super light yeast rings. 

Besides the quintessential glazed yeast ring, best sellers at Corlew include tiger tails, long johns, apple fritters and jelly Bismarcks. With their mandate to bake fresh daily, “we can’t have all those weird, different donuts that we’d just have to throw away. We just go with what’s popular,” Debbie says.

Corlew Donut Company is open 5 to 11 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Look for them next to the Arco gas station on the corner of 18th and Veterans Memorial Parkway.

Stop 2: Hammer Donuts 
       
If you’re looking for crazy, whimsical donuts, look no further than Hammer Donuts, which got its start in the now defunct Discount Den on Purdue’s campus five years ago but, since January, scents the air on Lafayette’s Main Street. 

And, no, the owner’s name is not Hammer, as is often asked. Think “Boiler Up! Hammer Down!” and you’ve got it. The Taiwanese owners, Michael Cho and Cecilia Chiu, majored in engineering at Purdue, moonlighting in donut making. 

In October 2017 an ambitious Purdue student, Tate Schienbein, taught himself to make donuts, built a team and started selling donuts to Purdue students through the Discount Den on campus. Michael joined as a donut chef a year later, later adding the title of general manager. A sugary tangle of circumstances iced by COVID issues nearly put the fledgling business out of business until Michael and Cecilia took a leap of faith and rented the space abandoned by Kathy’s Kandies.

On any given day you might find an elegant crème brulee donut or a kid-friendly Lucky Charms donut looking back at you from the glass case. For Valentine’s Day baker Cho and his staff painstakingly hand-cut donuts into hearts, and at the holidays they’ll carve out a handful of Christmas shapes and decorate them with multicolored icing. Have a special occasion, like a gender reveal, you want a donut for? They are your bakers.

Hopping across the river brought unexpected challenges. Temperatures and humidity levels in the kitchen demand constant watching in the donut making process, Cecilia says. “It was the biggest struggle; even the change of water made a big difference. A wider range of temperatures was OK in our West Lafayette location but we had to be more specific in Lafayette. We had to figure a lot out.”

As engineers they were data driven, and in the end data saved them, nudging changes in mixing times and frying temperatures, among others. They held onto their contract to provide donuts to Circle K gas stations, some campus locations and a lot of churches. “Right now, we’re geared to wholesale and that makes us stable,” Cecilia says, while they build up their walk-in business.

During the week the glass case is filled with more traditional choices. Years of appealing to adventurous college students plays out in the cases on Fridays and Saturdays when you’ll find marvels of modern donut making such as blueberry cheesecake donuts, lemon pie donuts, Samoa donuts inspired by Girl Scout cookies, S’more donuts with a marshmallow in the hole or Voo Doo donuts, which have to be seen to be appreciated.

Hammer Donuts is located at 611 Main St., Lafayette. Hours: 6 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday.

Stop 3: Mary Lou Donuts

Mary Lou Donuts opened the doors of its tiny A-frame bakery restaurant on South Fourth street in 1961. In the 61 years since, four different owners have opened new chapters in the venerable business. 

Give Mary Lou and Stu Graves, who also operated Graves Bakery on the West Lafayette Levee, credit for originating the iconic Lafayette business. They gave the store its name and its donut recipes. Then came the Keith Cochran era, followed by the Brian Freed era. When former Jefferson High School math teacher and girls’ basketball coach Jeff Waldon took over in June 2017 he wanted his era to be marked by modernization and growth. “It’s an honor to carry on what the other three did for the community,” Waldon says.

Immediately Waldon began overdue planning for a bigger facility and this April opened a 4,000-square-foot bakery restaurant on Commerce Drive behind the Olive Garden. Initially visions of a bigger A-frame flooded his dreams, but builders nixed that idea. What emerged was a big, white happy donut box of a building with huge hot pink and turquoise polka dots sprinkled all over it, mindful of the sprinkled donuts inside. Ample kitchen space allowed him to make a million-dollar investment in an automated donut fryer. Soon a robot will be “hired” for its light touch that keeps donuts from flattening out in a key part of the automated process.

None of the time-tested recipes have changed, but Waldon acknowledges that a slightly different taste might be noticed beneath the glaze. Shortly after he took over “the FDA mandated the elimination of all trans fats in frying. It does change the taste a bit,” he says. Still, it hasn’t stopped people coming in the doors and walking out with polka dot boxes full of treats.

“With the new machinery we can produce 250 to 300 dozen donuts an hour, eight times what the old store could do,” he says. Customers used to complain that they couldn’t get enough cream horns because the original bakery could only produce 120 a week. Now the number is closer to 500 a week. 

This fall you’ll find Mary Lou Donuts and their polka dot boxes replacing Kroger’s products in all the local Payless stores, another mark of Waldon’s expansion plans. His dreams are now filled with visions of a huge bakery in the Indianapolis area that would allow Mary Lou Donuts to be in all the Kroger stores there. He’s actively working on making that dream come true. “My job is to expand the business to honor all the people who put in hard work before me,” he says.

Locations for Mary Lou Donuts are at 1830 S. Fourth St. and 4150 Commerce Dr., Lafayette. Hours for both are 5 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday.

Stop 4: The Homestead

Although the glass front donut case fills just a small corner of West Lafayette’s Homestead, known for its foods to go as well as its breakfast and lunch business, the donuts are a point of pride in the store.

That’s because each and every cake and yeast donut is hand rolled, cut, fried, filled and frosted, something full-service restaurants rarely do. “We keep it fairly simple — basic customer favorites,” says owner Jody Bahler. “It’s just an enhancement for our business.”

Homestead’s flagship store calls Remington home and that’s where the donuts are made each night, Monday through Friday. Then they’re driven to West Lafayette in time for that store’s opening at 7 a.m. Three days a week they’re also delivered to Franciscan Hospital.

“We taught ourselves how to do it,” she says. “Friends of ours own a donut shop in southern Michigan and we watched their process (which takes 5-6 hours) then tweaked it for us. Labor is the most expensive thing in a donut.

“It’s so much fun. Yes, it is!” Jody says. “I like doing the finishing touches.”

High on the list of Homestead favorites sits a maple bacon long john. Bacon dusted with sugar caramelizes in a frying pan before nestling into its home in the long john’s creamy maple icing. “Long john” is a Midwest term for a bar-shaped donut, probably taken from long underwear worn on the farm in the winter, although no one knows for sure how it became attached to a donut. 

Stepping outside the box, Jody has even constructed tiered wedding cakes out of donuts. For special events the restaurant will provide a big board with pegs on it with, of course, a donut on every peg so attendees can grab and munch.

Because donuts are best fresh, Homestead reduces its prices at 3 p.m. daily for any still left in the case. “You can fill a box for $5, but it’s always a risk.”

She offers a tip for making a donut bought late in the day taste like it just came out of the fryer. “I suggest popping it in the microwave for 5-7 seconds. It’ll taste like it’s just out of the fryer.”

The Homestead is located at 1550 Win Hentschel Blvd., West Lafayette. Hours:  7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.

Stop 5: Rose Market

Cassidy Kitchel was working at The Arts Federation when her parents first opened Rose Market, but she came on board as a baker in January and her gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan donuts have quickly put the small Main Street shop on the map.

A self-described health nut, she’s been creating and tweaking recipes for more than a decade, ever since her son was diagnosed with celiac disease as a toddler. “I baked my own stuff because you couldn’t find it, and when you did it was too expensive.”

There’s science and a lot of practice behind each donut in her glass case, which beckons buyers, a colorful treat for the eyes as well as a tasty treat for the tummy. “Being gluten and dairy free takes lots of practice but I think I’ve perfected it,” Cassidy says. Even folks who are not gluten free find the taste surprisingly delightful, something they don’t have to lie about liking.

Cassidy feels her grandmother Dolores Rose, for whom the store is named, has become a cooking angel watching over her shoulder. “I was really close to her. She found so much joy in cooking for others and I really channel her. Love comes through in what you bake,” she says. “I can feel her with me.” 

Her joy comes in seeing donut-deprived celiac kids go crazy over a bright blue Cookie Monster donut with bulging eyes. “When they haven’t had it, or can’t have it, and are finally able to pick something out, it makes me so happy,” she says. “I’ve had people literally stand in front of the case and cry to have this in our community.”

 That includes treat lovers of all ages who have allergies, need to eat dairy free or eat vegan. When they go to a regular bakery there’s often just one choice they can eat, or more often, no treats at all.

Cassidy takes pride in using cage-free eggs, high-quality flour and top of the line ingredients all through her process. There are no artificial dyes in Cookie Monster’s blue icing. All her rich colors come from plant-based superfood powders. Even the colored sprinkles can boast of being dye free, perfect for kids who have allergies to food dyes. 

Although Rose Market offers donuts all week, the widest selection fills the case on Saturdays. French toast, coffeecake and streusel donuts are among the best sellers along with perennial favorite blueberry. Every time you go there’s likely to be a new treat staring back at you, such as a stuffed donut that’s a play on strawberry shortcake with vegan whipped cream and fresh strawberries on top.

Vanilla donuts provide the base for ice cream sandwiches with non-dairy chocolate ice cream, a dollop of vegan whip, a drizzle of chocolate syrup and sprinkles. Also in the freezer case you can find gluten-free biscuits and gravy.

Because Cassidy’s donuts are baked, not fried, you can pop them into the freezer and expect them to come out just as fresh as they went in.

Word of the business has spread quickly on social media, generating a loyal base of kids and adults that come in weekly and “we have new people every week too. I think we’ve just scratched the surface,” Cassidy says.

During the interview for this story a Mexican baker, owner of a bakery in the Yucatan who was visiting relatives in the states, happened upon Rose Market and walked out with a small box of donuts. Ten minutes later she was back extolling their virtues and asking Cassidy for a gluten-free baking lesson. “The donuts are amazing. They taste so good and they’re beautiful,” exclaimed Maru Medina. “Oprah needs to find you.”  

Rose Market is located at 816 Main St., Lafayette. Hours: Monday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.  ★    

BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS PROVIDED

From humble beginnings

50 years ago inside an old church building, the Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club has been a welcoming embrace for Greater Lafayette’s children.

Treece was a Lafayette businessman whose interests included Burger Chef franchises. He was one of the original owners of the Indiana Pacers when the team joined the American Basketball Association in 1967.

He paid $30,000 for the former Riverside Church of God, located on North Ninth Street across from the then-Tippecanoe Junior High, to set up the first Boys Club in Lafayette. Steady growth during the next six years led Treece to put $100,000 toward a new building that opened at 1529 N. 10th St. in 1980.

An early member of the Boys Club was one of five brothers living with a divorced mother and on welfare.

“My lifetime has been with the club,” says Barry Richard, executive director of the Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club.

“The Boys Club allowed me to develop the areas I needed to, to then become a member of the Lafayette Police Department, become the sheriff, become a city councilman, county councilman, be able to do all the things I’ve done.”

With pride, Richard gave a tour of the building that he says is unlike most Boys and Girls Clubs across the United States.

Walk inside the door and to the left are rows of tables and chairs designed to be used by 60 to 100 children a day to do their homework. 

“Typically, when you go into a Boys and Girls Club you’ll see a pool table, ping pong table, foosball, air hockey. We prioritize academics,” Richard says. “This is set up as our academic hall. We help them with their homework after they’ve had their snack. We have certified teachers come in to help them.”

That’s not the only academic space in the building. Thanks to the generosity of SIA associates in 2012, a learning theater room is available for smaller groups. 

“We can conduct lessons and help the children in a classroom setting,” Richard says.

The Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club also prepares children for life outside the classroom. Richard says Lafayette is the only Boys and Girls Club in the U.S. to have an area dedicated to a barber shop/beauty shop. It even has a replica barber pole outside the door.

“To help children with their self-esteem and their personal hygiene, I thought it would be neat to have our own barber shop/beauty shop,” Richard says of the shop, which is stocked with everything one would see at a local establishment. Volunteers take care of the services, which are free to the children.

There’s even a laundry room inside the club, where staff members teach children how to use a washer and dryer.

It’s not all work and no play, though. There are enough board games to stock a toy store. A multipurpose room is used for arts and crafts and includes a TV set. Meals can be eaten in the room, too.

An old locker room has been converted into a game room, where the Boys and Girls Club standard air hockey, foosball and pool tables are located along with video games. 

“We’ve utilized our building to the full capacity,” Richard says. “Typically, by mid-winter we’ll have 100-plus children here a day.”

The future at the North 10th Street location includes baseball and soccer fields. Land has been purchased surrounding the Boys and Girls Club and much of it has been cleared of unsightly dilapidated housing. 

Open to children ages 6 to 18, the club offers an annual membership for little to no cost. For $10 — or 83 cents a month, as Richard says — that’s the only expense families will pay at the Boys and Girls Club. Scholarships are available for families that cannot afford to send multiple children.

“Beyond that, there’s never any charge,” Richard says. “They don’t pay for programs, snacks, meals, field trips. Nothing.”

The Boys and Girls Club expanded its services in 1999 to the former Tahoe Swim Club on Beck Lane in Lafayette. With expansion of that facility, which includes a game room, a gym and two academic spaces, approximately 100 students are welcomed daily. 

A third location on land at South and 23rd streets is nearing the fund-raising stage. Richard expects that club to serve 150-plus students from the surrounding Murdock, Sunnyside and Oakland schools as well as the Columbian Park neighborhood where Richard grew up.

“It’s going to be amazing,” Richard says. It’s going to have two gyms, game rooms, arts and crafts, personal hygiene area, the learning theater, the academic support.”

Richard estimates that once funding is in place, construction would take 18 to 24 months.

“I want to make our facilities, our organization their Disney World,” he says. “The children we serve don’t get to go to Disney World. This is some of the highlight of their childhood, that they know it is a safe place to come and they’ll be taken care of. 

“We’ll make sure they get their homework done, that they have the Christmas presents, the acknowledgment of them doing well. We’re going to fill that void in their life, to let them know that they have self-worth and they are able to be successful. To break the cycle and become a giver back to our community. That’s what we all need.”

The cycle was broken in the Richard family, and he gives much of the credit to the Boys and Girls Club.

“What I was able to get from the club was that independence and self-worth,” Richard says. “I never thought growing up I had to be rich. My thought was I don’t want to be poor. I know what poor is. What do I need to do not to be poor? The answer was you need to work, you need to be responsible, you need to have a good work ethic, you need to treat others well and you need to have that vision of goal setting to become successful down the road.”

Richard’s children grew up to be a Major League Baseball player/high school coach, a school principal and a teacher.

He has seen others break the cycle, too, when the club was the only positive thing in their lives. They’ve become businessmen, police officers, teachers and members of the armed forces.

“I really do believe that what we are doing with our programs, our discipline, our structure, our caring, our academic support, is developing those next generations to be the leaders of our community,” Richard says.  ★

BY RADONNA FIORINI
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
AND PROVIDED

Pandemic pups. COVID kittens. Lock-down lizards. Many of us acquired new pets in the last three years as we spent more time at home, cuddling in front of screens. But we’re now venturing out and looking for venues that also welcome our fur babies.

Prophetstown State Park offers 18 miles of trails for a troll with your dog.

From parks to trails to restaurants with outdoor dining, Tippecanoe County offers many places to explore with pets.

Brad and Heidi Harner have been taking their dogs to Prophetstown State Park since it opened near Battleground in 2004. They like what state parks have to offer and were excited to explore the native prairie and wooded paths that make Prophetstown unique.

“The wide open spaces are wonderful, especially prior to any weather events,” the Lafayette couple explains in an email exchange. “The subtle seasonal changes of the prairie are beautiful to see and learn about. We love the variety of walking through the woods, circling a pond, out in the fields and down around the marshes.” 

For many years and in all seasons, the couple took Lucy, a rat terrier, and Joey, a beagle/border collie mix, to explore the more than 18 miles of trails at Prophetstown. And some of those jaunts were more exciting than others.

“One cold late autumn hike, Joey mistook the stillness of the pond for a grassy field and went plunging in head first (Joey was not a “water dog” in the least!),” recounts Brad Harner. “After his (and our) initial shock, he was able to get out quickly without me having to go in and get him.” 

Joey and Lucy are no longer living, but the Harners sometimes take their current corgi/Jack Russell mix, Meghan, to Prophetstown and other area parks and trails. Because Meghan is not as socialized as their previous dogs, the couple is more cautious about taking her out where they might encounter other dogs.

Knowing your pets and how they interact with others is important when deciding to visit the park, says Prophetstown Office Manager Kristin Sauder. Every Indiana state park has similar requirements for pet owners coming out for the day:

• All pets, no matter the species, must be on a six-foot or shorter leash at all times

• The park has a “carry-in, carry-out” policy, so you must clean up your pet’s waste and take it with

   you out of the park. There are no trash receptacles available 

• You’ll pay an entrance fee

• Animals are not allowed in any enclosed building at Prophetstown, or any state park, and can’t 

   go into the Aquatic Center. Service animals are welcome in some buildings

• If your pet becomes a nuisance, you may be asked to leave the park

The leash law is in place to protect your pet, as well as wildlife and other visitors, Sauder says. She remembers an incident in which a dog on a very long leash wandered into tall grass and had an unfortunate encounter with a snake. Visitors should keep their animals in sight and stay on the trails to avoid unexpected encounters with wildlife.

The park also allows overnight camping, and lots of people bring pets with them, but owners should never leave their pets unattended.

“Keep them with you,” Sauder says. “We once had a dog get loose and it was running around the campground. It escaped from a pop-up camper while the owners were at the Aquatic Center and (park personnel) had a hard time finding them.”

For more information about visiting Indiana state parks with your pets, go to https://secure.in.gov/dnr/state-parks/property-rules-and-regulations/pet-rules/

Knowing your pets and how they interact with others is important when deciding to visit the park, says Prophetstown Office Manager Kristin Sauder. Every Indiana state park has similar requirements for pet owners coming out for the day:

  • All pets, no matter the species, must be on a six-foot or shorter leash at all times
  • The park has a “carry-in, carry-out” policy, so you must clean up your pet’s waste and take it with you out of the park. There are no trash receptacles available 
  • You’ll pay an entrance fee
  • Animals are not allowed in any enclosed building at Prophetstown, or any state park, and can’t go into the Aquatic Center. Service animals are welcome in some buildings
  • If your pet becomes a nuisance, you may be asked to leave the park

The leash law is in place to protect your pet, as well as wildlife and other visitors, Sauder says. She remembers an incident in which a dog on a very long leash wandered into tall grass and had an unfortunate encounter with a snake. Visitors should keep their animals in sight and stay on the trails to avoid unexpected encounters with wildlife.

The park also allows overnight camping, and lots of people bring pets with them, but owners should never leave their pets unattended.

“Keep them with you,” Sauder says. “We once had a dog get loose and it was running around the campground. It escaped from a pop-up camper while the owners were at the Aquatic Center and (park personnel) had a hard time finding them.”

For more information about visiting Indiana state parks with your pets, go to https://secure.in.gov/dnr/state-parks/property-rules-and-regulations/pet-rules/

City and county parks

Fall is a beautiful time to explore the 25 parks and public facilities in Lafayette with your pet, the more than 1,200 acres of parks and trails in Tippecanoe County, and the 460 acres of recreational areas in West Lafayette. 

Samantha Haville, marketing manager for Lafayette Parks and Recreation, says all the city parks are pet friendly and most feature pet waste stations with bags and trash cans. There are six miles of paved trails and many more unpaved in the city limits.

Other city recreational facilities welcome dogs at certain times of the year. No pups are allowed in the city pools except during the annual Pooch Plunge, held at Castaway Bay at the end of every summer season. Pets are not typically allowed at Loeb Stadium in Columbian Park, but once a summer the Aviators baseball team sponsors Bark at the Park, when dogs are invited in, Haville says.

Only service animals are allowed in the Columbian Park Zoo because pets can be upsetting to the full-time zoo residents, Haville says. And not even service animals are allowed in the Wallaby Walkabout exhibit or the IU Health Family Farm that includes a petting zoo.

For a complete list of city parks and trails, go to http://www.lafayette.in.gov/408/Parks-Trails

Tippecanoe County Director of Parks Randy Lower says most county parks are open to pets, but he encourages pet owners to be considerate of other park goers and the park staff charged with maintaining the properties.

“By all means, clean up after your pet,” Lower says. “As an example of what can happen, we have soccer fields at the (Tippecanoe County) Amphitheater and Davidson Park, and those are wide open spaces where people like to walk their dogs. It’s tough for the poor people who come out to play soccer when they first have to clean up the fields.” 

And the maintenance crews are not happy when they have to clean poop off their mower blades at the end of the day. 

“Just use common sense and be cognizant of other people,” Lower advises.

While the county website does not have a comprehensive list of trails, you can find that information at https://www.alltrails.com/us/indiana/lafayette

West Lafayette boasts more than 460 acres of recreational areas, picnic grounds, nature trails and playgrounds. Included is the beautiful Celery Bog Nature Area, replete with native plants and wildlife and about five miles of trails. Using good pet etiquette is important when visiting these natural spaces that already are home to wild animals.

Happy Hollow Park is a city favorite with families and their fur babies. With two miles of trails and footpaths, picnic areas, accessible playgrounds and restrooms, this park near the city’s heart has features to please the entire family.

Maps and more information about West Lafayette parks and trails are available on the city website, https://www.westlafayette.in.gov/parks/

All local parks and trails require the same common sense behavior: keep your pet on a six-foot or shorter leash; clean up your pet’s waste and deposit it in a trash receptacle; make sure water is available on site or bring some with you, keep aggressive animals at home. Both Lafayette and West Lafayette also have dog parks, where dogs can play off-leash.

Restaurants

Many local restaurants with outdoor patios welcome pets. A quick call to the restaurant can confirm whether or not pets are welcome in their outdoor spaces. 

The spacious, shaded patio at Teay’s River in Lafayette has hosted many dogs and even a few cats, says Manager Molly Sundquist.

“We have water available and we welcome pets outside,” she says. “They have to be on a leash, even the cats, but people are welcome to bring them.”

Downtown Lafayette eateries Red Seven and East End Grill also welcome well-behaved dogs and make water available for furry companions. In West Lafayette, Brokerage Brewing Company and Café Literato have patio spaces where animals are allowed.

Consider the weather before going since many patios are concrete and your precious pet could overheat if not in the shade. The American Kennel Club also recommends taking a big bag of treats with you, so your pup doesn’t feel left out of the feast.

Animals that are well-socialized may enjoy a trip to a restaurant patio, but be clear-eyed about making that choice. Dogs that are aggressive or anxious around new people, noises and smells should be left at home.

And just remember that not everyone loves animals as much as you do. Some diners may be skittish about sitting next to Fido or Fluffy, so be considerate of other diners, the wait staff and your fluffy family member.  ★

BY JILLIAN ELLISON
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Arms stretched forward, face down on a rolled-out floor mat, instructor Betsy Totty asks her yoga class members to take a deep breath and slowly exhale, timing their breathing to match the in’s and out’s. In the studio at Community Yoga, Totty wants the group of a dozen people to take the time to familiarize themselves with their own bodies, the same ones that serve them each day.“Listen to what your body is telling you,” Totty says. “Are you feeling any areas that feel a little tighter today? How have you thanked your body for carrying you through this week?”

Something newcomers to yoga classes don’t often realize is that not only is the hour-long session an exercise of the body, but more importantly it’s an exercise of the mind, says Jacqueline Allen-Magers, owner of Community Yoga in Lafayette. There are physical benefits to yoga, of course, she explains, but the practice of vinyasa yoga – the yoga her studio’s classes focus on — works to calm your nervous system.

“Our lives are very go, go, go, and when your sensory perception is bombarded, that’s when we become overly stimulated,” Allen-Magers says. “Practicing yoga does the opposite. It’s trying to turn your perception inward, calming your nerves, leaving you feeling lighter, both mentally and physically.”

While yoga studios across Greater Lafayette offer different versions of the practice, they are all supportive of each other’s goals: breaking down obstacles that exist around yoga, working to make it an inclusive environment.

Finding your Zen

A quick internet search to find out just how many forms of yoga there are will make your head spin. Courtney Biancofiori, co-owner of Society Yoga, isn’t interested in putting a label on what her studio offers.

“Focusing on a specific type of yoga in the studio, I feel, takes away from the entire Yogi narrative,” Biancofiori says. “It is all yoga, and I want to break down the barriers that hold the average person out on the street back from walking in here, taking some time to destress and sweat a bit and find a sense of belonging.”

Across the Wabash River at HOTWORX, co-owner Megan Wilson says sweating it out won’t take you long. Offering virtually instructed classes in its studios, HOTWORX offers “Hot Yoga,” a 30-minute isometric workout inside a sauna room. “As the infrared heat penetrates your body causing you to sweat, the isometric postures further accelerate detoxification by physically removing the toxins from your organs through muscle contraction,” Wilson explains.

 While they try not to label classes at Society Yoga, Biancofiori and co-owner Kim Barrett say if you’re looking for a class in a style you’re accustomed to at other studios, they can help you find it, and possibly more.

From low intensity up to what Barrett calls a “Society Sculpt” class, classes featuring different equipment offer the opportunity for newcomers to dip their toes into the practice of yoga, which for Biancofiori, boils down to linking our breathing with the body’s movements.

“Everyone’s idea of relaxation is different. Some people might not be able to sit in a meditative pose for a long period of time,” Biancofiori says. “They might find meditation through push-ups. I find my Zen just by sweating it out.”

Bridging people through yoga

For the past seven years, Be Moved Power Yoga has hosted “Yoga On The Bridge” across the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge, and for owner Anita Trent, watching as people come from the two cities to meet in the middle builds the definition of community for her.

“Our community in Greater Lafayette is so special, because it is one so rich in culture and varying levels of experience,” Trent says. “To watch these people come together from all corners of the world is something I love and look forward to.”

There is always room for growth and improvement, however, Trent says, as she aims to create a more inclusive space for all in her studio. “We are a wonderful and unique group of female teachers, but what I would love in our studio is to see some more diversity in our teaching team,” she explains.

“I am very interested in bringing on more gender diversity as we continue to maintain a friendly, open space. If you’re willing to work hard and you’re willing to sweat, then you’re going to fit in great here.”

Trent says she was introduced to practicing yoga as a child, when her mom would leave early in the morning for work and would turn on PBS, which ran “Lilias, Yoga and You.” Into adulthood, she ran half marathons and played soccer, but after a knee injury put her on the sidelines, a friend who’d become a yoga instructor encouraged her to come to a class to start slowly easing back into fitness. Getting back into the motions of yoga for Trent was like a flood of memories, reinspiring her love for the practice.

That moment of memory and clarity on her yoga mat several years ago is something she hopes to bring to all who walk through her doors, and she knows her colleagues across Greater Lafayette strive for that, too.

“Yoga gives us the tools on how to be really clear about who we are and who we’ve been, but it also helps find clarity in simply loving ourselves and doing good for our bodies,” Trent says. “In yoga, we are working to take the next best step, and here in Greater Lafayette, we have so many amazing people teaching yoga and bringing that good into our community.”  ★

BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Need a place to pick up a quick lunch to take to your desk? How about a snack, or groceries for dinner? … Downtown Lafayette is now home to three markets, each with its own personality and niche for the urban shopper. 

Bistro Market & Deli
115 N. Fifth St.

If you’re looking for elegance and a European shopping experience downtown, step into Bistro Market & Deli. The former Lahr atrium has been transformed into an upscale, French-themed market, with wares to match. As a bonus, the space was designed to historically honor the former Lahr Hotel — the current layout mirrors the way space was used more than a century ago, with vintage photos in the foyer as evidence. 

The bodega has a variety of offerings — everything from a coffee bar with bagels (imported from New York City), fresh local produce, a deli counter, refillable oils and vinegars, and international foods. 

The space fills a specific need downtown says Mary Buckley, who, along with her daughters, Theresa and Cheyenne, owns and operates both the market and Bistro 501 next door. Buckley knew that with downtown residency at an all-time high — and with construction looming — the demographic of young urban professionals and empty nesters would welcome a downtown market. So the three went to work to determine how to make such an idea a success. 

“There’s a difference between a dream and business,” Buckley says. “What does the area need and what do you know?”

The pandemic interrupted their plans to expand into the atrium, but it also gave them a chance to plan with great intention. They were able to carefully survey the space and look for exactly the right layout, along with finding appropriate furniture and fixtures. 

The result is a charmingly customized space, with walls in Cape Cod blue, an elaborate iron entry gate (also locally crafted), and an eclectic feel. 

But it’s more than just a market — it’s a place to visit, to relax. There is a seating area upstairs — where hotel guests would have sat a century ago — and down, so patrons may sit and sip their coffee and eat their sandwich or salad, using the WiFi. There is a table to play checkers and an area to read the newspaper. 

The vibe is friendly and inviting — even dogs are welcome. Customers can find groceries to cook their own meals, or they can pick up sandwiches or pre-prepared dinner for two. You can find products for a gift box, with fun and quirky items available — everything from toys for children to sauces to charcuterie boards — or even cleaning supplies from the Broom Closet. 

The Buckleys have a commitment to excellence and to supporting small business. As a women-owned and operated business, it works with local vendors and with other small businesses. 

The market can be a bit overwhelming, Buckley says, as it does not use traditional overhead signage. So, she says, patrons should ask an associate if they need assistance finding anything. Parking can be a challenge, she knows, but if customers park in the city parking garage, the market will refund the parking fee and offers curbside pickup — do your shopping, leave your cart, go get your car, and come back for valet grocery service. 

The market is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. every day but Tuesday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. Mondays are market days, with special sales. And if you don’t see what you want, the market can get it for you in 72 hours. 

Buckley says the market’s business is booming, and she is pleased with the role they can play downtown. 

“We really took a page from the past and brought it into the present, hoping for a successful future.”

Rose Market
Specialty Food Market & Apothecary
816 Main St.

If you’re shopping downtown with dietary needs, look no further than Rose Market. 

Owner Tracy Deno says the first mission of the market was to be a haven for people who need allergen-friendly foods. But it has expanded to also feature items that are non-GMO and organic. It has a large selection of gluten-free foods — for the gluten intolerant crowd, shopping can be difficult, as gluten can be a hidden ingredient in so many foods — even in places that seem unlikely. 

Rose Market fills that niche. It offers a wide variety of healthy, tasty foods.

“We try to focus on the ingredients,” Deno says. “We don’t like a lot of junk.”

She even offers gluten-free and vegan donuts, which have been a big hit. (See story on Page 48.) People are surprised to find formerly unsafe foods available to them. 

“We’ve had people get emotional,” Deno says.

Rose Market is committed to being environmentally friendly. It offers sustainable cleaning products, which can be refilled. And it is committed to maintaining health without an abundance of chemicals, so the market sells personal care and wellness items that are natural as well. 

 

Friendly Market
400 Main St.

Friendly Market, the newest arrival on the downtown scene, is a basic convenience store, offering its patrons quick snacks, drinks and amenities. 

The store, at the corner of Fourth and Main, has a full offering of candy, snacks and beverages. If you’re looking to grab a quick drink, this is your stop. It has a full soda fountain as well as canned beverages of all types.

Food offerings are limited, but Friendly Market does have some canned and frozen foods. It also carries an assortment of cleaning items and household necessities. 

Coffee is available, as is a space in which to drink it — a small seating area in the front of the store offers newspapers and a view of Main Street. It’s the perfect place to sit, sip coffee and read the news of the day.  ★

BY RADONNA FIORINI

While there is nothing resembling a mountain in Tippecanoe County, there is a growing group of local mountain bike enthusiasts who are creating and maintaining trails and opportunities to participate in the sport they love.

The sport of riding bicycles off-road, on trails and rough terrain, has gained in popularity during the last 30 years and is something people of all ages can enjoy, says Jason Pruitt, president of the Tippecanoe Mountain Bike Association. 

Pruitt has enjoyed biking for decades, starting out with road bikes and riding competitively in endurance races. But when he began mountain biking, things changed.

“Once I got out in the woods, I thought, ‘This is so much better, just being in the woods and in nature. I love riding with friends, but sometimes just riding alone in nature is great.’” 

After he and a group of mountain biking enthusiasts found each other more than a decade ago, they began working together to help maintain the mixed-use trails they all used, and help educate people about protecting nature while enjoying the sport they love, he says.

Out of that effort, the TMBA was formed, and members have enjoyed biking and working together to create and maintain a robust series of area bike-accessible trails. There are now 26 miles of trails in Tippecanoe County that feature a variety of difficulty levels and are on public and private land accessible to the public. 

The first bike trail the group focused on is at the Tippecanoe County Amphitheater. The trail system there was created for the Harrison High School cross-country team, but many other hikers and bikers have enjoyed those trails for years, says Tippecanoe County Parks Superintendent Randy Lower. 

“At first we wanted the mountain bike trails to parallel the running trails and not connect, because we didn’t want collisions between bikers and runners,” Lower says. “But that hasn’t been a problem and the biking trails now utilize and crisscross the cross-country trails. We haven’t heard about much interaction between bikers, hikers and runners.”

The Amphitheater trails are geared for novice riders, although some areas are a bit challenging, he says. There are two sections of trails and even a kid’s loop that is smoother and shorter so young riders can get a feel for the terrain.

There are many possible mountain bike features, but the basic requirement is a bike with a suspension system to soften the jolt of riding over roots and rocks, and a sturdy frame that can take the impact of rough terrain, says Garrett Wass, bike mechanic at Virtuous Cycles in downtown Lafayette. 

Wider tires with heavy-duty tread take the bumps better than narrow road bike tires. Working with a professional to determine the best kind of suspension, tires and brakes for the terrain you want to traverse will make your rides more enjoyable, he says.

On a recent June evening, more than 20 TMBA members gathered at the Amphitheater for a weekly ride. The group meets each Wednesday during the warmer months at different trails to ride, practice needed skills and receive updates on upcoming work sessions that keep the area trails in good shape, says Pruitt. 

The group was made up of bikers of all ages and experience levels, including Owen Broadstreet, a 14-year-old student from Delphi. His father introduced Owen to the sport when he was 10, and he rides regularly with TMBA. 

“This group is really inclusive,” says Broadstreet. “You just show up and you’re in.” 

Claire Stirm, who handles events and outreach for TMBA, has been riding for two years, after her husband introduced her to mountain biking. The couple rides together about three times a week, and she particularly enjoys the Wednesday TMBA rides and helping new or inexperienced riders feel comfortable.

The riders split up into groups that start down the trails at staggered times. The fastest, more experienced riders go first, but Stirm often rides with the last group, which is affectionately called the “party pace.” This group may stop to go over techniques needed for certain trail features, and members are happy to wait for slower riders so everyone feels included. 

Seth Aichinger, who has been riding mountain bikes for more than 20 years, says being part of TMBA has been life changing. He calls the members “super supportive and friendly” and he appreciates the educational elements that are included on rides. 

“There’s always room for improvement and the trails are always changing, so you have to pay attention,” he says. “It’s such an adrenaline rush and the Wednesday group rides are awesome.”

While the Amphitheater trails are a great place to learn the sport, more experienced riders are partial to the trails at Hoffman Nature Area. The six miles of trails in this heavily wooded area off old Indiana 25 west of Americus were cleared and specifically designed for mountain biking by TMBA members. The county parks department oversees the property. It’s a favorite spot for Wass, from the bike shop. 

“Hoffman is the best,” Wass says. “It has more advanced features than some of the other trails and was built by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers.”

The Hoffman trail is a loop, and certain features are labeled so bikers can choose to go over the feature, such as a log or steep rock incline, or around it on a separate path, Wass says. In fact, labels have been added to several of the TMBA-maintained trails so bikers can make informed choices as they ride.

Parks Superintendent Lower concurs that the Hoffman trail is popular with more experienced riders, adding that the construction and maintenance of those trails, and others,  would not be possible without the work of the TMBA.

“They are always looking to expand and improve the trails,” he says of Pruitt and other members. “We wouldn’t be able to maintain all the trails because we just don’t have the manpower. And some of them run close to the river and creeks, which means the trails change because of erosion. (TMBA members) are out there rerouting them, improving and expanding them.”

When the group first formed, it focused on just keeping the existing trails clear of fallen branches and deadwood, says Pruitt.  Now the group meets many Saturdays to clear trails, cut back invasive species, pull weeds and break out new trails. 

Another challenging area is the Haan Trail, located off State Street near downtown Lafayette behind the Haan Museum of Indiana Art. A separate, lower section is accessed from Valley Street. Bob and Ellie Haan owned the property and lived in the mansion on the grounds when they became interested in mountain biking after making a trip out west in 1998. 

“We got interested in it on that trip and realized it was a skill sport, not an endurance sport,” says Bob Haan. “We came home and started building a trail behind the house so we could learn the skills needed for mountain biking.”

The Haans worked on the trails for about a decade, creating such features as benched areas, bridges, ramps and whoop-de-dos, along with 45-degree drops in the advanced sections. During that time, they made lots of friends in the mountain biking community and in 2011, opened the trails to the public. TMBA has since taken over maintenance of the trails that are connected through Valley Street. The Haans, both in their 70s, continue to enjoy mountain biking and the community that surrounds the sport. 

The TMBA also maintains the Murdock Park Trail, owned by the city of Lafayette, and McCormick Woods Trails, just west of the Purdue campus in West Lafayette. Two years ago, the local group was the first state-wide to join the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association, which advocates for the creation of trails in Indiana and natural resource protection. 

One of the goals of TMBA is to find ways to connect the different county trail systems so riders can easily get from one to another. The group also is working with such organizations as the Girl Scouts to teach mountain biking skills and safety, and recruit others to help with trail upkeep.  ★

BY ANGELA K. ROBERTS
PHOTOS PROVIDED

When Retail Therapy owner Alicia Dunbar heard about an upscale shopping district near Indianapolis offering a ladies’ night out promotion with branded shopping bags, she had an idea: What if she and her Greater Lafayette colleagues did something similar, and what if they created reusable bags to dually promote the event and create a more eco-friendly buying experience?

Last July, Dunbar co-launched Girls Gone Local, which takes place the second Thursday of every month. For $10, women can purchase an exclusive tote to carry as they sip, shop and stroll through downtown Lafayette in early evening, at a time when smaller retailers typically are closed.  

Instead of getting multiple bags from multiple stores staying open late just for them, women can place all purchases in a single bag. Along the way, they can participate in seasonal experiences, like assembling a bouquet of flowers from various shops or posing for a photo with the Easter Bunny. 

The promotional events target a desirable retail demographic: busy women for whom a night out with friends is a rare opportunity. It’s a win-win for local businesses and buyers with a lot of purchasing power. 

“We tend to not make time for ourselves,” Dunbar says of women. “We always say ‘Let’s get together soon,’ but we never do it.” Girls Gone Local is something that friends can plan for month after month, she adds – without having to do any of the planning. 

Now entering its second year, the event is drawing not only Greater Lafayette residents but also out-of-towners looking for a destination shopping experience. 

It’s also attracted some unexpected vendors, such as a chiropractor, a law firm and a dental practice. During April’s gathering, the urban-chic Downtown Dental opened its doors to showcase a waiting room gallery of sunflower photos and offer each woman a single stem to add to her spring bouquet.

To help support local women-owned businesses without a storefront, many participating shops offer pop-up space for selling products such as crepes, popcorn, leather goods and cookies. Restaurants and bars offer specials, too, such as a free treat along with a cocktail. 

For up-to-date information on specific businesses that will be open these months, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/retailtherapy1005
https://www.facebook.com/hellodowntownlafayette
https://www.facebook.com/GGLLafayette. 

BY RADONNA FIORINI
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

char·cu·te·rie:
1)   A delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes, also: the products sold in such a shop (Miriam Webster)
2)  The hottest food trend since sliced bread (Everyone)

It’s the perfect food for the age of Instagram, but the practice of serving cured meats and accoutrements on a flat dish is centuries old. Charcuterie originated in France from a time when every bit of fresh meat available was used to create salted, hard sausages or dry-aged meat products that did not require refrigeration.

While the word charcuterie refers specifically to preserved meats (think salami, prosciutto, soppressata), in the last few years it has come to define about any food presented on a board or platter that allows guests to serve themselves.

Charcuterie is a given at Cellar Wine Bistro because it goes so well with wine, says Michelle Wise, who co-owns the downtown Lafayette wine bar with her sister Marla Milner.

“People expect it at a wine bar and we’re the only one in town,” Wise says. “We sell a lot of charcuterie and cheese boards.”

The bistro gets most of its meat from the Indianapolis-based Smoking Goose meatery and serves charcuterie with such interesting ingredients as lamb and elk, along with more traditional pork. European cheeses are on the menu as well as local selections and some from around the Midwest. The cheese and meat boards include lots of extras such as crostini, dried fruit, marcona almonds and house-made spreads.

 

Few other local restaurants offer charcuterie, but you’ll find it on the menu at The Fowler House Kitchen, and Bistro 501 offers a cheese board that includes house-made crackers, pickles and fruit preserves. 

For Hannah Esteban, owner of The Charcutie Girl, charcuterie is both passion and vocation. Esteban fell in love with the idea after visiting Italy in 2016 and began making boards at home for friends and family. After attending Bible college in Oklahoma, Esteban and her husband, Kelson, moved back to Indiana in 2018 and bought her grandparents’  farmhouse in White County.

On Valentine’s week, 2021, she decided to test the retail waters and posted a picture of one of her creations on social media, offering to do custom boards. She was surprised when 60 orders came in, and the online business took off. 

“Pretty quickly I thought, ‘Man, if I’m going to do this I have to get permits and licensing and get my business set up through the state,’” Esteban says. “It was kind of overwhelming, and it’s all been a learning process.”

The orders kept flooding in, so she obtained state permits and insurance and earned certification through ServSafe, which teaches food safety and handling procedures. Esteban also found space at a commercial kitchen in Carroll County where she prepares and assembles charcuterie boards, boxes, mini-boxes and even individual cups for corporate events and parties. She also delivers the products she creates. 

“It’s very labor intensive,” she says. “I wash every vegetable and piece of fruit, chop it all up, make salami roses, and assemble everything. It’s just a lot of prep work. We have something for everyone now and just put our own twist on it.” 

That “something for everyone” statement is not really hyperbole. In January, she began providing snack boxes to the two locally owned Java Jo’z coffee shops, and they frequently sell out. She can prepare vegetarian boards, offers number-shaped boxes for special birthdays and anniversaries, prepares candy and sweet trays and her favorite — grazing tables. 

Prepared for a minimum of 30 guests, the grazing tables feature a spectacular array of meat, cheese, bread, crackers, dips and spreads, honey and preserves, veggies, fruit, chocolate and other sweets. They are assembled on site and she sometimes hires a family member or friend to help with assembling such large orders, Esteban says. 

Esteban also pairs up with other small businesses to offer classes on creating your own charcuterie boards. For a per-person price, she provides the food and a platter for each one attending, gives instructions, and sends a finished board home with each guest. 

This busy entrepreneur is expanding her reach and has secured a lease for space in Market Square Shopping Center on Elmwood Avenue in Lafayette. She plans to open a store there in September that will feature a small café with retail space for gifts and a room for classes and private gatherings. In the meantime,  her products can be ordered through her colorful website — thecharcutiegirl.com.

And it’s easier than ever to create your own charcuterie at home. Local stores, from Aldi to Fresh Thyme, offer pre-assembled packs of meat and cheese and a nice selection of salami, summer sausage, cheese, olives and other accompaniments. 

If you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan options for a board, look no further than downtown Lafayette’s Rose Market. Owner Tracy Deno has stocked up on such specialty items as fig hard “salami” that is plant-based, gluten free and comes in four flavors. It looks like a cured meat, and has a spicy, fruity flavor that pairs well with cheese.

The store also offers products from Herbivores Butcher, which produces vegan “meat” and dairy-free cheese products. You’ll find shelves of vegan honey, nut butters, spreads, condiments, dipping sauces and pickled vegetables.

“We’ve gone in this direction for those people who are trying to eat differently,” Deno says. “We’re always looking for new products for vegans and vegetarians.”

Rose Market also offers a few charcuterie boards and accessories, so there’s no excuse to not get fancy with your party snacks.  ★

BY MEGAN FURST
PHOTOS PROVIDED

Wolf Park  • wolfpark.org/summer-camps 

Wolf Park, an education, conservation and research facility located in Battle Ground, offers Summer Science and Art & Enrichment camps for children of all ages. 

Two-day camps are arranged for grades K-8 and vary by theme, date and age group. For example, children in grades 4-5 will explore ecosystems, and children in grades K-1 will learn about the wonders of wildlife in their backyards and beyond.

Education and Advocacy Director Christopher Lile says, “Wolf Park’s summer camps provide a unique opportunity for youth to connect to the rich history of Indiana’s wildlife. Campers learn about wildlife conservation, animal husbandry and how to become wildlife advocates through engaging games, crafts and activities.”

There also are opportunities for teens ages 14-17 to be wildlife advocates in an 8-week volunteer program geared for those interested in pursuing a career in wildlife. An additional opportunity, called Junior Keeper Camp, is a 2-day experience that introduces youth to the field of wildlife conservation where campers will carry out daily keeper duties at Wolf Park.

Lastly, new this summer is Art & Enrichment Camp for grades K-8. Campers will use their artistic skills through nature and conservation-themed projects. The projects will serve as enrichment for several of the animal ambassadors throughout Wolf Park. 

“All youth programs focus on empowering the next generation of conservation champions — their voices are essential to ‘Save Wolves, Save Wilderness,’ ” Lile says.

Dance Moves & Gymnastics (DMG) • flipdmg.com/camps 

Dance Moves & Gymnastics, also known as DMG, is on Meijer Drive in Lafayette and offers several different summer camp options.

Dance Director & Marketing Manager Kaitlyn Williams says, “DMG is the place to be for summer camps, starting at age 18 months with Mommy and Me camps though school-age children.” 

Three-day camps feature different themes including princess, adventure island, jungle gym and Olympic dreams. One-day Mommy and Me camps also are themed and geared for toddlers from 18 months to 3 years old.

“We have dance, gymnastics and baton twirling with fun performances. Come help us celebrate 40 years of DMG this summer,” says Williams.

For youth interested in cheerleading or baton twirling, campers have the opportunity to perform at a Lafayette Aviators baseball game at Loeb Stadium. Registration for all DMG summer camps begins in April.

Greater Lafayette Commerce Robotics in Manufacturing
greaterlafayettecommerce.com/robotics-in-manufacturing-camp 

Organized by Greater Lafayette Commerce and in partnership with local Boys & Girls Clubs, Robotics in Manufacturing Camp provides week-long day camp sessions to area students in grades 1-8. Sessions vary by location and grade, but all focus on educating youth about the applications of new technology in modern manufacturing.

Workforce Development Director Kara Webb says, “Robotics in Manufacturing Camp is a great summer activity for campers in our region. Campers develop and grow in their knowledge of coding and programming in a fun environment with robotics, 3D printers and more. We bring in local industry at the camps as well.”  

A typical day at camp rotates children through stations that build upon what they learned the day before. Stations will cover EV3 robots, Sphero robots, littleBits, 3D printing, Scratch coding software and more. It’s a great way to get hands-on with manufacturing skills and processes while meeting local manufacturers.

“Campers get to engage with local manufacturing and logistics employers to learn about what is created and produced in their backyard, and what careers they have in the industry,” Webb explains. “I’m always fascinated by how creative and innovative the campers are!”

Civic Youth Summer Theatre • lafayettecivic.org/camps 

Civic Theatre in Greater Lafayette hosts a number of camps serving youth interested in choreography, singing, acting, musical theatre, improvisation, design and performance. This summer, Civic Theatre has planned the following camps: Choreography; Theatre Intensive; Rising Stars Camp: Moana’s Island Vibes; Out of the Box; and Curtains Up Camp: Disney’s Moana, Jr.

“Summer camps with Civic Theatre are incredible opportunities for kids to develop performance skills and theatre knowledge in a fun and team-focused environment. The most beneficial takeaways the campers have shared have been the friendships, sense of accomplishment and self-confidence gained from working together towards a common goal,” says Julie Baumann, director of education and outreach.

As an example, the Curtains Up Camp will prepare camp participants for a final, full-scale production of “Moana, Jr.” with lights, sound and costumes. Technical crew members are also needed for this production. Interested teens should email Julie at julie@lafayettecivic.org for possible tech crew openings. Positions include set construction, sound board operators and backstage crew members.   

Wild About Horses • wildabouthorses.net/summer-camp-2018 

Wild About Horses Equestrian Center, located in West Point, was established in 1998 by Pam Bowen Gibson. She focuses on teaching the fundamentals of a balanced rider through horsemanship, partnership on the ground, kindness and respect for horses. 

Her summer camp program, going on 24 years now, includes two  lessons per day in this week-long camp. The week concludes with a Friday afternoon horse show, open to camper families and friends. Children ages 7 and older are welcome and are encouraged to bring a change of clothes and boots. 

Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department
lafayette.in.gov • columbianparkzoo.org

McAllister Center Summer Camp: Children ages 6-12 are welcome to the McAllister Center each summer for day camp full of fun activities. Campers go on field trips to the City of Lafayette’s aquatic facilities and parks. They’re also able to visit the movie theater and bowling alley. 

Registration is available in weekly sessions, and there are discounts for households with multiple campers. Before and after care services are included in the weekly fees, and a junior counselor program is an option for 13-14 year-olds.

Columbian Park Zoo Camp: Zoo day camp programs are planned for children ages 3-14 with a variety of themes and schedules. Zoo Cub mini-camp is organized for children ages 3-4 in three-day sessions. Preschoolers experience hands-on animal encounters, games, crafts and other activities. Children also enjoy supervised outings to zoo exhibits. 

Learning Adventures Camps are offered to three different age groups: ages 5-7, ages 8-11 and ages 12-14. The learning camps highlight nature-based topics alongside hands-on activities and animal 

encounters. Behind-the-scenes tours are a popular addition to zoo camp as well as games, crafts and STEM activities. 

The campers in the oldest age group get an inside look at what it’s like being a zookeeper. This unique week-long day camp has been offered at the Columbian Park Zoo for over a decade, and it’s perfect for those interested in animal-related careers. Campers work alongside staff zookeepers and gain experience with public speaking in front of small groups of zoo visitors.

West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department
westlafayette.in.gov

West Lafayette Wellness Center Summer Camp: After celebrating its one-year anniversary since opening, the West Lafayette Wellness Center is ready to host campers for a second summer. Children ages 6-11 participate in this day camp for one-week sessions. Campers get to make a splash in the indoor pool, participate in both indoor and outdoor sports and games, create crafts, go on field trips and enjoy special guest speakers.

Lilly Nature Center Camp: In addition to the camp held at the wellness center, the West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department is also hosting a new summer camp at the Lilly Nature Center off Lindberg Road. Children will explore a new, nature-themed day camp for each week-long session. Session themes cover such topics as insects, wildlife, plants and geology.

Head Camper Program: Area teens ages 13-15 are invited to apply for a new Head Camper Program at the West Lafayette Wellness Center. Participants will gain leadership skills and work experience in a day camp setting. Head campers have to undergo an interview process and must be responsible, enthusiastic, reliable and be willing to serve as role models to the younger campers.

Boiler Kids Camp • purdue.edu/recwell/sports-and-programs

After a two-year hiatus due to Purdue’s COVID-19 policies, Boiler Kids Camp is returning this summer at Purdue RecWell. Youth ages 5-12 register for week-long sessions. 

Activities include rock climbing, swimming, arts and crafts, cooking, games and visits to on-campus landmarks. Before and after care services are included, and both RecWell members and non-members are welcome.

YMCA – Camp Tecumseh  • camptecumseh.org

Located on the banks of the Tippecanoe River in Brookston sits Camp Tecumseh. There are a variety of camp options for kids ages 5-12, including overnight, equestrian and day camps as well as adventure trips. 

Summer day camps are themed, week-long sessions full of planned activities that include games, horseback riding, swimming, arts and crafts, archery, obstacle courses, fishing, nature adventures and more. With more than 600 acres to explore through trails, lakes and pools, there’s opportunity for a new adventure every day in this faith-based environment led by expertly trained counselors.

YMCA – Straight Arrow Day Camp • lafayettefamilyymca.org

The YMCA hosts the Straight Arrow Day Camp just outside Lafayette at Camp Treece for weekly sessions during the summer. Camp sessions are themed with related activities that include swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, archery, obstacle courses and team building.

Campers are divided into age groups: Preschool Camp for ages 3-5, Regular Camp for ages 5-9 and Youth in Action overnight camp for ages 10-12. Straight Arrow Day Camp also offers a Junior Counselor Camp for youth ages 13-15.

Bus transportation is provided for pick-up and drop-off from the YMCA. Additionally, a pick-up and drop-off site is available at West Lafayette Elementary School.  ★

BY ANGELA K. ROBERTS
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Sunlight streams through the windows of the red-painted brick building at 623 Main St., casting soft rays into the vintage space. On a white painted cabinet between the front door and the check-out counter, packages of walnut shortbread cookies rest on an elevated cake plate, while clusters of biscotti stand at attention in ivory mugs bearing the bakery’s logo. Nearby on the same wooden countertop, handmade doily bags bearing pieces of chocolate hang from the branches of a gilded tree, while a house plant on a marble-top stand adds a contrasting green to the vignette.

In this Pinterest-perfect space, gallery-white walls and honeyed wood floors serve as the backdrop for carefully curated displays of dozens of different pastries, all handmade by bakers Sergei and Natasha Vasili. 

Founded eight years ago, their Scones and Doilies Bake Shop serves up European-inspired, made-from-scratch baked goods that are as delicious as they are pretty.

“Our products are unique, handcrafted and freshly baked using quality ingredients. Our recipes are all original, and you’ll see seasonal flavors and varieties. For example, during Easter we make decorated Easter cookies and Greek Easter bread,” Natasha says. 

A fresh look

Natives of Albania – a mountainous coastal country situated on the western part of the Balkan Peninsula within the Mediterranean Sea – the couple worked in food service after immigrating to the United States. “We learned a lot about the industry – product trends, food safety and customer service,” Natasha explains. They baked on the side, getting rave reviews from family and friends for their pastries and decorated cakes. 

Eventually, with the encouragement of their daughters, the two launched their business at local farmers markets, using a commercial kitchen for baking. Then they moved downtown into a space that they shared with City Foods Co-Op.

Two years ago, when City Foods closed its Main Street location, the Vasilis became the sole proprietors of the space, and they set to work on freshening it up. Rustic wood walls and corrugated metal trim gave way to a cheerful, neutral and slightly boho space that allows their intricately detailed pastries to be the stars of the show. 

Their goal, says Sergei, was to make the place “feel like something different, something really unique. I think people in Greater Lafayette really enjoy that.”

Rustic and elegant

Albanian baking is a mix of Mediterranean, European, rustic and elegant, and all of that is on display in Scones and Doilies. On any given day, customers may discover gingerbread cookies piped with tiny flowers nestled next to delicately rolled pieces of baklava and berry galettes enveloped in flaky dough and sprinkled with sugar. 

Menu items vary but generally include scones in such flavors as honey fig pecan and white chocolate raspberry, challah bread, rugelach, baklava, biscotti, cookies, cupcakes, and galettes in savory flavors such as roasted vegetable and ham and cheese. Several gluten-free pastries are regularly available, including scones made on site. 

“We also craft specialty cakes, all baked to order, dense in texture with our signature buttercream icing and beautiful decorations,” Natasha says. Along with traditional flavors of chocolate and vanilla, the bakers offer specialty flavors in lemon blueberry, blackberry lime, raspberry champagne and carrot, in double-layer, triple-layer, half-sheet and full-sheet styles. Pricing varies by flavor and decoration. Some of these special orders are spotlighted on Scones and Doilies’ Instagram page, their colorful sprays of flowers puddling over iced layers. 

Sales for a cause
The Vasilis love giving back to their adopted community of Greater Lafayette as well as communities around the world. In addition to being active in the International Center at Purdue University, the couple supports Gift of Life International (GOL), a Rotarian-based organization whose mission is to provide life-saving heart surgeries to children in developing countries. 

Nine years ago, they helped to facilitate surgery in Indiana for their niece in Albania, who was born with a heart condition. Today, the couple says that Luna is a happy, healthy young girl – a testament to the partnership between GOL and Riley Hospital for Children. The couple continues to raise funds for the charity through the sales of some of their baked goods and handmade items such as doilies and mittens. 

“We’re able to support them in bringing the babies here, or sometimes they bring the doctors there,” Sergei explains of the charity, which to date has treated more than 40,000 children from 80 countries, according to the organization’s website.  ★

BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS PROVIDED

Nostalgia is defined as a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

For many of us who grew up in Greater Lafayette during the 1960s and 1970s, one of those places was Columbian Park. It had everything for children of all ages and their parents. 

A merry-go-round. A train ride. Playground equipment such as the imposing “curly” slide. Gas-powered bumper cars on a winding paved track. A large swimming pool whose fenced-off 10-foot deep section was at first scary and then a rite of passage toward adulthood.

“We’ve brought back some things for people who remember the park when they were kids,” says Jon Miner, director of operations for Lafayette Parks and Recreation.

No, “monkey island” isn’t coming back. Nor is that swimming pool or the bumper cars.

But the COVID-delayed carousel will be opening sometime this summer. Returning for a full season of operation is the train that gives riders a tour of Columbian Park, and the paddle boats.

“We’ve changed enough to adopt what people are looking for today in recreation,” Miner says. “So those families who don’t remember that can still come to the park and make their own memories. Coming to the ballpark to watch the Aviators play, going on a paddle boat ride or seeing a concert at Memorial Island. Visiting a first-rate zoo. 

“Even though the water park is different than the old pool, I think people growing up with Tropicanoe Cove will have the same memories we had of the old round pool. There’s a lot there for the community and people of all ages. Bringing back the paddle boats, the train and the carousel will add to that experience.”

It’s been more than 20 years since the last time a merry-go-round entertained children in Columbian Park. The 42-foot diameter carousel, which was budgeted for $600,000, will feature 36 carved horses and other animals. Morgan Constructors of Lafayette built the building that will contain the carousel.

“Once that’s up we’ll have a full allotment of rides,” Miner says. 

“I think it’s probably the thing most people are excited about. The paddle boats kind of surprised people last year when we said we were bringing them back. That brought a lot of nostalgia back. We’ll experience some of that same thing with the carousel. I think the carousel will be that same type of experience for those of us who remember the old carousel at Columbian Park, and for kids who didn’t experience that it’ll add another reason to come to the park. I think the community will be really, really pleased.”

The carousel and the restrooms under construction on the site of the former Jenks Rest building will wrap up several years of renovation at Columbian Park.

“We’re really looking forward to this summer since it’s going to be the first since 2018 where we haven’t had any construction happening inside the park,” Miner says. “Once that carousel is in, we’re going to have a good year where people will come and not have any construction fences up and around. It’s exciting to get to see what you want to see and not have to worry about restricted parking or ‘we can’t go over there because it’s under construction.’ ”

The new restrooms will serve the east side of Columbian Park that is home to Memorial Island as well as the SIA Playground and the picnic shelters.

“While bathrooms are typically not the most exciting thing to construct, they are critical infrastructure,” Miner says. 

The biggest news coming out of Columbian Park during the past few months came from the zoo. Six of the nine African penguins died after contracting avian malaria.

The three surviving penguins – Shazam, Sagely and Donner – are “doing well,” according to Miner.

“They’ve gained weight and are holding their own,” he says. “I am not a veterinarian nor an animal person but I think we’re past the illness stage with them. There can be some long-term effects of avian malaria on surviving penguins. It’s a matter of keeping an eye on that and making sure we’re doing the things necessary to keep them healthy.”

The Columbian Park Zoo is set to open April 16. 

By that time, the zoo’s neighbor – Loeb Stadium – will be home to Lafayette Jeff high school baseball for the second consecutive year following Loeb’s renovation.

Loeb also will host a movie night on April 22. The animated film “Onward,” featuring the voices of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer, will be the second movie shown at the ballpark following “Elf” this past fall.

The Lafayette Aviators summer collegiate baseball team opens its home schedule at Loeb Stadium June 1 against Terre Haute.

Residing west of Loeb Stadium, Tropicanoe Cove is preparing to launch its 23rd season. The water slides that remind some park-goers of the old Big Dipper slide is back for the fourth year.

“That’s hard to believe for those of us who remember the old round swimming pool,” Miner says.

Once the carousel and new restrooms open, that will be the last of planned construction at Columbian Park until possibly 2023. That’s a potential date to replace some of the equipment at the SIA Playground, which sits on the land formerly occupied by the pool.

“Playgrounds have a shelf life, and the SIA Playground is approaching 23 years,” Miner says. “That gets to be about the point in time you have to start looking at replacing some of those pieces for safety.”

Future plans also include bringing exhibits featuring primates and North American cats to the zoo. 

Also in the next year or so, fishing may be allowed again in the lagoon, which Miner was proud to say still has crystal clear water following years of decay and mud buildup.

“We’re continuing to work on the ecosystem in the lagoon,” Miner says. “We did a lot of stocking (of fish) last fall. It’s not going to be ready for fishing quite yet. The fish that are in there won’t be of size, but we’re working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Purdue on stocking it with the appropriate species.”  ★

BY KAT BRAZ
FOWLER PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
FLOWERS PROVIDED BY RUBIA FLOWER MARKET IN WEST LAFAYETTE

Are you dreaming of glamour or country chic?  Looking for a comfortable business setting or a place to unwind?  Book your next event at one of Greater Lafayette’s premier venues for that perfect spot.

Photo by Marta Lewis

Fowler House Mansion 
909 South St., Lafayette • fowlerhouse.org

Built by Moses Fowler in 1852, the house is considered one of the finest examples of a large Gothic Revival residence still standing in the United States. Ornately carved woodwork adorns surfaces throughout, and the ceilings in the north and south parlors feature elaborate plasterwork. With a combined indoor/outdoor seating of 150-200, the mansion is an iconic location for weddings and other private rentals. The Tudor-style formal dining room and Italian-style tiered patio and formal gardens combine to create an elegant and refined setting. On-site catering services ranging from charcuterie and crudités to full-scale entrées or buffet are available to enhance any event. All proceeds from rentals and catering benefit the 1852 Foundation, established to preserve the mansion. 

Duncan Hall
619 Ferry St., Lafayette • duncanhall.org
With its striking architectural details and stately grandeur, Duncan Hall evokes an unforgettable experience for guests. A variety of rooms from the intimate Victorian tearoom to the majestic ballroom can accommodate parties large and small. Benefactor Thomas Duncan bequeathed the resources to build this gracious, Colonial-style building, and the hall’s mission carries on Duncan’s wish to provide a place for cultural, educational and celebratory events that enrich the community. Since 1931, the hall has hosted myriad events, including plays, art shows, ballroom dances, wedding receptions, community forums and fundraisers — even a speech by JFK in 1959. 

Gathering Acres Event Center 
5074 E 550 S, Lafayette • gatheringacres.com 
Situated in a picturesque country setting overlooking a pond, Gathering Acres provides an idyllic spot to tie the knot. A four-bedroom, two-bath bridal suite located in the main house is also available for rental. The 8,000-square-foot facility can accommodate 300 attendees and is climate controlled and available for year-round events. The charming space is accented by wooden chandeliers and plank flooring. There’s also a 1,500-square-foot covered patio that seats 75 with an expansive view of the countryside. Not just for nuptials, this event center books company events, church retreats, graduation parties, quinceañeras and family reunions.  

History Center
522 Columbia St., Lafayette • tippecanoehistory.org
This newly renovated history center in the heart of downtown Lafayette offers several spaces well suited for a variety of events. The former home of the Masonic Lodge of Lafayette, a building now owned and operated by the Tippecanoe County Historical Association, includes an auditorium with optional dance floor and a commercial kitchen. There’s also a banquet hall, a lounge and plans to install a hardscaped brick patio. TCHA purchased the building in 2017 as a curatorial event space, offering affordable rentals and adaptable space, particularly for other area nonprofit organizations.     

Lafayette Country Club
1500 S. Ninth St., Lafayette • lafayettecountryclub.com

Billed as an everyday oasis, the Lafayette Country Club has provided a nearby vacation spot for area families since it opened in 1909. Available for weddings and other special events as well as meetings and luncheons, the facilities accommodate banquet events from 10 to 300 people as well as private meeting rooms and a conference center with a board room. While it is preferred that all non-members have a member host the event, it does have the capacity to sponsor events to non-members. Available catering menus include everything from simple refreshments to decked out buffets with a carving station. 

New Journey Farms
2181 S 800 E, Lafayette • newjourneyfarms.com

Located on nearly 14 acres in a secluded country setting, New Journey Farms offers both indoor and outdoor ceremony sites with the ability to host up to 350 guests, and ample parking. The climate-controlled facility allows for year-round use and provides modern amenities such as spacious private bridal suites. Large, covered porches perfect for socializing with refreshments flank the building and a grand staircase allows couples to make a memorable entrance. Polished concrete floors and lofted white ceilings contribute to an airy, bright vibe and modern ambiance.   

Northend Community Center 
2000 Elmwood Ave., Lafayette • faithlafayette.org/northend

Multiple community, conference and break-out rooms accommodate groups of various sizes at the Northend Community Center. A commercial kitchen stocked with amenities, a gymnasium with two full-size basketball courts and an innovation center with work tables for creative endeavors also are available for rent. The community center is an entity of Faith Ministries.  

The Stables Event Center
7071 S 100 E, Lafayette • thestableseventcenter.com

Clad in wood paneling with wagon wheel chandeliers, the Stables Event Center is awash in rustic chic elements. The family-owned facility is nestled on 40 acres of pastures and woodlands with a creek and horse farm providing attractive backdrops for photos. Sliding barn doors open to a spacious covered patio with firepit that looks out on to the bucolic countryside. Private bridal suites, ample catering and bar space and plenty of parking allow for a flawless event. The Stables is available for a range of events from live concerts to parties, even prom!  

Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds
1401 Teal Road, Lafayette • tippecanoecountyfairgrounds.com

Reopened in 2021 following a $21 million investment in renovations, the fairgrounds event center anchors the complex and provides a welcoming home for traditional fair, farm and animal-related events. The large, multi-purpose facility consisting of the coliseum and three wings is equipped with state-of-the-art audio equipment and rigging points. The space can be divided as needed to accommodate smaller rentals. There’s also a large fully appointed commercial kitchen available. The fairgrounds offers a number of other buildings and grounds for rent, too, including the west pavilion, horse barn, outdoor festival area and shelter house. 

Wea Creek Orchard5618 S 200 E, Lafayette • weacreekorachard.com

Owned and operated by three families who are descended from the pioneers who purchased the farm in 1855, Wea Creek Orchard and its 3,600-square-foot vintage barn create a lovely setting for weddings, showers, graduation parties and special events. Delight guests with wagon rides and incorporate orchard produce into your celebration. There’s plenty of space for yard games and a bonfire surrounded by wooden benches and hay bales. 

West Lafayette Golf and Country Club
3224 US Hwy 52 W, West Lafayette • wlgcc.com

The West Lafayette Golf and Country Club has been serving the community since 1941. Its remodeled clubhouse banquet facility complements the stunning golf course grounds the space overlooks. Services are offered to the public as well as to club members, so there are no limitations on who can book an event. Multiple dining rooms offer seating for events accommodating 25 to 300 guests. Whether it’s an elegant wedding, reception or rehearsal dinner, a golf outing or an important business affair, the country club staff attends to every detail from event coordination to custom menu creation. 

Rat Pak Venue
102 N Third St., Lafayette • ratpakvenue.com

With exposed brick walls, tin ceiling and enormous windows that overlook the Tippecanoe County Courthouse, Rat Pak Venue features architectural details befitting a glitzy city event. Whether it’s a wedding, graduation party, corporate gathering or social event, the combined ballroom and lounge can seat 220 guests or accommodate more intimate engagements. The name Rat Pak stems from the company’s mobile DJ services that are available to enhance any event, in addition to bar catering.  ★

BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
COLLAGE PHOTOS PROVIDED

A small name change can go a long way. For The Arts Federation — known locally as TAF — the removal of Tippecanoe actually means more gains than losses.

Tetia Lee, TAF executive director, says the name has always caused a little bit of confusion. People have been known to refer to “Taft,” she says. Or when she’s out in the field, working with artists in other counties, the Tippecanoe label seemed to fall a little flat. 

Because as a Regional Arts Partner of the Indiana Arts Commission, TAF serves more than half a million residents in a 14-county area in north-central Indiana, the largest geographic area in the state. It’s much more than Tippecanoe County, and the time had come for the name to truly reflect that.

Thus with this rebranding, The Arts Federation helps to more accurately represent the counties represented by Region 4. 

Since 1997, TAF has provided support for artists and is the umbrella organization for more than 200 different member organizations. This encompasses everything from vocal and instrumental music organizations — large established ones such as the Wabash Valley Youth Symphony, or smaller ones like the Jazz Club — as well as individual artists — painters, sculptors, weavers or writers. Even performance venues such as the Long Center for the Performing Arts are members, using TAF services to help them network and reach their audience, or expand to a new one. 

TAF provides a physical home for those groups who need it, in their newly renovated facility, the Wells Community Cultural Center on North Street in downtown Lafayette.

The building has large and small meeting spaces, a dance studio, recording studio and craft space. TAF offers after-school arts programming for children of all ages. 

Financial support also is available to member organizations, as TAF helps administer a series of grants, both state and federally funded, both for operating and project support, to its members. 

The whole change began with a website redesign, Lee says. The organization knew it needed to update the site, make it more user-friendly, for ease of access.

“Our greatest change, we knew we would be overhauling our website to make it more beneficial and add some widgets,” Lee says. “We knew we wanted to do a rebrand.”

As they began to go through their style guide, emphasis fell back on the logo, which, Lee had known for a long time was less than ideal. With its multiple elements, it tried a little too hard to 

represent too much, says Lee. 

And a market test found that people found the old logo unrelatable. “People thought we were a manufacturing company,” Lee says. 

“It was a printer’s nightmare,” Lee says. “No one would even embroider it for us.” The new logo, a more simplistic yet visually appealing design, represents the arts with a sleeker, more cohesive look. 

New logo, new name — sort of — yet the same mission. And best of all, the acronym TAF is still accurate, so there’s no learning curve for longtime members. This rebranding will help better spread this message to the people TAF wishes to serve. And in the end, the new name better represents TAF’s mission and its outreach to the entire region.

“When I was out in the field, it was hard to gain trust because we had Tippecanoe in the name,” Lee says. “We are a regional arts organization. 

We want everything to reflect our focus.”  ★

 

BY RADONNA FIORINI
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

With warmer temperatures and the promise of locally grown fruits and vegetables just around the corner, some restaurants are freshening up their menus from the comforting warmth of winter to the bright palate of spring.

Outdoor tables are being dusted off and fresh, herby menu options are popping up. Here’s a look at some of the changes coming for spring at area dining establishments.

The Bryant
1820 Sagamore Parkway W, West Lafayette
765-250-8963

Executive Chef Alejandro “Alex” Cruz is all about fresh from farm to table when he creates seasonal menus at The Bryant. Spring and summer mean more local produce with which to experiment and achieve the fresh flavors he loves.

Cruz shops at the farmers markets and also buys direct from some local producers. He generally offers new items as specials and those that do well may become part of the regular menu. 

“I like to help local farmers and I like to play with flavors and offer something different,” Cruz says. 

“Having salt and pepper on the table isn’t necessary if the dish is seasoned well. I try to make something that is good, just as it is.”

This spring he’s excited about serving lamb dishes with meat purchased from a local farmer. More gluten-, dairy-free and vegan options are in the works, from entrees to desserts. Look for the gluten-free Key Lime tart with an almond flour crust.

Fresh produce means colorful sides and salads, including a Caprese salad appetizer featuring a gazpacho/kale pesto, burrata cheese and prosciutto on a crostini. Or how about a corn cake BLT with local bacon, heirloom tomatoes and avocado on homemade corn cakes adorned with honey sriracha mayo?

Really hungry? Dig into the new Monte Cristo sandwich that features local ham, Swiss cheese and cherry jam, that is dipped in batter and deep fried. Wanting something a little lighter? The new Basil Ranch salad made with arugula and baby kale and topped with blueberries, peaches, fontina cheese, candied walnuts and pancetta might fit the bill.

Teays River Brewing and Public House
3000 S. 9th St., Lafayette
765-746-6614

The patio doors are open at this south-side brewery and restaurant that focuses on artisanal sandwiches, steaks and pizza, along with unique craft beer. 

“Our patio is the most popular outdoor seating area in Lafayette,” says owner John Hodge. “We’ll have an official patio opening party in mid-May, and it will be open as often as the weather allows.” 

While the Teays River menu doesn’t change with the seasons, some warm weather specials will be offered every month. The menu was refined in late winter to reflect current supply chain and labor market challenges, says Hodge. Rising food prices and the continuing difficulty in hiring staff meant the restaurant needed to focus on the most popular, easy to prepare items. More vegetarian and vegan choices also are available.

You’ll still find hand-crafted pizza, chops, salmon, flavorful sandwiches and salads, along with an extensive menu of signature beers. Here’s to the wind in your hair and a cold one in your hand.

East End Grill
1016 Main St., Lafayette
765-607-4600

From salads to appetizers to handcrafted cocktails, the spring menu at East End will be veggie and fruit forward, says General Manager Laila Syed.

Lots of herbs and fresh vegetables play a crucial role in the lighter fare featured currently. The grill changes its menu twice a year, freshening up salads and adding some lighter fish choices in the spring. For example, the fall salad featuring apples, seeds and goat cheese has been replaced with a green salad topped with berries and candied almonds.

The chef is working on a fresh fish appetizer to accompany the menu favorites that remain throughout the year, including the Wagyu beef, which comes from a farm in Cutler, Indiana. The restaurant works with about 10 different food venders, many in the region, to find the best quality and freshest ingredients possible.

“Our handcrafted cocktails are very fruit forward for spring,” Syed says. “We also feature lighter wines and funky beers.”

Due to Indiana’s unpredictable weather, it’s hard to know when East End’s outdoor tables will be open regularly. Just head downtown when a soft, warm breeze wafts through, heralding the lengthening days and promise of fresh flavors from locally grown produce.

The Whittaker Kitchen
702 W 500 N, West Lafayette
765-441-2010
info@thewhittakerinn.com

The kitchen at the Whittaker Inn is open to the public from 4-8 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, with a reservation made 48 hours in advance. To-go orders also are welcome. Call in your reservation or send an email. 

Chef Andrew Whittaker — who owns and operates the inn with wife Elizabeth — looks forward to freshening up the dinner menu each season and sees spring as the time to feature leafy herbs and seasonal veggies.

While the protein options — steak, fish and chops — are fairly consistent year-round, side dishes, salads, sauces and soups now feature lighter, brighter flavors. There will be a few new entrée options as Whittaker is experimenting with trout this season, in addition to his popular salmon dish.

“Our winter/fall menu has more shallots and robust veggies,” Whittaker says. “Spring and summer we use more leafy herbs such as basil, which we grow out in front of the inn.”

Seasonal vegetables such as asparagus and peas are going in risotto, and salads are updated with baby tomatoes, artichoke or steamed asparagus. Regular trips to the area farmers markets keep Whittaker supplied with many of the fresh ingredients that go in his signature dishes. 

Overnight guests also enjoy a complimentary breakfast, made to order from an a la carte menu, and can raid the night kitchens, which feature fresh baked goods and beverages.

Farmers market opening soon >>

It’s almost time again for delightful strolls through one of the areas three farmers markets, all of which open the first week of May and plan to operate through October. Here are the details:

West Lafayette Farmers Market: Opens Wednesday, May 4, 3:30 – 7 p.m., in Cumberland Park, 3065 N Salisbury Street, West Lafayette. More than 50 vendors offer fresh produce and baked goods, prepared foods and juried crafts. Wine by the glass from area vineyards is featured along with food trucks. 

Purdue Farmers Market: 
Opens Thursday, May 5, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on the Purdue Memorial Mall, West Lafayette. Organizers are expecting more than 20 vendors offering produce, baked goods and prepared foods. Pay attention to parking restrictions and use nearby parking garages when possible. 

Lafayette Farmers Market: 
The area’s oldest market opens Saturday, May 7, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and will be open most Saturdays. Stretching along 5th Street in downtown Lafayette 

between Main and Ferry streets, the market features produce, meat, fresh flowers and house plants, crafts and jewelry, handmade soap, baked goods and more. ★

BY KAT BRAZ
PHOTOS PROVIDED

Any season is the ideal season to linger over a scrumptious brunch. Perfect for celebrating a special occasion, catching up with friends or cozying up with a good book, the leisurely atmosphere of brunch invites you to tarry a while. Whether you’re in the mood for sweet delights or savory noshes, 

Greater Lafayette boasts a bevy of brunch options. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite local restaurants to indulge in seriously delicious Sunday eats (and drinks!). 

8Eleven Bistro 
201 Grant St., West Lafayette

If you’ve yet to check out 8Eleven, the culinary anchor of the recently remodeled Union Club Hotel at Purdue University, brunch is a great place to start. Its intimate setting preserved the historic building’s vintage oak paneling, sweeping Gothic windows and original stone fireplace. Soak up the classy aura as you savor farm-inspired cocktails and classic American dishes with a few French signatures. 

What to try: The croque madame is sinfully delicious. The menu lists it under handhelds, but with all that silky mornay sauce, you’re going to need a fork. The nearby Boiler Up bar enhances its craft cocktails with fresh garnishes provided by the College of Agriculture. Go ahead, make it a double.  



Black Sparrow Pub

223 Main St., Lafayette

Don’t be surprised to encounter a line of people waiting to dine at the Sparrow’s legendary brunch. The eclectic pub known for a mastery of craft cocktails and innovative bar food opens on the last Sunday of the month to serve up a hearty brunch. The menu changes every month and is often themed. Past brunches celebrated Lunar New Year, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Oktoberfest.  

What to try: The frequently featured French toast with inventive toppings (think strawberry Baileys or baklava) is sure to please. You can’t go wrong sipping a greyhound. It’s half grapefruit juice so that counts as a serving of fruit, right?

501 Bistro
501 Main St., Lafayette

This airy upmarket bistro has anchored the downtown brunch scene for many years, serving up French-inspired fare that highlights local ingredients. Executive chef Cheyenne Buckley changes the menu with the seasons so there are always new flavor combinations to explore. Reservations recommended. 

What to try: The waffle Monte Cristo with blackberry maple dip offers an imaginative twist on an old brunch favorite. A delectable menu of boozy cocktails and virgin mocktails will keep you refreshed. 

Cellar Wine Bistro 
1001 Main St., Lafayette

Open for brunch on the first and third Sundays of the month, the inviting ambiance at Cellar Wine Bistro creates a relaxing brunch vibe. The much-coveted window table for two allows you to watch the world go by as you dine. Chef Ethan Wise enjoys introducing atypical menu items that showcase global flavors. Reservations accepted. 

What to try: For an intense 
flavor explosion order the okonomiyaki, a cabbage and sweet potato pancake topped with marinated pork shoulder and a poached egg. Mimosas are a must at the area’s premier wine bar.  

Folie
526 Main St., Lafayette

Billed as a casual, upscale eatery featuring seasonal French and New American plates, Folie may be the gem of Main Street. Though its brunch took a hiatus at the end of 2021, we look forward to its return this year. With a kitchen that focuses on classic preparation and draws inspiration from regional and global gastronomy, guests embark on a culinary adventure during every visit. Watch Folie’s Facebook page for updates on the brunch schedule. Reservations accepted.

What to try: The ever-popular plántanos fritos (fried plantains) are divine. When paired with a chelada (Mexican beer cocktail) the combo is sensational.

Fowler House Mansion
909 South St., Lafayette

The Fowler House Kitchen hosts brunch once a month on the second Sunday. Take in the grandeur of one of Lafayette’s most stately homes, built in 1852 by Moses and Eliza Fowler. Despite the opulence of the ornately carved woodwork and exquisitely crafted plasterwork throughout the Gothic Revival home, this brunch is a casual affair. The best part? Proceeds from brunch help fund the continued preservation of the Fowler House Mansion. Reservations recommended.

What to try: Though the menu is ever-rotating, a savory biscuits and gravy is a signature entrée. The bar serves both mimosas and bloody Marys.

Sixth Street Dive
827 N. Sixth St., Lafayette

This no-frills watering hole specializes in Tex-Mex and American comfort fare, and those flavors influence the weekly brunch menu as well. As Diverienos know, brunch specials here are truly innovative and unlike anything served elsewhere in town. If apple cinnamon breakfast tamales in a whiskey cream sauce won’t get you out of bed on a lazy Sunday morning, what will? 21+ only.

What to try: Anything on special. Truly. And if you’ve never experienced the decadent Canadian grub that is poutine (French fries topped with fresh cheese curds and gravy), this is a good place to be indoctrinated. Not only does the Dive serve mimosas, but they serve beermosas and margmosas, too. ★

BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS PROVIDED

Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden and his defending national champion UCLA team were the first to find out that Mackey Arena is a difficult place to play for Purdue basketball opponents.

A team featuring Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) came within a last-second shot of being the Boilermakers’ first upset victim when Mackey Arena opened on Dec. 2, 1967. More than 14,400 also witnessed Rick Mount’s debut in a Purdue uniform. The Indiana Mr. Basketball from Lebanon nearly shot the Boilermakers to victory with a game-high 28 points in a 73-71 loss.

Since then, Purdue has won more than 650 men’s basketball games, been home to the Big Ten Conference’s only women’s basketball national championship team and set a record attendance mark (10,645) for an NCAA women’s volleyball match.

Purdue men’s basketball, which achieved the No. 1 ranking in The Associated Press poll in December, expects to fill Mackey Arena’s more than 14,000 seats for every game in the 2021-22 season. 

“Without question it gives us an advantage,” says Matt Painter, in his 17th season as Purdue’s head coach and a four-year letterman under his predecessor, Gene Keady, from 1989-93.

“The noise, the way it bounces off the ceiling, I think that’s a bit of a difference in how loud it gets. I used to always walk into the locker room after we win close games and say I don’t know if we would have won that game anywhere else in the country besides Mackey Arena. There’s no question the fans get us six to 10 points with the atmosphere here.”

The loudest Mackey Arena crowd was registered at 122.3 decibels during a 2017 victory against Indiana. That decibel level has been compared to sitting in the front row at a rock concert or the sound of a thunderclap overhead.

The noise quickly gets the attention of visitors and fans watching the games on TV.

“There is a possibility that Mackey Arena at Purdue is the loudest venue in college hoops. It kinda hurts to work here actually,” says ESPN’s Dave Flemming.

Mackey Arena was hailed as “the first of its kind among collegiate sports facilities” when groundbreaking for the circular concrete and steel structure with a domed roof took place on July 20, 1965.

For more than 50 years, Purdue has gotten its money’s worth from the $6 million investment that replaced the old arena inside Lambert Fieldhouse next door. 

Originally named Purdue Arena, it gained its current name in March 1972 when the facility was named in honor of long-time athletic director Guy “Red” Mackey, who had died the year before. 

On Dec. 12, 1997, the floor of Mackey Arena was declared “Keady Court” in honor of Gene Keady, the winningest coach in Boilermaker basketball history.

If possible, Mackey Arena became a louder place to watch and play a basketball game when an organized student section was added in the early 2000s. Originally called “The Gene Pool” to salute Keady, the organized body was renamed “The Paint Crew” when Painter replaced Keady in 2005.

Purdue senior Bryce Randolph, vice president of The Paint Crew, takes pride in doing his part to help the Boilermakers intimidate rivals.

“From the opening tip to the final buzzer, every single fan in Mackey is into the game,” Randolph says. “Mackey is such a tough place because of how engaged and passionate the fan base is every day and especially every game. Every game is insanely loud and it does not matter who they are playing against.”

Randolph cited a 96-52 victory against Wright State early in the 2021-22 season. 

“Purdue was up 30 points in the first half and the crowd would go crazy for every dunk or big 3-pointer the team had,” he says. 

The Paint Crew’s support hasn’t gone unnoticed by the players. Senior guard Sasha Stefanovic notices during pre-game warmups that the Paint Crew is usually full an hour to 90 minutes before tipoff.

“You feel our students right on top of you, always yelling,” Stefanovic says. “It feels very intimate at the same time. The intimate feel is something you notice right away.” 

The deafening roar of Mackey Arena sometimes has its drawbacks. At Mackey’s loudest moments, Painter can’t call plays for his team and his players can’t hear what he’s saying.

“More or less, you can’t hear yourself think when it gets that loud,” Painter says. “You will have a moment or two every now and then where you are like, ‘This is unbelieveable.’ You become a spectator at times because (the players) can’t hear you. It is a pretty cool setup when it gets that loud. Even though it might be a little harder for us, it’s definitely harder for your opponent.”

Adds Stefanovic: “I’m telling you there are tons of times we don’t understand (Painter), can’t hear. Ball screen assignments, plays. Sometimes you practice with crowd noise when it’s going to be a big game. It’s a good problem to have.” 

Mackey Arena was a quiet place to play during the 2020-21 season, when only family was allowed to attend games due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Painter wondered how his players would react to playing before crowds this season. Only junior guard Isaiah Thompson and Painter’s three scholarship seniors (Eric Hunter Jr., Stefanovic, Trevion Williams) had experienced Mackey Arena at its most boisterous.

“Our freshmen and sophomores had never played in a sold-out Mackey until this year,” Painter says. “Those guys walking into their first game and having a sellout in an exhibition, they think that’s the way it is. It’s not normally the way it is.

“Your exhibitions, they might call them a sellout but you don’t see 14,000 people there like this year. I think it was something pretty cool for all of us, to be out for a year and then be able to see a sellout every single game.”

It’s been more than 30 years since Painter played his first game as a Boilermaker in Mackey Arena. While he doesn’t remember many details, one memory stands out.

“I remember how much Coach Keady was fired up at the time,” Painter says. “I’m thinking, ‘Man, is he like this all the time?’ He was really amped up because the season before they hadn’t played as well. I was fired up watching him.

“He would try to get the crowd even more amped up than they already were. I’m a little different how I’m wired. I’m constantly trying to keep my poise and think about the next thing coming up.”

Stefanovic was 11 years old when he experienced Mackey Arena for the first time. Thanks to his brother, a Purdue student, Stefanovic found a seat among The Paint Crew when Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore led fourth-ranked Purdue past sixth-ranked West Virginia on New Year’s Day 2010.

“It was a crazy, crazy environment,” Stefanovic recalls. “Those are definitely vivid memories.”

Randolph grew up imagining himself wearing a Purdue uniform in Mackey Arena. The next best thing was becoming a part of The Paint Crew when he enrolled at Purdue. 

“After getting in, I fell in love with going to the games with all my friends,” Randolph says. “I really feel like we have a huge impact on the games. The loudest I have heard it was against IU during the (2019)-20 season. Eric Hunter had a breakaway dunk to end the half and Mackey exploded.

“I have never been to another college arena so I cannot compare them to Mackey. But I have a hard time believing them being anything close to Mackey in terms of fan engagement and level of intimidation for opposing teams.”  ★

WHAT THE FANS SAY

“Few things feel as helpless as being on the visitor’s bench when Purdue gets rolling at Mackey Arena.” – Mark Titus, former Ohio State player

“Look up intimidation in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of Mackey Arena.” 

Loren Tate, Champaign News-Gazette

“There are some environments that can’t be replicated and Mackey Arena is one of them.” 

Kenyon Murray, former Iowa basketball player

“Mackey Arena is one of the underrated, great environments in basketball. Does not get the attention it deserves for a place that absolutely rocks.” 

Dan Shulman, ESPN

“I feel like I say this every time Purdue plays a big home game,  but Mackey is a legitimately terrifying place.” – Eamonn Brennan, The Athletic

MACKEY BY THE NUMBERS
(As of Dec. 3, 2021)

» Games played: 810

» Sellouts: 409

» Overall record: 665-145
(82 percent)

» Non-conference record: 306-38
(89 percent)

» Big Ten games: 359-107
(77 percent)

» Average attendance per game from 1967-present: 13,096

BY KAT BRAZ
PROFILE PHOTO BY CHRISTINE PETKOV, OTHERS PROVIDED

When Lauren Reed joined the staff at The Farm at Prophetstown six years ago as events and education coordinator, she had no idea her role would evolve into her dream job as an executive chef. At the time, the nonprofit Museums at Prophetstown was in the red, and Reed and then-director Leslie Conwell focused their energies on restoring livestock and crops to reinstate the working farm and attract more visitors. 

“We needed to make money and I happened to have these skills as a chef, so I suggested we try holding farm-to-table dinners,” Reed says. “The first year, I did maybe five or six with 20 guests at each dinner. It took a couple of years but it’s really become a thing.”

Indeed it has. Chef Reed’s farm-to-table dinners, where diners feast on five courses while seated in various rooms of the Gibson farmhouse, are so popular that last season’s dates sold out within two days. A few dinners each year are reserved for members of the farm, and Reed also schedules private dinners for parties of 12 or more. 

“To my knowledge, we’re the only organization offering farm-to-table dinners in a museum environment,” Reed says. “Serving on vintage china in a 1920s setting creates a special ambiance and memorable dining experience.”

Although the atmosphere reflects the ’20s — the farmhouse is a replica of a kit home sold via catalog by Sears, Roebuck & Co. outfitted with antique furnishings and decor — the menus decidedly do not. Reed describes the most notable dishes of the decade as “downright nasty” as they featured lots of mayonnaise, gelatinous concoctions and canned seafood. Instead, she draws inspiration from the seasonal ingredients — greens, starches and proteins — grown right there at Prophetstown or sourced from other local farms. 

“I love using ingredients we produce here on the farm,” Reed says. “My focus is to use local ingredients as much as possible so it pigeonholes my menus in some ways. I don’t use pineapple, for example. I do bend the rules a bit; I’m not going to cook without lemon. But I don’t put a lot of extra stuff in the food because I don’t think you need to.

You don’t need 35 ingredients on a plate to make something taste good. When you use quality ingredients, the flavors will shine through.” 

Reed’s passion for cooking became evident at an early age. Family lore holds that when her parents bathed her in the kitchen sink, she’d reach out one hand to the stand mixer on the counter and idly spin the mixing bowl. Growing up in Rossville as an only child, she remembers coming home from school and frying up batches of homemade onion rings at age 12. It was no surprise that her very first job was working in the kitchen at the Milner nursing home in Rossville. 

“I’ve always loved food and I’ve always loved cooking,” Reed says. “But I didn’t think I would become a chef. I went to school to study food nutrition and journalism. I wanted to write about food. But I never stopped cooking.” 

Reed earned her bachelor’s degree from Indiana State, cooking at commercial restaurants throughout her collegiate years. When an upscale wine bar opened in Terre Haute, she contacted the executive chef who agreed to give her a two-week trial in the kitchen. It was a trial by fire. 

“It was me and a bunch of older guys; I was the baby,” Reed says. “I was the only woman. I had to climb my way up and I did. I ended up taking the grill job from the guy who was on the grill and he never spoke English to me again. He hated me after that because he had to wash dishes.” 

Though her skills were undeniable, she still faced sexism in the kitchens where she worked in the form of lewd comments, unwanted touching and targeted harassment. At one point, she worked as the head grill cook at a busy steakhouse, grilling upwards of 50 steaks at a time to temperature. She’d be in the walk-in cooler unwrapping steaks and coworkers would turn the lights off on her. Once, the general manager cornered her in the dish room and a bunch of guys laughed as she was sprayed down with the dish hose. She had to finish the final five hours of her shift in sopping wet jeans. 

“It’s very hard to be a woman in a kitchen, especially a male-dominated kitchen, which many of them are,” Reed says. “It takes a strong personality. You have to hold your own. 

You have to work harder and you have to work smarter. It’s an unfortunate culture that I had to endure. But I’m very proud of where I’ve been able to go and now, I’m the only chef here. I don’t have anyone to disrespect me. My kitchen is my own little baby.” 

When Reed first started the dinners at Prophetstown, she worked out of a much smaller residential galley kitchen that still exists adjacent to the compact commercial kitchen nestled in the basement of the farmhouse. Former Tippecanoe County Commissioner Nola Gentry was a big supporter of the farm and its mission and donated the funding to install the sleek stainless steel commercial kitchen that serves as home base for Reed and her small team of helpers who put on the dinners. After everything is served, Reed takes time to visit with every table to express her appreciation for the diners. 

“I love the mission of the farm; I love what I do,” Reed says. “I want our guests to enjoy a unique experience, to talk with the other diners and maybe make a new friend. I hope they get to experience ingredients they haven’t tried before or perhaps haven’t had prepared in that way. That they experience this place and want to support what we do here.”  ★

About The Farm 

The Farm at Prophetstown is a historic living farm museum set on 125 acres in Prophetstown State Park complete with a 1920s Sears, Roebuck & Co. replica farmhouse, outbuildings, orchard, livestock pens, pasture and croplands. For more information about events at the farm, visit prophetstown.org. 

Reserve Your Seat

Reservations for the first wave of farm-to-table dinners this year opened January 10. A second block of dinners, scheduled from August 13 to November 4 will be available for booking on April 11. Call the farm at 765-567-4700 to claim your spot. 

Know Before You Go

• No more than six spots per reservation. Larger parties are encouraged to schedule a private dinner.

• Payment is due at the time of reservation. Refunds offered with cancellations made at least 48 hours in advance. 

• All guests must be 21 years of age or older. 

• No menu substitutions. Vegetarian options may be available upon pre-arranged request. 

• Out of respect to fellow diners, please arrive on time. 

• As a small kitchen using farm-to-table ingredients, cross-contamination of allergens cannot be prevented.

Prophetstown State Park requires guests to pay $8 per vehicle for park admission, which is free with a farm membership or annual state park pass.  

BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS PROVIDED

Greater Lafayette has been named Community of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes the community’s growth over the past decade and how it has prospered and thrived in a variety of areas, from infrastructure and jobs to beautification and quality of life. 

This year’s award looked, too, for a municipality that was a shining example during a year of weathering the pandemic.  

A large part of the credit for being chosen for this award goes to the various components that define our community, says Scott Walker, president and CEO of Greater Lafayette Commerce, and their ability to communicate, to plan, and to work together. As the application was assembled and written, Walker says, it became evident just how much planning had gone into the progress of the past 20 years.

“We looked back at where we’d been over the course of two decades, the evolution of the community, the trajectory, and why we should be considered for this award,” Walker says. 

Back at the start of the 21st century, the community looked very different. And community, Walker says, is defined as the entirety of the area, with both cities and the county governments all working together. All these governing bodies were collaborating on a vision of what they wanted to see over the coming years. Hence Lafayette Urban Enterprise, Vision 2020 and the Downtown Development Corp. all played a role, as well as incorporating input from all three school corporations, leaders in industry, the arts and recreational facilities. 

Back in 2000, the population of Tippecanoe County was at 149,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Walker said leadership could see that the community was poised for potential growth, but it wanted to be prepared and for the growth to be intentional. 

The result was these various entities examining where the community was at the time, what the trends were, and what Greater Lafayette wanted to accomplish. A clear goal was attracting business and industry that would provide good-paying jobs that would contribute to the economy and would enhance quality of life for residents. The area has a strong manufacturing workforce, and the focus on talent and workforce retention has resulted in more than 3,800 jobs being added in the past five years. This is thanks to companies as diverse as Caterpillar, Antique Candle, Copper Moon Coffee and Schweitzer Engineering Labs, to name a few. 

And along with that, Greater Lafayette needed a community that would attract these businesses; needed neighborhoods, restaurants, parks, schools, and arts and culture that would make life attractive for families. This investment came in various forms, from public projects such as Lafayette Downtown Development Plan, the Hoosier Heartland Development Plan, the Five Points Development Plan and the Wabash River Development Plan. 

 The State Street Corridor, one example of these improvement plans, was a $120 million effort that transformed State Street, a major artery that runs through the heart of West Lafayette and the Purdue University campus. The transformation reduced automotive lanes and integrated other modes of transportation. It included public transit bus pull-offs, wider sidewalks and bike paths, increasing safety and outdoor seating for local retailers and restaurateurs. It also enabled upgrades to the water and sewer infrastructure and set the stage for the redevelopment of West State Street and Discovery Park District. The effort has led to both additional privately developed housing and office facilities, as well as helping expand the community’s parks, walking and bike trail systems. 

Other major public-private projects include housing developments in both Lafayette and West Lafayette, including The Marq, Pullman Station, The Press, LUNA, The HUB, RISE and the Ellsworth. In addition, Lafayette invested in a Downtown Streetscape project, which included sidewalk improvements, art installations, outdoor dining facilities and upgrades to pedestrian traffic; these upgrades were supported in part by downtown merchants. All of these urban housing developments have helped create a downtown that is active and dynamic. These projects are supported by tax increment finance (TIF) dollars. 
Purdue University Airport
Loeb Stadium

Quality of life projects also contributed to the community’s revitalization, including a new Loeb Stadium, upgrades to the Columbian Park Zoo and Tropicanoe Cove water park, as well as other updates to Columbian Park. The Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds underwent a major renovation, and the Wabash Riverfront is looking at a $150 million investment, including the Riverfront Promenade, which was completed in 2020.

Ultimately, Walker says, all groups came together to work toward this common goal. Today, with the 2019 population at 195,732, the growth clearly did occur. And because of the planning, the communication, the collaboration, the county was prepared to absorb and accommodate that growth. As evidence? Many school districts in Indiana are seeing a decline in sizes of incoming kindergarten classes; in Tippecanoe County, schools have all seen significant growth and kindergarten class sizes have increased, says Walker. The area is clearly a destination; the $250 million investment in education over the past five years — including the implementation of the Greater Lafayette Career Academy — has paid off. 

For Walker, this award speaks, in great part, to a process. And it’s a process that involved the input of so many entities — from the cities, the county, parks departments, Purdue and the public schools, and business and industry — partnering and working together. 

“It appears that the city, the county, we’re all on the same page with the same goals and objectives,” Walker says. “We’re at a point where people are working together, collaboratively. We’re all pulling on the rope in the same direction. This is a well-run region.

“It’s that planning element that we’ve embraced in this community that works so well.”  ★

BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Jon Miner knows first-hand the magic spell Loeb Stadium has woven over Greater Lafayette youths since 1940.

In 1984, at 15, Miner stepped foot on the Loeb Stadium infield for the first time as a member of Lafayette Jeff’s freshman baseball team and as a player for Firefighters in the Colt Recreation League.

“Growing up in this community and playing youth baseball, that was always a big deal to go to Loeb Stadium and watch a baseball game (and) hopefully play there one day,” says Miner, who played two years of varsity baseball at Jeff and visited Loeb Stadium as a senior member of the McCutcheon High School team.

Miner is now the director of operations for the Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department. At the time of this interview, the renovated Loeb Stadium was just a few weeks away from opening day.

The renovation project spearheaded by Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski will make sure thousands of baseball players – and hopefully other athletes – will continue to play inside Loeb Stadium for decades to come. The renovation, which was estimated to cost $20 million, was completed on schedule for Lafayette Jeff’s baseball season opener against Central Catholic on March 31.

“The driving vision behind it, Mayor Roswarski who grew up in this community and knowing the history of Loeb Stadium, was to design and build a facility that would last another 80 years, like the old Loeb Stadium did, if not longer,” Miner says. “To give this community not just a wonderful venue for baseball but a wonderful venue for other community events.”

Roswarski’s vision for the new Loeb Stadium includes the potential to host soccer and football games as well as non-sporting events such as concerts. The new stadium has a seating capacity of 2,600.

“I think when it’s finally open and we break out of this pandemic and people are able to get into the stadium and watch an event – whether it be a baseball game, a soccer game or a concert – they are going to be really pleased with how this stadium has turned out,” Miner says.

There was much anticipation in Greater Lafayette when a front-page headline in the Journal and Courier on July 2, 1940, proclaimed “Park Stadium for Athletic and Cultural Events to be Memorial to Solomon Loeb.”

Bert and June Loeb contributed $50,000 (almost $935,000 in today’s dollars) for the construction of a 3,152-seat reinforced concrete structure inside Columbian Park. The stadium was named Columbian Park Recreation Center, which remained until 1971 when it was renamed Loeb Stadium.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski addresses the crowd at the March 31 grand opening of Loeb Stadium.
Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame Head Coach Paul E. “Spider” Fields poses with the Lafayette Jeff Baseball team.
Fans bundled up in the new stadium seating to watch the Lafayette Jeff Bronchos take on the Central Catholic Knights.

“Its purpose being to serve as a public stadium for athletic, cultural and educational events of various kinds; in fact any legitimate entertainment under sun or stars,” the 1940 article stated.

With lights installed as part of the construction, the stadium was projected to not only host baseball games but softball games, boxing matches, concerts, pageants and even horse shows.

Architect Walter Scholer had the foresight to make the stadium dimensions of Major League Baseball stadiums with 333 feet down the left field line, 404 feet to center field and 322 feet down the right field line. Retaining similar distances in the 2021 renovation required some out-of-the-box thinking.

When the decision was made to rotate the field 180 degrees from its original layout, placing home plate near the corner of Main Street and Wallace Avenue, the right field area needed a few extra feet. Since moving the zoo was out of the question, architects came up with a plan to extend the stadium entrance a few feet from the original footprint into Main.

But even that idea wasn’t as simple as it sounds.

“A lot of the fiber infrastructure in this community comes right up Main Street,” Miner says. “There’s only so far you can go into Main Street before you have to get into relocating that.”

Making the most of every foot available, home plate is positioned just a few yards from the corner of Main and Wallace.

When it comes to construction in Indiana weather, nothing comes easily. Toss in a shutdown of nearly a month in April 2020 due to COVID-19 precautions and it’s amazing that the project was completed in time for the Lafayette Jeff baseball season.

“All the contractors have done a marvelous job working through the snow we had, the cold snaps,” Miner says. “We couldn’t be more pleased with their work.”

The new Loeb Stadium also will serve as the front door to the 21st century Columbian Park. Spectators will have a view of the new carousel building beyond the centerfield fence, plus Tropicanoe Cove and the water slides just past left field.

Fans sitting in the suite level will be able to follow the progress of construction going on at Memorial Island.

“It was important to build a beautiful stadium and have the viewpoints be on the inside of Columbian Park and not have the people in the stands looking out into Oakland School, the Frozen Custard and Arni’s,” Miner says. “I think it brings Loeb Stadium more into the park and it will transform Main Street.

“We’re going to have state-of-the-art lighting, state-of-the-art concession facilities. There’s not really a bad seat in the stadium to view a baseball game. Then we have the video board that is really going to add to whatever event is going on there. This is something even communities with nice baseball stadiums don’t have.” ★

BY KAT BRAZ
PHOTOS PROVIDED

The Spinning Axe
Barbara Huddleston spent years growing her catering and event business. At the start of 2020, her calendar was booked with weddings, parties and corporate events. When the pandemic forced the cancellation of large gatherings, Huddleston watched her business evaporate almost overnight. During a trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky, over Labor Day weekend, she discovered a new passion — axe throwing.

“We actually went to visit Mammoth Cave, but it was closed due to COVID,” Huddleston says. “Looking for other things to do we found an axe throwing place near our hotel. About four throws in, I realized I loved it. I knew I needed to bring this sport back to Lafayette.”

That’s right. Urban axe throwing is a worldwide sport growing in popularity. The World Axe Throwing League, formed in 2017 by representatives from Canada, the United States, Brazil and Ireland, holds sanctioned tournaments year-round. Budding future champions could reside right here in Tippecanoe County and get their start at Huddleston’s latest enterprise, The Spinning Axe, 351 South St., Lafayette. After returning from her trip, Huddleston leased the location and took about seven weeks transforming a former sushi restaurant into an axe throwing venue and bar serving wine, beer, liquor and snacks such as nachos, pizza, soft pretzels and popcorn.

The family-friendly venue (they recommend ages 10 and up, depending on the physical ability of the child) accepts walk-ins and reservations, which are encouraged for large groups and on Saturdays. After signing a waiver, guests are assigned to a lane and an axe coach reviews safety precautions, gives pointers and explains different types of games that can be played. At the end of the lane, a large round bullseye painted on wooden boards serves as the target.

“I’ve been surprised at the number of women who’ve shown interest in axe throwing,” Huddleston says. “They want to do a girls night out, they want to schedule a date night. That’s been a really cool thing. Axe throwing isn’t as scary as it sounds. Our trained axe coaches will show you how to do it safely. We’re going to help you have a great time.”=

The Spinning Axe is open seven days a week. Cost per hour: Adults $22; Children $15. Military, fire and police personnel receive a discounted rate of $17/hour.
facebook.com/thespinningaxe

Lafayette, IN - The Spinning Axe
Lafayette, Indiana - The Spinning Axe

Learning to Thrive
Struggling to take your vitamins? Thrive IV Lounge, 1343 Sagamore Pkwy N, Lafayette, offers a relaxing and hydrating infusion of vitamins, minerals and nutrients directly into your bloodstream for maximum effect. Administered by registered nurses using the same medical grade supplies found in hospitals, the medspa offers an array of therapy treatments to boost immune function, bring migraine relief, reduce inflammation and even recover from a hangover.

Owner Sarah Kurtz was inspired to open an IV lounge after learning about the rising popularity of drip spas in other parts of the country. As an emergency room nurse for the past seven years, Kurtz wanted to offer preventative care that might help keep chronic condition patients out of the ER.

“There’s just not enough information out there for people to understand the importance of how to prevent getting sick,” Kurtz says. “By building the immune system, getting a lot of sleep, staying, hydrated, taking the correct vitamins and eating healthy you can prevent a lot of things from being a lot worse. After all these years in medicine, I’m just taking a different approach to help people get there.”

Once a client fills out paperwork covering medical history, medications, allergies, height and weight, the Thrive IV nursing staff checks vital signs before discussing available drip treatments. Once the IV is started, it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to complete the infusion. There are three private treatment rooms as well as a large communal lounge which Kurtz hopes to open up as the pandemic slows down.

Afraid of needles? Thrive IV offers a numbing spray to help ease the discomfort. Or you can skip the IV and order an injection instead. The biggest seller is the skinny shot, a special blend of hydrating fluids and vitamins to boost metabolism. Pair it with a Beauty Blend IV treatment for a fully rejuvenating experience. Not ready to leave the house? Thrive IV’s mobile concierge service brings wellness to the comfort of your living room.

“One liter of IV fluids that we give you is equivalent to drinking two gallons of water,” Kurtz says. “Results vary depending on the type of treatment and an individual’s metabolism, but the benefits of IV therapy usually last about five days to a week.”

Memberships are available for clients who want to make Thrive IV a regular part of their wellness routine. Though Thrive IV offers a relaxing, calming atmosphere, all IV medspas are regulated by the state of Indiana and must maintain the same safety standards as medical clinics and hospitals. All medications, vitamins and supplies are FDA approved. An ER physician serves as medical director, overseeing the lounge. IVs are administered by experienced ER nurses with the critical care skills to identify anything abnormal in a client’s session and refer clients to the ER or urgent care if necessary.

Thrive IV is open Thursday through Monday. Follow them on social media for daily deals and monthly specials.
thethriveiv.com

Lafayette, Indiana Thrive IV Lounge

Big Woods Restaurant and Bar | 516 Northwestern Ave., West Lafayette
Originating in Nashville, Indiana, in 2009, the opening of a Big Woods Restaurant and Bar in West Lafayette marks the Big Woods Village’s 10th
location — and the farthest north. With its focused menu of signature pizzas and a selection of burgers and sandwiches, Big Woods offers a cozy sports bar environment in the location formerly occupied by The Stacked Pickle on Purdue’s campus. Cocktails of the month feature spirits crafted by Hard Truth Hills, a division of the Big Woods brand also based in Nashville. Craft beer lovers will devour the Big Woods Quaff ON! beers, such as Busted Knuckle, Hare Trigger and Yellow Dwarf.
bigwoodsrestaurants.com/west-lafayette

Big Woods Restaurant in West Lafayette Indiana
Copper Moon Coffee in West Lafayette, Indiana

Copper Moon Coffee | 351 Sagamore Pkwy & 225 S. University St., West Lafayette
Brothers Brad and Cary Gutwein purchased Copper Moon Coffee (originally founded in the late 1960s) in 2007 and relaunched the business in Lafayette. Now with four locations throughout Tippecanoe County and a booming retail business, Copper Moon is the largest family-owned coffee company in the Midwest. The latest two locations include a spot on Purdue’s campus inside the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building and a standalone café in the former Salin Bank building next to Dog n Suds on Sagamore Parkway.

“We are delighted at the opportunity to continue expanding our reach into West Lafayette,” says Brad Gutwien, CEO of Copper Moon Coffee, in a January 2020 press release. “We think this in an ideal location that will be easy to access for most of the West Lafayette community.”
coppermooncoffee.com

Reveille Coffee Bar | 835 Main St., Lafayette
The inviting French-inspired décor of Reveille Coffee Bar creates a warm and welcoming ambiance the moment you step in the door. This cozy spot with friendly baristas churns out all manner of gourmet coffees, specialty teas, decadent hot chocolates and iced brews. Featuring a rotating selection
of locally made pastries, Reveille is the ideal spot to lounge away a morning.
reveillelafayette.com

Reveille Coffee Bar in Lafayette Indiana
Ritual Cocktail Bar in Lafayette, Indiana

Ritual Cocktail Bar | 211 N. Second St., Lafayette
The intimate, classy lounge vibe at Ritual Cocktail Bar quickly garnered a reputation for one of the coolest spots in town. A streamlined food menu features upscale snacks such as almond breaded duck tenders and roasted whole cremini mushrooms. But here, craft cocktails are the main attraction. Mixologists reimagine classic drink recipes and combine house-made syrups, bitters and juices; specialty spirits and unusual ingredients to create memorable concoctions that are meant to be savored, like a ritual. Feeling extra swanky? Stop by for Rat Pack night to sip your libation while listening to Sinatra, every Tuesday before 9 p.m.
ritual-bar.com

Ripple & Co. | 1007 Main St., Lafayette
Fans of East End Grill have eagerly awaited the opening of Ripple and Co., a fast-casual dining concept located across the street from the high-end restaurant and run by the same executive leadership team. The new multilevel eatery features a spacious second floor with outdoor dining and a private event space. Downstairs, the atmosphere of the lively counter-service restaurant is reminiscent of a food hall. Executive chef Ambarish Lulay brings the same elevated sensibilities found at East End to Ripple & Co.’s menu. Smoked meats, pork belly and “really good tofu” are just a few of the crave-inducing items available. With both cocktails and beers on tap, Ripple & Co. is an exciting addition to upper Main Street. Plus, a partnership with Greyhouse Coffee means you can pick up your favorite cup of joe while you’re there.
eastendmain.com/ripple-company

Ripple and Co. in Lafayette Indiana
Rusty Taco in Lafayette Indiana

Rusty Taco | 3209 Builder Drive, Lafayette
Serving up authentic street tacos at affordable prices, Rusty Taco’s festive ambience encourages friends and family to linger over margaritas while enjoying boldly flavored tacos. With more than 30 locations around the country, each one emulates a neighborhood taco stand. An array of breakfast tacos is available all day. The handmade street taco menu features roasted pork, brisket, baja shrimp and fried chicken. Rusty’s commitment to high-quality ingredients and making food fresh-to-order ensures satisfaction in every bite. Wash it down with an ice-cold margarita and experience bliss.
rustytaco.com

Wolfies Northern Woods Grill | 352 E. State St., West Lafayette
Scott and Nyla Wolf opened their first Wolfies location in 2004. Designed for the “seeker in all things sports, nature and food,” Wolfies offers a casual sports-themed environment in the Wabash Landing site formerly occupied by Scotty’s Brewhouse. The West Lafayette location is the eighth in the state and the first to venture away from the Indianapolis area. The expansive menu is packed with sharable starters, salads, wings, ribs, seafood, sandwiches, tacos and burgers. Thirsty? Try one of the 30 local and regional beers on tap, along with a full bar featuring craft cocktails. One thing is certain, you won’t go hungry at Wolfies.
wolfiesgrill.com/West-Lafayette

Wolfies in West Lafayette Indiana

Stay up-to-date on new businesses and more by following Greater Lafayette Commerce on Facebook or visit greaterlafayettecommerce.com

BY RADONNA FIORINI
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Located west of the Marq Apartments and Old National Bank along the Wabash River, the Riverside Promenade Deck was dedicated in July 2020 and represents the first completed project in the
“Two Cities, One River” master plan designed to enhance the quality of life along the Wabash, says Stan Lambert, executive director of the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation.

The promenade is a city block long, rising above railroad tracks and the river bank. It connects on the north to the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge next to Reihle Plaza, and to Columbia Street on the south, says Eric Lucas, principal with MKSK, the landscape architecture and urban design company that oversaw the project. Access also is available from the Marq building.

Because railroad tracks prevent access or a good view of the river from ground level, the promenade is at bridge level and pedestrians can enjoy a good view of the waterway without obstruction. The deck zig zags a bit, meandering through the space to mimic the flow of the river.

“The whole space takes its shape from the river,” Lucas says. “Seats rise up and tilt in different angles so the space mimics the river both horizontally and vertically. It is 15 feet wide at the narrowest spot, and 30 feet or so at its widest.” The configuration includes spaces large enough to accommodate a band or other type of entertainment.

The deck is constructed of sustainable, durable hardwood slats and steel beams with stainless steel cable netting around the perimeter. Planting areas and free-standing containers have been seeded with native pollinator flowers and grasses.

Decorative pole lights line the walkway and glowing lights under the benches brighten the pathway from dusk into the night. Even the area directly under the deck has been incorporated into the overall plan, says Lucas. A few metal grates were installed so walkers can look 20-feet down and see vegetation below. Native trees and ornamental shrubs have been planted there, some of which will eventually grow up through the grates, turning the deck into a more natural landscape.

Another feature people enjoy is an Americans With Disabilities Act-accessible walkway that connects the promenade deck to Reihle Plaza and Main Street. The gently sloping walk is a favorite with bikers and those with limited mobility, allowing stairless access from the street to the deck and the pedestrian bridge leading into West Lafayette, Lucas says.

Dennis Carson, Lafayette economic development director, says, “It’s a great event space – wide and with excellent views of the river. Even though COVID has shut a lot of things down, I see people walking on the deck and having their lunch there. We’ll be able to use it more fully in the future.”

Carson calls the Wabash a “great asset” and sees lots of opportunities for public use, recreation and private development along the river. The enhancement effort along the Wabash has been underway for more than a decade, as it began in earnest in 2004 when the WREC was formed.

The last 17 years have been spent creating and refining the master plan for public and private development along the river in Tippecanoe, Fountain, Warren and Carroll counties; creating partnerships between government officials, Purdue University, and private entities; acquiring land along the river bank; and working on watershed issues, says WREC’s Lambert.

The plan envisions a time when the river becomes the “…healthy, beautiful centerpiece of a whole, interconnected community. Building on the river’s beauty, the plan seeks to restore a healthy river ecosystem and create recreation and related amenities to create a unique quality of life and make the region a place of choice—especially for attracting and retaining employees in the high technology and bio-life sciences sectors.”

With a solid road map in place, the non-profit WREC is ready to move forward with some of the proposed projects, particularly in the Lafayette/West Lafayette urban corridor, but funding is always an issue.

The promenade deck project was pushed to the front of the line in 2015 when private developers started work on the mixed-use development that now houses the Marq apartments and Old National Bank regional headquarters.

“The promenade was in the masterplan, so we had to do it concurrently (with the Old National development) if it was going to happen,” Lambert says. “We had to get the whole project completed, including fundraising, in a very short time.”

With a $2.2 million grant from North Central Health Services, $600,000 from the city of Lafayette, and $485,000 from WREC, work on the promenade began in 2016 with plans to wrap up in about a year. Several construction setbacks and COVID-19 slowdowns pushed the finish date to 2020, but the $3.2 million project is now complete.

No other brick and mortar projects are currently underway along the riverfront, but the WREC is refining plans for the river corridor and pursuing grants and private donations for remediation of some industrial sites and development of greenspaces. The WREC has purchased 28 properties along the Wabash in Tippecanoe County and will work on river bank restoration and stormwater management.

A $325,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the United States Environmental Protection Agency awarded in March will help the corporation address water quality issues in this area of the Wabash River watershed, according to information from WREC Watershed Coordinator Shannon Stanis, who will oversee the grant.

Most of that money will go toward a cost-sharing program that encourages those living within the watershed to adopt pollution reducing and water quality enhancing practices. The grant also will fund educational and community outreach programs as well as water quality testing. A similar grant obtained in 2019 was used for such projects as rain barrel and rain garden installations, tree and native turf planting, and streambank stabilization. These efforts helped reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment flowing into the Wabash.

While there may not be any flashy projects in the works, there is more interest and investment than ever in downtown Lafayette and the State Street corridor in West Lafayette, Lambert says. He cites tremendous returns from money invested in riverfront enhancement in other Indiana communities.

“These kinds of projects are costly and take a long time to do, but cities who invest in their riverfronts see a $5 return for every dollar invested within five years, and a $12 to $16 return for every dollar invested in 20 years,” Lambert says. The biggest problem is finding a dedicated funding source that is not subject to the vagaries of politics and changes in governmental policies.

He harkens back to the years-long railroad relocation effort in Lafayette that removed tracks from downtown streets. About 80 percent of the funding for that multi-million dollar project came from the federal government through earmarks in the federal budget. But that funding source was eliminated years ago, Lambert recalls.

“WREC is putting together a dedicated funding plan, looking at a food and beverage tax fund or something like that to help support and develop the riverfront,” he says. “That would spread the cost across the most people, and primarily those who are using the services.”

Any tax would have to be authorized by the state and Tippecanoe County Council, and no concerted effort to pursue such a fund is currently in the works.

If the stars align and consistent funding becomes available, Lambert sees a future for life along the Wabash River in Tippecanoe County that will include private mixed-use development, a new pedestrian bridge extending Brown Street across the river into West Lafayette, new parks and green space, small boat docks, a disc golf course, a band shell for outdoor entertainment, mountain bike trails and more.

In the meantime, why not plan a leisurely stroll along a promenade? ★

More information about the Wabash River master plan, including maps and historical perspectives, is available at wabashriver.net

Interested in partnering with the WREC on a pollution-reducing cost-share project? Visit: wabashriver.net/costshare



BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS PROVIDED, FIREWORKS PHOTO BY DAVE SCHMIDT

Occupying a mere block-long stretch on Columbia Street, organizers led by Steve Klink promised a 12-hour day of good food and door prizes in front of Loeb’s Department Store.
Proceeds would benefit the Tippecanoe Arts Federation.

Offerings included knackwurst and bratwurst, Teriyaki steak kabobs, oysters on the half shell and crab puffs. All that for a $1 admission plus free Coca-Cola and a chance to win door prizes and gift certificates every hour.

Loeb’s is now a distant memory for long-time residents of Lafayette. So, too, are many of the 12 local businesses that participated in the first Taste: Alt Heidelberg, Amato’s, Sarge Oak, Hour Time, Butterfield’s, Cork and Cleaver and Don the Beachcomber’s.

Gone, too, is the $1 admission price. Today, admission to the Taste is $10 for persons 13 and older. But it’s well worth the price

Digby’s, The Parthenon, Mountain Jack’s, The Downtowner and Red Lobster are the only existing businesses that helped launch what is now a 40-year-old tradition. And what a tradition it has become.

By 1991, the event had outgrown its one-block home and attracted 22,000 people to Sixth Street. Even that space was too cramped for two stages and an ever-growing amount of restaurant booths.

With 30 restaurants and an estimated crowd of 40,000, the 20th Taste of Tippecanoe in 2001 was spread out over Riehle Plaza, the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge, and the downtown area between Third Street to the east, Ferry Street to the north and Columbia Street to the south.

In 2019, three stages were set up along Second and Ferry streets, Fourth Street, and Fifth and Main.

That tradition was disrupted this past summer thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tippecanoe Arts Federation was forced to severely curtail its major fundraising effort of the year, settling for an online presence of live musical performances over Facebook Live.

Kyra Clark, marketing and events director for the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, says it’s safe to say that this year’s Taste of Tippecanoe, scheduled for July 31, may be the most important Taste since the first event.

“The Taste is our major fundraiser and the largest single-day arts fundraiser in Indiana,” Clark says. “It’s incredibly important for us to fundraise and get with the community.”

To make it as safe as possible for visitors, the Taste of Tippecanoe will be spread over a large area of downtown surrounding Riehle Plaza and the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. Also, there will be just two stages this year for live entertainment.

“We’ve increased the size of the footprint to make it a little easier for people to sit down and appreciate the food and the local restaurants that are going to be participating at the Taste,” Clark says.

“We are going to make things as safe as possible. We’re going to have hand-sanitizing stations, and all of our volunteers will be wearing masks. We will never hold an event that puts our community at risk. We are not going to be a superspreader event. We would never risk our relationship or our reputation with our supporters.”

If this year’s Taste is important to the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, it may be equally important to Greater Lafayette-area restaurants. Nearly every establishment has suffered from the government COVID-19 mandates that have kept away the usual numbers of customers.

But several local restaurants are bullish on the Taste of Tippecanoe. The Tippecanoe Arts Federation had 12 commitments by late February from Arni’s, Grilled Chicken and Rice, Corn in the USA, Dippin’ Dots, Gibson’s Shaved Ice, Indiana Kitchen Bacon, Java Roaster, Kona Ice of Tippecanoe County, Lepea, McGraw’s Steak Chop and Fish House, Red Bird Café and Thieme & Wagner.

“That’s pretty normal for this time of year,” Clark says, “but our goal is always 30 to 32 restaurants.”

The latter number is the most Clark has seen during her four years with TAF.

“This is an event where restaurants are incredibly busy, and it is an event where the majority of our restaurants sign up closer toward the event so they have an idea of staffing and timing,” Clark says.

Last year’s virtual event and the loss of revenue have forced more budget cuts than just the number of stages.

“The biggest change this year is that there will not be a fireworks show,” Clark says. “It was just something we could not fit in our budget.

“We’re saving a little bit of money, but we’re dedicating more space to the seating and the appreciation of the local restaurants. We’ve had to tighten our belt, but we’re working with what we’ve got and doing the best we can.”

Even with the pandemic still a concern, Clark is hoping that this summer’s Taste will be remembered as a celebration.

“The focus of this year’s event is celebrating 40 years of great Taste,” Clark says. “We’re super excited to be able to have an event again where we can provide local food to our community, especially at a time when our restaurants are hurting or struggling.

“This is an incredible marketing opportunity for them. Tens of thousands of people come downtown for this event. Obviously, with the COVID restrictions and the health guidelines, the attendance might look a little bit different this year, but we want that marketing opportunity and promotional opportunity for our restaurants and downtown businesses.”

For more information about Taste of Tippecanoe and updates on the event date and participating
businesses, visit tasteoftippecanoe.org. ★

BY KAT BRAZ
PHOTO BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Last summer, tensions surrounding issues of racial injustice boiled over across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Locally, more than 1,000 peaceful protesters marched downtown on May 31 to rally for racial justice and take a stand against police brutality.

“Witnessing the energy of the young people and the memory, or the wisdom of the older people, together, that gives me hope,” says Rodney Lynch, pastor and director of the Baptist Student Foundation at Purdue University. “I was pleased with the number of people who were there. Most of them were white, that’s the demographics of this community. But standing up for racial justice is not a one-time moment; it’s a lifetime movement.”

Motivated by a desire to join like-minded community members to address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), Lynch joined the Diversity Roundtable (DRT) when he relocated to Greater Lafayette in 2016. An outgrowth of Vision 2020, a 2000–2001 community visioning project for the future of Greater Lafayette, the DRT began in 2002 when a small group of citizens started meeting to plan a Diversity Summit held in April 2003. It became a biennial event and this month, the DRT held its 10th summit. The 2021 Diversity Summit, held virtually and free to all participants, focused on Strategic Doing: Turning Conversation into Action.

In addition to the summits, the DRT meets monthly to discuss DEI issues in the community. The meetings are open to the public and co-facilitated by Lynch and Barbara Clark, who retired as director of the Science Diversity Office and director of the Women in Science Programs at Purdue in 2015. An all-volunteer group, the DRT is a committee of Greater Lafayette Commerce.

“We are the only group in the community focused on diversity in general,” Clark says. “We’re not organized in response to a crisis or an issue. We’re focused on raising awareness and educating people about the diversity issues in the community — anything from race to sexual orientation to disability — and how diversity, equity and inclusion intersect with social issues.”

Many of the monthly meetings feature speakers from the community, such as city government officials, school superintendents, police officers and university administrators who share their perspective on how DEI is supported in their respective institutions as well as identifying areas that still need to be addressed. Clark, who has served as a co-facilitator of the group since 2009, says although the same core issues may resurface, often they’ve been redefined in some way.

“An issue that we’ve discussed a number of times is ‘driving while Black,’” Clark says. “When we first started talking about that, it was somewhat surprising to the white folks but certainly not surprising to the people of color. One of the things the DRT does is develop programming to educate the community on these issues.”

One of the programs facilitated by the DRT addressed implicit bias. Lynch, who co-led the training, would ask attendees how many of them had “the talk” with their children. Invariably, white attendees assumed “the talk” centered around sexual activity. Black attendees gave their children the “police talk.”

“Black people do not have the privilege of not educating their children about how to conduct themselves when they are engaged by a police officer, so they get home safe,” Lynch says. “White children are raised to believe the police will keep them safe. Whereas we’ve seen time and time again, Black people are afraid to even call the police because our loved ones may not live through that interaction.”

The depth of implicit bias is magnified through a video experiment shown in the training that posits two men of different races in the same scenario. In one instance, a white man is shown breaking into a car in broad daylight. In the other, the man breaking into the car is Black. The white man sets off the car alarm multiple times, fishing with a wire coat hanger for 30 minutes trying to pop the door lock. A police car drives by without stopping. When the Black man attempts to break into the car, a passerby begins filming him with a cellphone almost immediately and the police arrive within two minutes. The video ends with the Black man in handcuffs surrounded by five police officers.

“It’s assumed that the white guy is just locked out of his car,” Lynch says. “But the Black guy must be robbing that car. These are examples of the implicit biases we all live with.”

The difficulty of identifying implicit biases lies in the fact that we don’t always know we have them. These unconscious inclinations often operate outside of our awareness and can directly contradict a person’s espoused beliefs or values. The danger of implicit biases is how they affect our reactions and behaviors without our awareness. The goal of implicit bias training is to help attendees understand and acknowledge the systems of privilege in place that influence these unconscious prejudices.

These conversations are difficult to have, even among members of the DRT, who, by their very presence at meetings, are more inclined to be receptive to reframing their personal perspectives and committed to acknowledging and addressing DEI issues within the community.

“One of the things that keeps people coming month after month is that they can be honest and open at the DRT,” Clark says. “They feel safe talking about issues in a group where people have different perspectives because of their lived experiences.”

Another program offered by the DRT for the past few years centers around the book Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World by Layla F. Saad. The book operates as a workbook, outlining journaling exercises and conversation prompts that force white readers to reflect on the roots of their own unconscious bias, how they benefit from the systems in place and how white supremacy plays out in their everyday lives. Small cohorts of 20 to 25 people work through the book together, meeting for weekly discussions over the course of one month.

“It’s not really fair to expect people of color to educate white people on issues of diversity,” Clark says. “If white people care about diversity and want to make a change, they need to put some energy into educating themselves. That’s what Me and White Supremacy is all about. The journaling can be difficult. The conversations can be intense, but it’s all very worthwhile.”

Before the pandemic, approximately 30 people attended the monthly DRT meetings. After switching to virtual meetings last year, the DRT has seen a slight increase of participation with up to 50 attendees. Those numbers may seem small, but the impact of the DRT on the larger community is far greater.

“We’re not only touching the people who show up,” Lynch says. “The people who participate in the DRT are armed with information they can use when they encounter injustice at their job, in the community or in their family. That’s the beauty of what the DRT offers. If someone is serious about combatting injustice, DRT is a good place to start. We can inform and educate.” ★

To receive updates about the DRT and information about its monthly meetings, email 
diversitytippecanoe@gmail.com or visit diversitytippecanoe.org. 

BY KAT BRAZ
PHOTOS PROVIDED

On the hunt for seasonal fruits and veggies? You’re in luck. The bounty of community supported agriculture (CSA) in and around Greater Lafayette allows consumers to buy produce directly from the grower. Area farmers markets connect buyers with vendors who can speak with authority on how plants were grown and how livestock was raised. Buying from a local source also reduces the carbon footprint required to acquire your food. Many area farmers adhere to organic practices, harvesting at peak growing season to deliver fresh food that’s both delicious and nutritious.

Farmers markets
As COVID-19 guidelines continue to evolve, please consult websites and social media accounts for the most up-to-date information on market policies.

Lafayette Farmers Market
lafayettefarmersmarket.com

8 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Saturdays, May through October; Fifth and Main streets

The area’s largest open-air market, Lafayette Farmers Market dates back 182 years and is one of the state’s oldest outdoor markets. Vendors peddling produce, seedlings, flowers, meat, eggs, jams, breads, wood crafts, health and beauty items, home goods and even concessions line the cobblestones along Fifth Street every Saturday morning throughout the summer.

“Our market puts an emphasis on local-first,” says Rebecca Jones, quality of life coordinator for Greater Lafayette Commerce. “Our vendors come from within a 90-mile radius. We also prioritize vendors who sell produce to honor the market’s roots as a place of commerce for farmers and cultivators. At least 70 percent of items sold must be produced locally first-hand by the vendor. The remaining 30 percent must follow the same rules of being produced first-hand and be traceable to the maker or farmer.”

As a champion of local goods and services, the market offers programming that highlights community organizations, features local musicians and celebrates community holidays. The market also partners with local businesses to offer giveaways for attendees and incentivize giving blood when the Blood Bus visits the market. Vendors collaborate with the Veggie Drop program to provide excess goods to local food banks. The market is administered by Greater Lafayette Commerce on behalf of the City of Lafayette and sponsored by Subaru of Indiana Automotive.

“We know the market is not only a place of commerce, but gathering and idea sharing,” Jones says. “The success of our market is community driven.”

Purdue Farmers Market
purdue.edu/physicalfacilities/sustainability
11 a.m.–2 p.m. Thursdays, May through October; Memorial Mall

Organized by Purdue Campus Planning and Sustainability in conjunction with Greater Lafayette Commerce, the Purdue Farmers Market features several lunch vendors and other prepared goods vendors, such as bakeries, in addition to some floral and produce vendors.

Guests without a campus parking permit may pay to park in the Grant Street Parking Garage, approximately a five-minute walk. The 2020 market was canceled in adherence of the Protect Purdue COVID-19 guidelines. At press time, a decision about the 2021 market had not been made public.

West Lafayette Farmers Market
westlafayette.in.gov/farmersmarket

3–7 p.m. Wednesdays, May through October; Cumberland Park

Casual and laid-back, the scene at the West Lafayette Farmers Market welcomes shoppers to visit with its 50 to 60 vendors, enjoy dinner from local food trucks and unwind listening to live music. Started in 2005, the market showcases grown and collected goods (such as eggs, honey and maple syrup) alongside numerous crafts and body products including children’s clothing, tie-dye, jewelry, soaps and lotions.

“Our main focus is organic produce, but we have many excellent craft vendors, too,” says Shelly Foran, market manager. “All craft vendors are juried to ensure high-quality goods.”

The market makes a perfect dinner destination with a selection of prepared food vendors, food trucks and bakeries. Two local wineries rotate, serving wine by the glass. The market stipulates that 75 percent of the items sold must be produced locally, within 100 miles of the market. In addition to tips, local musicians earn a small stipend for performing, thanks to two sponsors: The Russell Company and Reliable Insurance. The market is administered by the City of West Lafayette.

Foran describes the dog-friendly market as community-oriented. “It’s a great place to visit and socialize,” she says. “Customers get to know their vendors. We have many shoppers who return each week. We want to be a destination market.”

Local farmers and CSAs
Specifics can vary among CSAs, but in general you commit to purchasing a share — a basket of produce — on a regular basis for the entirety of the growing season. Typically, you can’t dictate exactly what comes in your basket, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to experiment with cooking with seasonal ingredients you might not otherwise purchase. Some CSAs allow for half shares or split shares. Several local farmers offer direct purchase of their goods.

Beck’s Family Farm
Stop by the Beck’s vegetable stand east of Attica for homegrown tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, cabbage, onions, potatoes, cantaloupe and watermelon. It also frequents the farmers market.

Bloomer’s Greenhouse
bloomersgreenhouse.square.site
This small, family-owned farm and greenhouse in West Point sells flowers, herbs and gourmet vegetables. It’s also frequently spotted at many central Indiana farmers markets.

Double M Farms
facebook.com/farmfood4U

Operated by a fifth-generation farmer, Double M’s farming model is grass-based, meaning you won’t find GMOs, animal biproducts or antibiotics in any of the meat they sell. The farm offers grass-fed beef and lamb in the spring and pasture-raised pork, poultry and eggs year-round.

Highland Heights Farm
highlandheightsfarm.com

Based in Frankfort, Highland Heights Farm offers a monthly fresh veggie box subscription available for delivery to Boone, Clinton and Tippecanoe counties. The range of products includes lettuce, greens and herbs, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, radishes and carrots.

Huffman & Hawbaker Farms
Hhfarms.com

Tippecanoe County-based Huffman & Hawbaker Farms grows tomatoes, jalepeno peppers and banana peppers. Its U-pick strawberry farm usually opens at the end of May and lasts a few weeks.

Purdue Student Farm
purdue.edu/studentfarm

A small, sustainable farm located near Kampen Golf Course, the Purdue Student Farm grows vegetables, herbs and cut flowers using the principles that naturally govern balanced ecosystems. Operated under the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, the farm disperses its produce to university dining halls, donations to community food pantries and through publicly available CSAs.

Sycamore Springs on Springboro
sycamorespringsfarmonspringboro.com

This family farm in Brookston raises grass-fed beef and pork and grows fruits and vegetables as well as organic certified garlic. Shop its in-season selection online.

This Old Farm
thisoldfarm.com

What started as one family’s commitment to growing wholesome food for themselves has grown into a regional wholesale distributor delivering quality ingredients to restaurants, grocers, schools and cafeterias around the state.
Families can still shop its wide selection of organically farmed meats, eggs, cheeses and other artisan products
available for pick up in Colfax.

Thistle Byre Farm
thistlebyrefarmllc.com

A pasture-based, sustainable family farm in rural Delphi, Thistle Byre Farm’s mission is to help encourage others to make their homes nurturing, healthy and cozy without the use of chemicals, hormones, pesticides and genetically modified organisms. Thistle Byre offers three different levels of membership for its meat and vegetable CSA.

Trinity Acres Farms
tendfarm.com/11319

Offering certified organic chemical-free produce and animal proteins, Trinity Acres Farms of Crawfordsville offers two CSA enrollment options. The conventional box CSA features an assortment of freshly harvested produce for 26 weeks, and the shoppers CSA allows buyers to choose their products from its online store.

Wea Creek Orchard
weacreekorchard.com

Offering a wide variety of fresh U-pick produce including apples, nectarines, peaches and pumpkins, Wea Creek Orchard makes a perfect family outing. The market, located south of Lafayette, also stocks its own line of canned goods including jams, jellies, salsa and barbecue sauce. Check the website for information about special events.

The Weathered Plow
Featuring fresh produce largely supplied by its own family farm near Camden, The Weathered Plow, 2325 Schuyler Ave., also sells delicious baked goods, take-and-bake meals, made to order sandwiches, candies and more. ★

Central Lafayette
Patio Dining at Parkside

Parkside | 1902 Scott St.
A Columbian Park staple for decades, Parkside reopened under new ownership just last year. The recently constructed patio opened in September and is nonsmoking, just like the reimagined restaurant. Outfitted with reclaimed lumber, polished concrete and a hanging garden, the stylish outdoor ambiance is a welcome respite. With dinner specials, smoked meats and “the coldest beer in town,” we don’t need an excuse to stop by and stay a while.
facebook.com/theparksidelafayette

Downtown Lafayette
Downtown Lafayette Patio Dining at Digby's

Digby’s | 113 N. Fourth St.
Tucked between two tall buildings, Digby’s patio may feel like an exclusive hideaway, and spaciously positioned tables along serpentine pathways dotted with trees lend an air of privacy. Its casual atmosphere belies what is arguably the best patio view in town. Gaze at the Tippecanoe Courthouse soaring overhead as local music emanating from the outdoor stage wafts over you. Reservations accepted, and your pup can come, too.
digbyspub.com

Downtown Patio Dining at East End Grill

East End Grill | 1016 Main St.
A seasonally inspired scratch menu, creative cocktails and a modern, urban vibe have earned East End Grill a reputation as one of the hottest spots in town. The restaurant has become an anchor of upper Main Street since it first opened five years ago. Weekend nights, tables are hard to come by without reservations, even more so for the few available on the small dog-friendly patio. Reservations encouraged.
eastendmain.com

Downtown Dining in Lafayette Indiana at Lafayette Brewing Co

Lafayette Brewing Co. | 622 Main St.
The first brewery to receive Indiana’s small brewers permit back in 1993, Brew Co. — as it’s known to locals — brews traditional ales and lagers on site. The kitchen sends out generous portions of unique pub fare that would satiate any appetite. Whether you stop by on Pint Night (Wednesday), Flight Night (Monday), Seven Buck Sunday or any other night, a good time is certain.
lafbrew.com

Patio Dining in Lafayette Indiana at Red Seven

Red Seven | 200 Main St.
Watch the world go by from your patio seat in the heart of downtown. From small plates to seafood to steaks, this new American restaurant offers an upscale urban dining experience for everyone. The extensive line up of seasonally crafted cocktails and local brews are enough to make you linger for an evening. Dogs welcome. Red Seven accepts reservations; although patio seating can be requested, it is not guaranteed.
red7grill.com

Patio Dining in Lafayette Indiana at Sgt. Preston's

Sgt. Preston’s of the North | 6 N. Second St.
Is there a more popular patio in town than Sgt. Preston’s on a sunny day? The Canadian-themed bar has been a staple in downtown Lafayette for decades, serving up delicious grub backed by a full bar with weekly dinner and drink specials. Often featuring live music on weekends, your best bet is to head over early to snag a table or visit on Monday for Schooner Night. 21+ only.
sgtprestons.net

South Lafayette
Patio Dining in Lafayette Indiana at Rusty Taco

Rusty Taco | 3209 Builder Dr.
Relatively new on the scene, Rusty Taco quickly impressed with its diverse menu of street tacos that pack bold flavors. With its festive umbrellas and charming string lights, the Rusty Taco patio gives off the mellow vibe of a place where you want to kick back, relax and forget about your worries for a while. Rusty says, “Tacos are the most important meal of the day,” and we can’t disagree.
rustytaco.com

Teays River Brewing and Public House | 3000 S. Ninth St.
This comfortable outdoor patio bedecked with picnic tables maintains a communal feeling even with sufficient social distancing. An extension of the laid-back scene that permeates inside, outdoor dining at Teays River features the same unique pub fare and tasty local brews. Bring Fido along; the patio is pooch friendly.
teaysriverbrewing.com

Patio Dining in Lafayette, Indiana at Walt's Other Pub

Walt’s Other Pub | 3001 S. Ninth St.
Not only does Walt’s Other Pub have a patio, you might even be lucky enough to score a seat on the balcony. Its immense menu with family-friendly options is sure to please. With 12 beers on tap, a robust wine list and a full bar, you have plenty of choices to accompany your meal. And if you go for lunch you might get served by the friendliest, most outgoing waitress in town. Everyone’s welcome at Walt’s patio, even the dog.
waltsotherpub.com

West Lafayette
Patio Dining in West Lafayette Indiana at The Bryant

The Bryant | 1820 Sagamore Pkwy W
When The Bryant first opened its doors in November 2018, it already sounded familiar to longtime residents. The restaurant’s name harkens back to the much-beloved Morris Bryant Smorgasbord, which occupied the site from 1951 to 1994. After only a few years, the Bryant has quickly gained a place in our hearts, too. Its upscale, contemporary atmosphere and ever-evolving menu are enticing enough. Throw in one of the most inventive cocktail menus around? We’re sold.
thebryantwl.com

Patio Dining in West Lafayette Indiana

Town and Gown Bistro | 119 N. River Road
Don’t overlook this gem of a place. Although located on a busy thoroughfare, the landscaped patio has been outfitted with numerous pots and planters filled with lush greenery that transform this cozy patio into a delightful oasis. Billed as “unfussy American eats” the chef-driven menu features familiar fare exquisitely executed. In addition to lunch and dinner, Town and Gown also is open for brunch and features a variety of vegetarian options. As if we needed another reason to love it.
facebook.com/townandgownbistro

Patio Dining in West Lafayette Indiana at Whittaker Inn

Whittaker Inn | 702 W 500 N
The Whittaker Inn’s picturesque country setting is the ideal location to enjoy a relaxing meal artfully crafted with locally sourced ingredients. Not just for out-of-towners, the Whittaker Kitchen is the heart of this inviting B&B just minutes from Purdue. The ever-changing menu offers new delights with each season, though we’re glad to see the scrumptious butterhorn bread rolls have become a mainstay. We could fill up on those alone. Reservations required.
thewhittakerinn.com

BY RADONNA FIORINI
PHOTOS PROVIDED

While much of life slowed or was outright canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, city improvement and development projects continued, and many will come to fruition in 2021. From penguins to new planned neighborhoods, here’s a peek at what’s coming for our communities.

Columbian Park
Lafayette’s Columbian Park continues to be a beehive of activity with new attractions slated to open this spring and summer.

The recently constructed $20 million Loeb Stadium, located at the corner of Main and Wallace streets, will be dedicated at the end of January, says Lafayette Parks and Recreation Marketing Manager Samantha Haville. Some COVID-related delays pushed the project’s completion back a bit, but everything should be ready for Lafayette Jefferson High School’s baseball home opener in the spring.

The original Loeb Stadium, built in the 1940s of concrete, was long the site for Lafayette Jeff’s home games, the Colt World Series, and more recently the summer collegiate baseball team, the Lafayette Aviators, part of the West Division of the Prospect League. The new brick stadium, which will seat 2,600 people when suites and lawn seating opens later this year, is also designed as a multi-use space where concerts and family movie nights will be planned.

“We hope to make a big splash for the first Jeff home game and for the Aviators’ opener in early summer,” says Haville. “And we’re opening it up to community partnerships for a wide variety of events.”

The newest additions to the Columbian Park Zoo are scheduled to arrive before the zoo opens this spring. Nine African penguins will be shipped from California to inhabit the penguin house constructed in 2020. Their arrival was delayed because of travel restrictions, but the hope is that these warm-weather birds will feel at home and be ready for visitors by late April.

Another exciting addition, an updated blast from the past, will be a new carousel. Construction on a permanent building to house this family favorite has begun, located between the zoo and Tropicanoe Cove water park. The carousel will feature hand-carved and painted wooden animals that represent some of those found in the zoo, along with exotic species and traditional horses. Haville says no date has been set for the opening of this much-loved ride.

While some of these new projects will not be fully used until the pandemic is under control, several planned features in Columbian Park will be open for individual use this summer.

Phase three of the Memorial Island project is proceeding apace. A new amphitheater with upgraded sound system is planned. The lagoon was drained last year, and sea walls are being rebuilt. Lots of new elements are being added to make the area accessible for folks with disabilities including boardwalks, new bridges, and ADA fishing nodes that jut out into the lagoon and accommodate a wheelchair, Haville says. The parks department is working with Purdue University and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to choose fish that will be stocked in the refilled lagoon this summer.

“We are most excited about the fact that paddle boats are coming back!” Haville says. “The boats will be located on the south side of the lagoon near the train depot. We hope to have them available
in July.”

Cason Family Park
Keeping with the theme of public parks and outdoor spaces, West Lafayette has several projects in the works, says Erin Easter, director of development for the city.

Cason Family Park is a planned 14-acre prairie-style space being developed in two phases. The park, located on acreage donated by local farmer Lynn Cason at Cumberland Avenue and U.S. 231, is already home to the historic, one-room Morris Schoolhouse. Built in 1879, the school was moved to the property in 2017 and restored so it can be used for educational programs.

Construction on other park elements is slated to begin this year with completion set for 2022. Surrounding the schoolhouse will be outdoor play places, lawns and waterways. There will be picnic pavilions, public restrooms and several trails throughout the acreage.

“This will be a really fun, whimsical place to play that won’t feel forced,” Easter says. “There will be natural playgrounds with climbing rocks, wooden elements and rest areas.”

For bikers and walkers in West Lafayette, a planned 10-foot-wide pathway project will roll out this year. The path will run along Salisbury Street from Kalberer Road to Grant Street and end at Northwestern Avenue. The project will include shifting some traffic lanes and burying utilities, says Easter. Lighting and other amenities will be added during this two-year project, which will provide a safer way for pedestrians to move from the northern side of the city to the Purdue campus.

And the pathway will lead directly to the new Wellness Center just completed in Cumberland Park. This 73,000-square-foot facility houses a pool, gym, walking track, weight equipment and spaces for health classes, Easter says.

“A lot of our parks programming was put on pause in 2020,” she says. “It was difficult not to do those things last year, but we’ll have a beautiful new home (for those programs) when the time is right.” (See story on Page 22)

A New City Hall in West Lafayette

While anticipating summer activities, Easter and other city employees are spending these colder months settling into newly renovated office space at the Sonya L. Marjerum City Hall, formerly the Morton Community Center. Remodeling of the historic building began in 2019 and was largely completed in December when city workers began moving in.

The city offices have moved around for several years, but the more than $15 million renovations should allow the building on Chauncey Avenue to be a permanent home, says Easter. The name of the building was changed to honor the late Sonya Marjerum who served as West Lafayette mayor for 24 years.

“We moved into the building exactly two years to the date that construction began,” she says. “There are so many advantages to this space now. It’s ADA compliant and accessible. Four-fifths of the building space will be focused on parks or city programming and available to the community. And the new City Council chambers will serve as a true home for (the council’s) work. Before there was a sense of impermanence, but we hope this will be our final and forever home.”

City Hall’s first floor now has community space including two dance studios that can also host art programming and other activities. The first floor also houses the City Council chambers and other meeting space. The second floor is home to city staff including the mayor’s office, parks department, clerk’s office and other departments. A customer service desk is centrally located so visitors can easily get the help they need, Easter notes.

And additional community projects are planned between City Hall and the West Lafayette Public Library. Three public spaces will be added that include art pieces that also can serve as road barriers to temporarily block streets for festivals and large gatherings.

Lafayette projects

Lafayette also is completing some downtown projects and making plans for a new 70,000-square-foot public safety building and parking garage. The first public hearing concerning the facility design was held December 16, and the city hopes to begin construction this year with completion planned in 2023, says Lafayette Economic Development Director Dennis Carson.

The facility, which will be on property just east of City Hall at Sixth and Columbia streets, will house the police department and provide parking for city employees plus extra public parking spaces. The multi-story building will include open plazas for public use and be an asset to downtown living, Carson says.

Several Lafayette streetscape projects wrapped up in 2020 that have made downtown more pedestrian friendly and encouraged both investors and shoppers to see the businesses along Main Street as desired destinations. Paying attention to historic preservation and making the area more consumer friendly has paid off.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback and people say being downtown is now a better experience, in a safer environment that is more interactive,” says Carson. “We’ve encouraged outdoor dining, which has been so important during the pandemic, and we have more retail than we’ve had in decades.”

While the growth of brick and mortar stores is a surprise in this age of on-line shopping, Carson says there are more clothing and other retail stores downtown than have been seen in years. That trend shows that the investment in improving sidewalks, installing public art, and focusing on local businesses has paid off as people feel more comfortable lingering and shopping downtown.

“We’re very excited about it,” he says. “It’s a testament that people like to experience things (in person). We know it’s been challenging for some of these shops but we think they’ll hold up and do really well when things open up again.”

Provenance

Perhaps the biggest project coming to Tippecanoe County is back across the river on the west side of the Purdue campus. As part of the Discovery Park District, the city of West Lafayette, Purdue Research Foundation and Old Town Design Group from Indianapolis have launched a planned housing development called Provenance.

Work has begun on apartments at the southwest corner of State Street and Airport Road to be followed by condominiums, town homes and single family homes, says West Lafayette’s Easter, adding that commercial and retail spaces are also part of the mix.

According to information from Old Town Design Group, this multiphase project will eventually include walking paths that connect to nearby parks, golf courses, shops and restaurants. The development includes lots for 56 single-family homes and 30 townhomes.

So grab your mask and take a drive around our communities to see the changes coming. While it feels as if our lives are shrinking, there are brighter days ahead with much to celebrate. ★

BY KAT BRAZ
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

This year marks the 95th anniversary of Kirby Risk Corporation, founded in 1926 when J. Kirby Risk borrowed $500 from his father and joined Otto Keiffer to open the Keiffer-Risk Battery Company in a small, abandoned blacksmith shop in Lafayette. Keiffer left the company within the year and was replaced by George Tweedie. The company became Risk-Tweedie Electric Service, and Risk was able to repay his father that $500 loan.

After Tweedie’s departure in 1934, the company was renamed Kirby Risk Electric Company, expanded into wholesale distributions of electric supplies and moved to a new downtown location in 1941. Through it all, Risk remained committed to a concept the company now refers to as sacrificial service.

Risk’s son, company CEO James Risk III, describes sacrificial service to mean placing the highest value on customers, employees, vendors and community relations.

“My father felt strongly that your life’s activities and your business should be based on integrity, respect for people and valuing others,” Risk says. “My mother and father were an amazing team. I learned by watching them that true happiness comes from serving others or enriching the lives of other people.”


The second-generation leader recalls accompanying his father to the company warehouse on evenings and weekends as a child.

“I was fascinated walking down the aisles with all of the different products, parts and equipment,” Risk says. “I didn’t necessarily know their purpose or understand how they worked.

Risk first started working at the company during summers while he was in school. After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in management, he began his career at the sales counter and worked his way up to vice president of sales before he was named company president in 1972 at the age of 30. No stranger to leadership, Risk had already served as president of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.

A commitment to community service is another value Risk learned from his father. According to Risk, his parents “left us a legacy of valuing others and having a sincere concern for your fellow man.” Among his many contributions to the community, the elder Risk championed bringing Junior Achievement to Lafayette and the younger Risk participated in the program in high school.

“The cornerstone to our company’s success is a commitment to long-term relationships with our employees and their families, with our customers, and with our vendors,” Risk says. “Equally important is having a presence in our communities. Our employees are encouraged to get involved in their communities, value other people and simply do more than what is expected. My parents lived their lives that way and I just tagged along for the ride.”

Family Business

Eddy Del Real was 4 years old when his father, Jose, opened Del Real Auto Sales. Jose still worked at Alcoa at the time. He’d wake up at 6 a.m. to go to the car auction, report to the plant at 3 p.m. and get off shift at 11 p.m. His three sons, Alonzo, Eddy and Tony, began helping out at the lot as kids, washing cars and performing other odd jobs on weekends or after school. Now all three sons — and their brother-in-law — work for the family business. 

“It wasn’t ever expected of us. We were raised to do what we love,” Eddy Del Real says. “For me, it’s an awesome opportunity. We’ve always been family oriented. We were all brought into the business. We each have investment in it. Dad showed us the ropes and we took it from there to broaden the business and expand it.” 

Since its founding in 1987, Del Real has expanded into three locations. Eddy manages the flagship Del Real Auto Sales in Lafayette; Alonzo runs Del Real Auto Connection on Sagamore Parkway, Lafayette; and Tony opened Del Real Automotive Group in Frankfort.
In terms of his father’s leadership style, Eddy Del Real says Jose’s
approach has always been firm,
but egalitarian. 

“There isn’t really a hierarchy of titles,” he says. “We were all raised as equals. We’ve never really had a boss. My dad has the knowledge, so we would ask him for advice and roll with it. He’s shown us that if you put your time and your investments into the business, you’ll reap the benefits. He’s done well for himself, and we want to continue that legacy.”

Eddy Del Real said one thing that sets the family business apart from other auto dealerships is the way they do business. Because their business carries the family name, the Del Reals are invested in every single sale. The company values stem from Jose’s strong work ethic and belief in transparency of the deal — no gimmicks, everything is sold with a warranty and deal the way you want to be treated. Though his sons manage the day-to-day operations, Jose is still involved in the business. 

“We still go to the auction together,” Eddy Del Real says. “Sometimes we’ll talk business at the dinner table when we’re all together. It’s something that will always unite us. My mom and our wives are the ones that keep us grounded.”

Counter philosophy

Basim Hussain started hanging out at his dad’s place of work when he was still too young to be on the payroll. What kid wouldn’t want to spend all day in an ice cream shop? Sabir Hussain operates three Coldstone Creamery locations throughout Greater Lafayette. Once Basim was old enough, he sought employment at one of his father’s stores.

“He considered applying for other jobs, even interviewed for a few. But they just weren’t for him,” Sabir Hussain says. “The way we provide flexibility to young people in school and sports and other activities, we go above and beyond in recruiting and keeping young employees.”

Basim’s only concern about working for his dad? He was worried he’d be missing out on a real work experience.

“At the end of the day, your dad probably won’t fire you,” Sabir Hussain says. “But Basim gets admonished just like anyone else, and to be honest, a little bit more than others. There’s extra pressure if the owner’s son isn’t in proper uniform.”

Hussain takes a long-term approach in developing his young workers. He looks for opportunities to challenge them to see alternate perspectives. He encourages them to be problem solvers. He guides them in cultivating strong customer relations skills that could be applied to dealing with clients in almost any future career path. Basim, now a freshman at Cornell University, remained at home during the fall
semester due to the pandemic. While enrolled in online courses,
he still worked part-time in his father’s store.

“For all my young employees, I hope there is something they pick up from this job that stays with them for the rest of their life,”
Sabir Hussain says. “I truly believe
it takes a village to raise a young person. My role may not be
counselor or teacher or pastor, but at the same time, it’s not nothing. I’m not just a person who signs
their check.” ★

BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
PRODUCTION PHOTOS PROVIDED

The mere mention of coffee evokes smells and imagery that transport people to a place or a time. For many of us, it’s the first thing we reach for in the morning. Or it’s an excuse to gather with friends, to take a break or help us make it through a busy day.

It’s a staple in so many of our daily lives — it’s easy to take coffee for granted. But Brad and Cary Gutwein have taken their love affair a step further by making it their business. The brothers purchased the Copper Moon Coffee brand in 2006. And while they may not have reinvented coffee per se, they have taken this already existent brand to a new level.

This isn’t the brothers’ first foray into partnership in business. Growing up, the two always had a good relationship, says elder brother Brad. Brad graduated from Purdue University in 1989 with a degree in hotel and restaurant management – a good all-around degree with a focus on both business and hospitality – while Cary studied at Valparaiso University.

The two joined forces earlier in their careers when they operated a birdseed business, Morning Song.

“We’ve always gotten along really well,” says Brad. “We have a good balance of talent and skills. Cary is more operational, I’m more marketing and sales.”

But eventually, they outgrew their fledgling operation, ready for a bigger challenge. After they sold Morning Song they were ready for their next venture. And coffee, Brad says, was no accident — it was intentional. He had done a lot of research on coffee and knew that was a venture he was interested in — and one he knew they were well prepared to take on.

For one, they already had a company put together and an infrastructure, a hold-over from Morning Song. And many of their employees stayed on, says Nick Thompson, who currently serves as vice president for sales and marketing but has been with the brothers since 2007.

The concepts of working with birdseed — sourcing, working with an agricultural product, purchasing, packaging, selling to retailers — carry over to the coffee business.

“Those same principles work for coffee,” Thompson says. “They turned it into more of a passion.”

Brad Gutwein attended a trade show in Florida in late 2006, looking for inspiration for his coffee ambition. He visited a booth for a business based in Indianapolis. The brand, Copper Moon Coffee, was owned by a private equity firm; Gutwein knew it was a non-core asset and they might be willing to sell.

“And I was ready,” he says. “I knew what we wanted and what we were looking for.”

So the brothers took the brand name Copper Moon – formerly a part of the now-defunct Marsh supermarket brand – and ran with it. Since the purchase in 2007, the company has remade the entire franchise. Its first roasting facility was on the east side of Indianapolis; in 2012 the entire operation relocated to Lafayette. They have changed the design and packaging, experimented with new flavors and techniques.

“Everyone has an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Thompson. “We’re constantly creating things that go to market. We have that entrepreneurial ability to develop all the way to the end consumer. It’s unreal that we get to do that here in Lafayette. The ability for anyone on our team to come up with an idea on a dry erase board to producing millions of pounds of it.”

The 100,000-square-foot roasting facility on the east side of Lafayette roasts tens of millions of pounds of coffee each year, Thompson says.

Much of the coffee is sold online through its website, coppermooncoffee.com; it is also sold through other online retailers — Amazon, Staples, Office Depot, Wal-Mart.

This year has been better than ever for online sales, Thompson says. The company did a refresh that launched in late January 2020, updating its brand. Copper Moon currently ships to all 48 of the continental United States.

“We expected growth,” he says. “It’s been out of this world.”
But they would like to encourage customers to purchase through the Copper Moon website. If they can see what people order, Thompson says, they are in a better position to help them with future purchases, making recommendations, or letting them know about sales or special offers.

“We get to establish relationships with those customers,” he says.

And the business has expanded into retail operations, opening its flagship café in April 2017 on State Road 26 near Meijer in Lafayette. It gave everyone a chance to see how consumers react to their products in real time.

“I think it kind of served as a good test kitchen for the brand, for what we could produce on a larger level,” Thompson says. “We could take that same coffee to the consumer, see what works. It’s a great marketing tool to reach our local community.”

Copper Moon recently opened its second location. The latest, on Sagamore Parkway in West Lafayette, has more than one drive-through lane, which helps serve customers during these pandemic months.

It’s a challenge, says Gutwein, but they’re learning and adapting.

Yet with coffee shops on nearly every corner these days, how did the brothers feel like they could put their own spin on coffee? Coffee – the world’s second-largest commodity, next to oil — is, these days, ubiquitous; how does one put their own spin on something that is everywhere?

“Coffee is very recognizable,” Gutwein says. “Which means it’s very complicated. You need to find a lane or a niche. We understand purchasing, packaging and selling to retailers.”

Much of their sales were, formerly, to offices that provided
coffee to their employees. Now that the workplace has shifted and so many people are working from home, Copper Moon’s sales and marketing have had to shift as well. People are buying more five-pound bags these days.

“At-home brewing has grown considerably,” Gutwein says. “Consumption rates have gone up.” People are drinking coffee for more of their day, or at different times. Consumer behavior has changed, and the business will have to change with it.

Thus, Copper Moon’s mission, says Gutwein, is to adapt its marketing and advertising, reaching customers in new way.

“The customers we do pick up are sticky,” he says. “We need to continue to advertise to them. That’s a real focal point with us.”

One of the most important pillars of the business model is Reach for the Moon, the company’s philanthropic effort. Copper Moon is committed not only to selling great coffee, but to serving others and giving back to the community.

It’s a term the team takes literally, Thompson says.

“It’s our giveback arm. We think coffee can help you reach your goals.”

We Give a Cup is its offer to provide complementary drinks to health care workers, firefighter, police officers, members of the military and educators.

“We’re trying to fuel our local heroes as they work to protect us,” Thompson says. “It’s a practical way for us to support our frontline heroes at this time.”

The initiative funds pursuits in STEM fields, partnering with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which provides more than 50 scholarships annually. It supports Purdue Space Day, Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories, a 24-acre research center home to the world’s largest academic propulsion lab. And it supports a number of other organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, Food Finders Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity.

Copper Moon works because of its business principles and how it practices them, says Thompson. It’s a family-owned business, and it has local roots. The company produces high-grade coffee, and it is committed to sustainability as well as social, economical and environmental concerns. And it is committed to giving back to the community.

But in the end, it comes back to family. It’s a business that feels like a family. Because, of course, it is a family. Brad and Cary work very well together, Thompson says.

“It’s very much a family,” he says. “They’re a good yin and yang. It works.”

The brothers try to model excellent relationships.

“In business there has to be a lot of give and take, humility and respect for the other’s point of view,” Gutwein says. “We’ve done it our entire lives. We understand each other; we listen. If there are issues, we talk through them.”

And it’s a feeling that extends beyond the brothers; as Thompson points out, a good number of their team have been with them since the Morning Song days, people who work in operations, sales, marketing, graphic design.

And at the heart of the business: coffee. Because what better way to be successful than to love what you do, do what you love?

“Coffee brings people together,” says Gutwein. “It’s a global beverage — it literally is recognized globally. I love coffee.” ★

BY JANE MCLAUGHLIN ANDERSON
MELISSA MORRIS PHOTOGRAPHY

As we happily flip over the calendar to 2021, discover a new place to pursue wellness for mind, body and spirit in Greater Lafayette. The West Lafayette Wellness Center opened in early January, just in time to pursue your New Year’s resolutions. Located in Cumberland Park on the north side of West Lafayette, it is open to everyone, regardless of residence. A recreation and indoor aquatic facility has been on the city’s bucket list for more than 30 years; the timing couldn’t be better to build a holistic center for health. The Wellness Center has something
for everybody.

Wellness Center Director Kevin Noe says, “This is much more than a gym or a fitness center; we are growing a community and building relationships with a wholesome family atmosphere. You can bring your kids in and drop them off at the Clubhouse while you take a class. You can work out while your kids are at basketball practice.” Having the space to create new programs and room to grow is exciting for the West Lafayette Parks Department, which most recently operated out of the former Happy Hollow Elementary School building.

The 7,300-square-foot fitness floor includes a full line-up of strength training and cardio equipment with a view. Wrap-around windows overlook the park, outdoor playground, pond and the adjacent Michaud-Sinninger Nature Preserve, teeming with wildlife. Inviting nature to indoor and outdoor activities sparks energy and wellness, reduces stress and gives people a place to connect with others the old-fashioned way – in person.

The large hybrid pool can accommodate swimmers of all abilities. There are three different ways to enter the pool: zero depth with water features for children, traditional stairs, and a wheelchair lift. The indoor aquatic facility features four lap lanes and areas for swim lessons and group exercise. There’s even a vortex section to walk with or against the current. Dive-In Movies in the pool area are just one of the fun programs in store. Parks Superintendent Kathy Lozano says, “Swimming is a lifelong exercise and something you can do well into your 80s or 90s.”

Like to play games? Great! There are plenty of opportunities to play sports in the two wooden floor basketball-sized gyms or the multi-purpose gym striped for pickleball. A four-lane running/walking track overlooks the gymnasium and is a great way to keep moving in the winter. If you like exercising in a group atmosphere, the Wellness Center has three studios for classes. The Wellness Center will hold youth and adult sports programs and summer camps in this space, but they are not included in the membership fee.

Membership includes unlimited use of the pool, open gym, strength and cardio equipment, indoor walking track, group exercise and wellness classes, and childcare while you work out. Members receive discounts on swim lessons and personal training, along with special member-only activities. Membership is open to everyone; however, households who pay West Lafayette property taxes and active military are exempt from the joiner’s fee.

Non-residents pay the one-time fee in addition to their membership package. No contracts are required, and members may put their accounts on hold for three months a year if needed. A variety of individual and family memberships are available, as well as daily passes. See the website for details, wl.in.gov/parks, or stop by the Wellness Center at 1101 Kalberer Rd., West Lafayette.
Integrating the Wellness Center within Cumberland Park provides opportunities to commune with nature and increase well-being. A marked 5K trail weaves around the grounds of the building and through the park. Eventually, the trail will lead to the new Margerum Government and Community Center.
In its very definition, recreation is the refreshment of one’s mind or body after work through an activity that amuses or stimulates; play. The Well-

ness Center is a prescription for attaining that refreshment.
“The Wellness Center has something for every health seeker,” says Wellness Coordinator Rachel MacDougall. “It’s no secret that exercise has many benefits. The Wellness Center will be a great tool for the community to focus on physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.”
Community rooms can be rented for meetings or gatherings with a nearby warming kitchen available. There’s even a party room by the pool to host children’s birthday parties. DogStudio is commissioned to create an interactive motion-sensing art piece in the lobby guaranteed to captivate and emotionally engage visitors. Check out West Lafayette Parks’ Facebook page for dynamic news, photos and videos of the Wellness Center and all parks and recreation activities. ★

“The Wellness Center will be a great tool for the community to focus on physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.”

BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

On a cold winter’s day, or even a warm summer evening, a bowl of soup can be a meal or a side dish to a grilled cheese sandwich.

A good bowl of soup can bring customers into a restaurant, and there are several Greater Lafayette establishments that offer a variety of homemade soups.

“Soups are comfort food,” says Jody Bahler, founder and owner of The Homestead, which has locations in West Lafayette and Remington. “It’s like balm to the soul to enjoy a delicious steamy bowl of homemade soup.”
The Homestead believes in offering a wide variety of soups each month. Including its tomato basil, which is available daily, The Homestead usually has nearly a dozen soups on its monthly menu.

“There is enough to satisfy everyone’s taste buds,” Bahler says. “Everyone enjoys a steamy bowl of soup, especially during these cold wintry months.”

The Homestead’s website, homesteadbuttery.com, has a daily lunch calendar that allows patrons to see what soups are available on a daily basis. The Homestead also packages its soups frozen for customers to heat up at home, a popular business strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked which is the most popular soup among her customers, Bahler couldn’t stop at just one. There are five on her list: tomato basil, baked potato, Boilermaker stew, chicken noodle and cheesy broccoli noodle.

“We have several that rank up at the tip top in sales. Those five are in constant demand, which thrills us that our soups are enjoyed by so many,” Bahler says. Bahler’s personal favorite is tomato basil in combination with The Homestead’s grilled cheese sandwich. She also recommends getting the Boilermaker stew topped with sour cream, crushed cheesy Doritos and extra shredded cheddar cheese.

“Our soups are hearty and do not contain preservatives or fillers,” Bahler says. “They are made completely from scratch in our Homestead production kitchen in Remington, Indiana.”

In case you were wondering, The Homestead offers several gluten-free soups: chicken and rice, chicken tortilla, Homestead chili, tomato basil and white chicken chili.

The Homestead’s West Lafayette location, which is tucked inside Bell Plaza next to Wolf’s Chocolates and Boutique & Gifts by Michele, boasts 22 different varieties of frozen entrees along with pies, cookies, breads and sweet rolls. If the food isn’t enough, The Homestead sells candles, chocolates, jams, Amish noodles, deli meats and cheeses and locally raised freezer beef.

At Trish’s Red Bird Café in Dayton, chicken corn chowder has the honor of being the most popular soup. Not far behind, though, is the breakfast soup.

“I believe that these are so popular because they are so fresh tasting and just warm you up on the inside,” says Red Bird Café owner Trish Brown, whose personal favorite is her tomato basil soup.

“It’s not a traditional tomato soup,” Brown says. “It is very chunky.”

Brown believes the secret to her soups’ popularity is simple.

“I would say our soups are so special because we make them completely from scratch and I can tell you every ingredient in every one,” she says. “Our soups are not the ‘normal’ soups you see in other restaurants. We offer several that were created just for us.”

Trish’s Red Bird Café sells homemade soups by the quart, hot or cold, for $10. The current list includes stuffed bell pepper, loaded potato, broccoli cheese, chili, chicken tortilla, chicken corn chowder, tomato basil bisque and the breakfast soup. All are gluten-free.

“I feel that the Greater Lafayette area likes soups and chili because it is a good way to fill up, and it just makes you think of family,” Brown says. “Growing up in this area most of us ate a lot of soup, so at least for me personally it brings back happy memories. It’s just good comfort, feel-good food.”

Partially for space reasons, Great Harvest Bread Co. doesn’t offer a variety of soups like The Homestead and Trish’s Red Bird Café. However, Great Harvest owner Jerry Lecy says a great deal of care goes into each batch coming out of Great Harvest’s kitchen.

“We make these soups from scratch, so it’s not easy to perfect so many options,” Lecy says. Those options include butternut squash, cheesy broccoli, cream of mushroom, cheesy potato ham, and chili.

Like The Homestead and Trish’s Red Bird Café, Great Harvest customers list tomato basil as a favorite along with velvet chicken.

“The popularity contest between the tomato basil and the velvet chicken is a toss-up,” Lecy says. “Both are desired just as much. My personal
favorite is velvet chicken. I just love the creamy taste and shreds of chicken. The seasoning tops it off.”

For customers who desire to have Great Harvest soups at home, there are dry soup mixes for sale.

“We offer over 20 varieties of these soups that are easy to make and tasty,” Lecy says. “They can be tweaked to a person’s liking with additional ingredients, or it’s simple to just add water and heat up.”

Just as easy is Lecy’s explanation for why he believes soups are a staple of Greater Lafayette dining.

“I believe soup is so desirous in our area for two reasons,” he says. “First, it is a simple meal – don’t need to figure out which main course you want or which sides you want with that. It’s one easy decision: which delicious soup do I want?

“Second, it’s a comfort food (which) warms the soul and body.” ★

BY KAT BRAZ
PHOTOS PROVIDED

The original idea behind Art with a Happy Heart Gallery and Studio was simple: find a way to share art and support the community at the same time. After quickly outgrowing her barn studio, owner and artist Sarah Czajkowski purchased the building previously occupied by Samson and Delilah Salon and Spa at 2139 Ferry St. in Lafayette. She set about transforming the space and opened to the public on July 1.

The gallery showcases artwork from local, regional and international artists while the studio provides an area for private art instruction, classes taught by visiting artists, seasonal craft workshops and paint parties, which is where Czajkowski got her start.

“Paint parties lend themselves to creativity and connection,” she says. “The experience fosters a real sense of self-confidence and pride. Guests are surprised and amazed that they created the artwork themselves.”
Czajkowski also offers a mobile paint party studio where she brings all the supplies to any location up to an hour away. The parties have been popular with girls’ night out groups, family reunions, children’s birthday parties, corporate events, bridal parties, church groups and fundraisers. Paint party kits are also available for purchase in the gallery. During the pandemic, Czajkowski has focused primarily on private group parties. Future plans for the venue include serving wine, beer and a small food menu on the outdoor patio and hosting live music once a week in addition to building out a full calendar of courses in fine art, pottery and jewelry making.

“To be able to do this for a living brings me so much joy,” Czajkowski says. “All I want is for people to be happy while they are here. It’s truly a magical place.”

Adapting art

The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette was founded in 1909 with a three-part mission to collect art, exhibit art and provide educational opportunities for individuals in the community to learn about art and experience art hands on. The museum has remained true to its mission over the years, but COVID-19 presented challenges for traditional in-person instruction. Instead, the museum quickly pivoted to a virtual environment.

“Many of our faculty members created online learning experiences,” says Kendall Smith, executive director and CEO. “We’re trying a lot of new things.”

Last fall, the museum offered virtual classes in painting and drawing for kids and adults through Zoom and Facebook Live. Additionally, watercolor kits are available for purchase through the museum shop for students to use at home while watching a series of watercolor technique videos recorded by a member of the museum faculty. The pottery studio remains open to advanced students with limited occupancy.

“The reaction from the community has been very positive,” Smith says. “Several of our online children’s art classes have sold out right after they were announced. We plan to continue to offer virtual education and create video productions to enhance what we offer in the future. We’re all learning a lot.”

Art Classes Around Town

» All Fired Up
In addition to its paint-your-own pottery studio, All Fired Up offers off-site parties and pottery-to-go kits with everything you need to complete a masterpiece. Items painted with pottery paints can be returned to the store for firing to make them food safe. Decorative items that do not need to be food safe can be finished in acrylic paints. Learn more at allfiredupwestlafayette.com.

» Art Museum of Greater Lafayette
Find online art activities and tutorials as well as information about virtual art classes for youth and adults at the Art Museum’s website, artlafayette.org.

» Art with a Happy Heart
In addition to private paint parties, artist-led workshops and even yoga classes, this recently opened studio and gallery holds open studio events where you’ll walk away with your own seasonal craft. Find out more at artwithahappyheart.com.

» Inspired Fire
Owned and operated by glass artist Sharon Owens, this glass studio and gallery located in Shadeland offers a range of classes for ages 6 and up with no experience required. See a complete list of class offerings at inspiredfire.com.

» Lafayette Atelier
Modeled after private art studio schools that emerged in 19th century Europe, this nonprofit art education studio was founded by artist James C. Werner. Focused on classical methods of drawing, painting and sculpture, the studio offers weekly demonstration and life
drawing nights. Find them on Facebook @classicalfinearttraining.

» LaLa Gallery & Studio
Owner Angela Taylor teaches lessons, classes, parties, groups and students with special needs starting with children (3+) to adults in her private pottery studio located in the Bindery Artist Studios. Each class offering can be customized according to the student’s interest and level of experience. For more information, visit lalagallery.com.

» West Lafayette Parks and Recreation
Everything from basket weaving to watercolor to photography is on offer through West Lafayette Parks and Recreation. All programs take place at 1200 N. Salisbury St. (site of the former Happy Hollow Elementary School). View the entire recreation brochure at westlafayette.in.gov/parks.

BY ANGELA K. ROBERTS
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY GREATER LAFAYETTE COMMERCE

When you think of Greater Lafayette, what comes to mind?
A growing startup culture and world-class manufacturing?
Accessible arts and recreation for varied interests? Friendly
neighbors and excellent public schools?

For the members of the Greater Lafayette Marketing Coalition (GLMC), these qualities and more boil down to this core message, which marketing professionals call a brand promise:
“Greater Lafayette is where progress, creativity and community thrive, so you can live expansively.”

More than two years in the making, the unmasking of the brand — unveiled in the Long Center in October to dispersed guests sporting an assortment of understated and glittered masks — includes new social media accounts, a video, a set of Greater Lafayette logos and a fresh website in a saturated palette of purple, green, orange, blue and teal. The stories that the visuals and the text tell are all designed to send the message that Greater Lafayette is not just a place that we come to; it’s a place where we want to stay.

Roots in the GE deal

Greater Lafayette’s brand is rooted in part in lessons learned from a major business development deal.
“We continue to hear stories of people who came here and thought they would stay for a while, but they never left,” says Cindy Murray, Lafayette city clerk. “When we were going through the process to bring in GE, what they used to choose our community, it really began to hit home that we needed to market ourselves to compete in a global economy for global talent.”
When the GE plant was built, she says, corporate officials stayed at the Holiday Inn Lafayette-City Centre and participated in a community scavenger hunt. Afterwards, the visitors met with Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski and remarked that they didn’t know the region had so much to offer. Murray says that the mayor and his staff realized that they needed to tell the Greater Lafayette story in an entirely new way. “It’s all about people, the quality of life for people that makes them give Greater Lafayette a chance,” she explains.

A phased process

In May 2018, Greater Lafayette officials invited firms to bid on developing a comprehensive strategy. Ultimately, they chose Ologie, a firm that has worked with Purdue University in the past.

“They are a true branding agency who helps companies with clear, compelling and consistent strategy,” says Emily Blue, senior manager of brand, advertising and sponsorships at Purdue, who has been intimately involved in Greater Lafayette’s branding process.

The firm completed a deep dive with both qualitative and quantitative research, including an audit of economic development plans and communications materials, discussion groups and interviews with key stakeholders, and an online survey of the community. Among the constituents queried: corporations, businesses, K-12 schools and higher education, community and nonprofit organizations and government organizations.

Strategy and creative

The Greater Lafayette Marketing Coalition formed in February 2019, bringing together representatives from the City of Lafayette, the City of West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette, Purdue University, the Purdue Research Foundation and Greater Lafayette Commerce. One of the group’s first decisions was to ask member organization Greater Lafayette Commerce to coordinate the project and brand management for the coalition. Greater Lafayette Commerce promoted its marketing director, Michelle Brantley, to the role of project leader and brand manager.

Once the discovery process was complete, it was time for phase two, strategy. Against the backdrop of its research report, and with GLMC in a collaborative role, the firm identified key audiences, outlined key messages and defined a brand personality — how that messaging should look, feel and sound.

As phase three, the creative, began, GLMC again engaged in a competitive process, choosing Toledo, Ohio-based Madhouse Creative for the video, and homegrown advertising firm Dearing Group for website development. Officials also began training a small group of Lafayette business professionals, executive directors and community leaders — “An ambassador group to generate excitement,” says David Byers, Tippecanoe County commissioner.

A community on the rise

Collectively, the identity is designed to meet three main goals: increasing the talent pool by retaining and attracting a citizen workforce; spurring economic growth by attracting business investments and elevating quality of life; and increasing positive perceptions of the Greater Lafayette region. All of that can be summed up in the nearly five-minute video, starring a former NBA dancer and her husband.

“We were challenged to tell our story as a community on the rise in an exciting way,” says Brantley. “We’re focused on prospective employees, businesses and others that we are seeking to attract to our area.” That required several messages, borne out of the constituent research: what kinds of value-addeds transplants get when they relocate here, how Greater Lafayette often exceeds newcomers’ expectations, and why the region is a great place to do business.

All that, and they were shooting during a pandemic.

True fiction

After crafting a narrative, the Madhouse Creative team decided to cast a couple living in the same household so that they could shoot up close and still adhere to infection control protocols. Strategic camera angles allowed the two main characters to be shot in view of others while socially distanced from them. Filmed in August, many of the scenes take place outside.

The main character, an advanced manufacturing professional from a big city, interviews with several local companies before joining the crew at Subaru. While out running one day at the Celery Bog, she meets an agricultural tech entrepreneur. From dates at the Bryant, to bike rides, to a city hall wedding and walks with a baby stroller, we see the couple meet, fall in love — with each other and the community — and set down roots here.

Even in its fiction, the story should ring true to those who are familiar with Greater Lafayette, from the many familiar sights and sounds to the feelings that it evokes. As the protagonist muses, “When I moved here, I was looking for change. But what I found was home. This is the rich, full life I’ve always wanted. Each of us, every single person in our community, is what makes this place… greater.”

The Greater Lafayette Brand Launch Event

Un-Masking the Greater Lafayette Brand

PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

The Greater Lafayette Marketing Coalition held a scaled back brand launch event on Monday, Oct. 26, hosting a group of elected officials, corporate,
university and civic leaders, and brand ambassadors.

The event was planned in two parts to disperse guests and maintain COVID-19 protocol. GLMC partnered with restaurants and The Long Center for Performing Arts to provide a safe and entertaining brand premier event. Guests were asked to select their restaurant of choice and enjoy a four-course meal before the premier. Mixing and mingling at the restaurants was discouraged. Each venue was unique, providing guests with live entertainment and surprise swag bag deliveries during the dinner party experience.

After dinner, guests made their way to the Long Center for the brand premier, where they were treated to a red-carpet experience complete with a Greater Lafayette Walk of Fame. Again, mixing and mingling was minimized and guests were directed to their socially distanced seats. The program began with a dazzling performance of the Greater Lafayette brand narrative by Dance Dynamics. It was followed by short segments that revealed the elements of the new brand, including brand colors and logos, Greater Lafayette Magazine, the website and brand video.

We encourage readers to view the video at www.greaterlafayetteind.com,
the home page of the Greater Lafayette website.

Long Center for the Performing Arts
A quiet Long Center for the Performing Arts prior to guests arrival.

BY CINDY GERLACH

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY VISIT LAFAYETTE – WEST LAFAYETTE

If someone had suggested 15 or 20 years ago that you take a drive down Wabash Avenue, that suggestion may have been met with hesitation — apprehension, even. 

And a suggestion to view the art? Laughable. 

Today, what was formerly a hidden neighborhood, a sort of secret enclave of life along the Wabash River, is now a bright spot. And much of the credit goes to Wabash Walls. 

This public art installation, a series of murals painted on the sides of buildings both residential and commercial, has breathed new life into this decades-old neighborhood, often considered on the fringe of Lafayette society. 

The project got started back in 2016 and 2017, says Tetia Lee, executive director of the Tippecanoe Arts Federation and one of the curators of Wabash Walls. 

“At the time, as an artist myself, I’m always looking around,” Lee says. “When I see a beautiful wall, I think a mural would look great there.”

Lee was struck by a retaining wall along Second Avenue; the wheels of inspiration started turning. She ran into Margy Deverall with the City of Lafayette at a Neighborhood Beautification Coalition meeting. She threw the idea at Deverall: Let’s do a mural festival.

“It was all very organic,” says Lee. “We were both ready to take a bigger next step.”

And, as they say, from small things, big things come. The conversation began to draw in others — Stephanie Bible with Habitat for Humanity, artist Cameron Moberg, and Dennis Carson with the City of Lafayette. A proposal was put together, and initial funding provided $50,000 for a project that would be transformative, uplifting and engaging.

The result is a project that has indeed reinvigorated and re-branded the neighborhood. Lee has seen buy-in from not just the artists, but from local businesses – Cargill Inc. came on early as a sponsor — and neighbors. Everyone has delighted in watching the neighborhood come alive with color. 

Wabash Avenue has long been considered a marginalized area. The working-class neighborhood, often referred to as the “lower part” of town, is a stronghold of a bygone era. And its reputation has suffered over the past several decades.

It’s a bad rap that seems undeserved, as a current drive through the area reveals tidy houses with well-kept lawns and a diverse population, with younger people gravitating there to live and work. Not to mention a neighborhood spirit that is evident.

“The most important part is that we established a trust with a neighborhood that is marginalized and over promised,” Lee says.

The Wabash Avenue residents were quick to get on board with the project. Early on, Lee says, they opened their doors, inviting her in as the early stages of the feasibility study kicked off. 

“They became the vital and most-important part of informing the neighborhood study,” Lee says. “That really demonstrates trust between the city and the neighborhood.”

People who live there can see the charm that others might not. And the murals helped highlight the beauty hovering at the surface.

“They got excited about having artwork in their neighborhood,” Lee says. And about the influx of visitors, as the artists and those who want to view the art descended on their once hidden part of town. 

“That’s the real reason it’s been so successful,” Lee says. 

Trent O’Brien and his wife, April, run Sacred Ground Coffee House. Like most of the neighborhood, they have seen nothing but positives come out of Wabash Walls. 

“It was definitely a really good thing,” O’Brien says. “The whole area has changed.”

O’Brien has seen people getting more involved in the neighborhood, becoming more welcoming. Last year, Sacred Grounds helped host a neighborhood Harvest Festival. Years ago, maybe a handful of people would have shown up, but this 2019 festival brought out hundreds of people.

“This never would have happened 15 years ago,” O’Brien says. “I do believe the art has helped.”

This opening up of the neighborhood, this newfound sense of community is a credit to the art and the artists, he says. 

“It brought people here who were out to see the art,” O’Brien says. “It has been very positive.”

In 2018, 10 murals were painted in the neighborhood; 2019 saw 11 more added. Artists featured were from all over — not just the United States, but from as far away as Australia. The onset of COVID-19 delayed the progress for 2020, but the project will expand to areas around the avenue, including crosswalk art to encourage more pedestrian-friendly zones. 

Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and Indiana Department of Health have helped the project continue for a third year. 

The fun and funky murals are a boon for the neighborhood, providing beauty, conversation and a real sense of shared identity. Visitors have come from all over the city, the county, even the state, anxious to check out the project. 

But the real benefits are more far-reaching. Lee says they’ve seen property values increase as the art has helped improve the area, making it a better, healthier place for residents to live and interact with one another. Once-abandoned buildings have been reclaimed and now feature murals. The micro-economy in the neighborhood has improved as the area has rebranded. It’s a huge improvement in the quality of life. 

Working with the neighbors, watching the project come to life has been an amazing process, says Lee.

“Wabash Walls continues to be a highlight to my career,” she says. “I could not have asked for a better neighborhood to work in. They treat me like family. I’m an honorary resident — I love it.”

Because at the end of the day, it’s truly about people.

It’s about the artists who have spent time in the neighborhood, sharing their stories with folks who would stop to watch the work and visit for a bit. It’s about the residents who have opened their arms, welcoming and embracing both the artists and the patrons who come to see the art. It’s about businesses that have come alive and welcomed the partnership of the artists, encouraging the camaraderie among all involved.

It’s the story, Lee says, of the transformative power of art.

“More than ever, we are turning to the arts to remind us that we’re human.”

BY CINDY GERLACH

PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

Small Business Saturday is a national movement launched in 2011, designed to get shoppers into smaller locally owned businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Locally, friendly neighborhood businesses partner with Greater Lafayette Commerce and offer specials and swag bags, resulting in a festive holiday shopping atmosphere. 

Small boutique shops offer products that are often local and more specialized, says Richelle Peterson, owner of Richelle in a Handbasket at Market Square. 

“We’re all about gifts,” she says. “We go back to the basics of giving with a purpose.”

At Richelle in a Handbasket, the shopping experience is very low-key and stress-free, very friendly. Customers are always greeted with a warm hello, Peterson says, and the shopping experience is very personal. There won’t be fighting in line or battles over items; instead, people will sit back, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, and find exactly the gift they were looking for, as Peterson and her staff help customize gift baskets and selections.

“It’s like you’re coming into my house,” Peterson says. “It’s warm, it’s very laid back, very happy.”

Helping customers find exactly the gift they are looking for, and not just settling for what is easy, is part of the shop’s mission, says Peterson. They specialize in customized gift baskets, which can be tailored to meet a customer’s exact needs, thus creating the perfect gift.

“We help people put thought into their gifts,” she says. “We try to make it a little more personal. People can take their time. It’s about the thought — we help with that. We’re here to help, not to push.”

At Boutique LoriAnn, 101 N. Sixth St., the emphasis is on quality and catering to customers’ exact needs, says owner Lori Schlaifer. Holiday shopping in the boutique will be upscale and, again, more personal. 

The shop won’t be as crowded as a women’s clothing retailer at a mall, she says. And because she only orders a very limited number of each item, a customer can be sure that she won’t see everyone she knows wearing the exact same item she buys.

Because her boutique is small, Schlaifer gets to know — really know — her customers, their likes and preferences. When an item comes that she thinks might suit someone, she lets them know. 

“It’s more intimate,” she says. “It’s more personal.”

Down the road at Stall & Kessler’s, 333 Columbia St., the focus is also on personalization and customization, says co-owner Kris Kessler. The shop values all its customers, he says — “We’re excited to see anyone walk in the front door.”

As a specialty business, they do focus on high-end jewelry, and pieces are customized to each person’s needs — everything from earrings, bracelets and necklaces to cufflinks and specially designed rings. People tend to think that means a higher price tag, Kessler says. But that is not necessarily the case. 

Plus, he feels they are selling much more than a mere product.

“We’re selling on a deeper level than most retailers,” he says. “We are selling quality pieces of jewelry that celebrate these moments in people’s lives. I really find the joy and the connection when people come in and are celebrating that engagement or anniversary.

“Yes, what we’re selling is rock and metal. But it’s part of these moments in a lifetime. We really cherish that.”

There are people who might find shopping downtown intimidating, fearful of finding — or, more importantly, not finding — parking, or of stores not feeling welcoming. That could not be further from the truth, say both Schlaifer and Kessler. 

“One of the nice things we have downtown is parking that is 15 feet away from our front door,” Kessler says. “At the mall, it’s a lot longer walk.”

Schlaifer agrees — it’s one of the benefits of her location at the corner of Sixth and Columbia streets, which is surrounded by two-hour parking spots.

“It’s pretty easy to find parking,” she says.  

When people shop in locally owned businesses, much more of the profit stays in town. According to shopsmall.com, for every dollar spent at a small business, about 67 cents stays in the local community. Locally, businesses noted an 80 percent increase in sales on Shop Small Saturday over a regular Saturday, according to Greater Lafayette Commerce. 

Peterson says this is definitely part of the appeal of Richelle in a Handbasket, which proudly features locally made products.

“People shop here because we have Indiana products, a plethora of them,” she says. 

The effects of COVID-19 will certainly affect how people shop this holiday season. Kessler says their store has never been cleaner as they focus on keeping their environment as safe as possible for everyone. 

And Peterson says she has seen a huge shift in how people interact given the limits on how people can be together. She has shipped a lot of gifts so people can send a little love with a gift basket, because people can’t be near those they care about. 

“I think people have forgotten how to be human in their giving,” Peterson says. “A lot more matters. Families, people, neighbors matter. I think it’s brought some humanity back.”

But the biggest benefit of shopping small is the relationships among people. Kessler says he has seen many people turn to online shopping during these days of the pandemic. Stall & Kessler’s is not set up for online shopping. However, he says, their staff can make that work. They were recently able to help a customer purchase a piece of jewelry as an 80th birthday gift — over the phone. It was an accommodation they were happy to make.

“We really appreciate the people who choose to support us,” he says.

Christmas shopping should be fun. Gift-giving should be about the thought and about the experience. Local businesses, Peterson says, are better able to make those connections with customers and make it happen.

“We like talking to people,” she says. “We want people to enjoy shopping and enjoy giving, not break the bank. In today’s world, that matters.” 

Exciting changes for Shop Small 2020

Greater Lafayette Commerce and its Main Street committee are developing a series of scavenger hunts, using the GooseChase app, to promote local businesses this Shop Small season. The scavenger hunts will run through December 31. Participating small businesses will create missions for people playing the games. Players need only download the app on their phones and click the shop small missions.

The scavenger hunts will include missions where participants take photos of special items within stores, photos of the foods they eat, or videos of them making purchases. Players will compete for points; the more missions someone completes, the more points they earn. There will be prizes for top point earners (swag bags filled with gifts and gift certificates from participating businesses). 

To help maintain social distancing the missions will be randomly ordered to drive players to different stores every day. 

“We know our small businesses are gearing up this year to offer consumers unique products and gifts.  We hope the players find the scavenger hunts to be a fun way to get their competitive juices flowing while getting them out to the retailers’ shops,” says Mark Lowe, small business consultant for Greater Lafayette Commerce. 

You can learn more about Shop Small Greater Lafayette at greaterlafayettecommerce.com Or contact Mark Lowe at mlowe@greaterlafayettecommerce.com. To participate in the Shop Small Greater Lafayette scavenger hunts, players can download the GooseChase app at goosechase.com or from the google or apple app stores. 

BY KEN THOMPSON

PHOTO BY CHRISTINE PETKOV

In a region that has more than its share of locally owned restaurants competing with national chains, it should be no surprise that Greater Lafayette has a mixture of long-time favorite donut shops, two others on the way to earning that status and a newcomer that is growing its clientele.

Mary Lou Donuts

Mary Lou Donuts opened for business in 1961, but the only thing about it that feels close to its age is its mid-century modern A-frame building on South Fourth Street.

That’s because owner Jeff Waldon is always thinking about the future while making the most of the present. What did Waldon see when he purchased Mary Lou’s in 2017?

“That it could be bigger than that little A-frame on Fourth Street,” says Waldon, a former teacher and Lafayette Jeff girls basketball coach. “The people who came before me – Mary Lou Graves, Keith Cochran and especially Brian Freed, who spent 37 years of his life there – 27 years as owner, 10 as a worker. They made that place. All we needed to do was not screw that up.”

Waldon and his son, Courtney, made sure of that by sticking to what makes Mary Lou’s so popular. They make their own glaze, whipped cream filling and icing. 

“It’s a fresher product,” Waldon says. “The more you can make it like home-made, the better it’s going to be.”

COVID-19 affected Mary Lou’s like it has virtually every business in the United States. Closing time is now at 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Mary Lou’s is closed Sundays, and that will remain in effect even when the pandemic guidelines are rolled back.

Mary Lou’s counter remains closed but the drive-thru is doing good business. Even the regulars have found a way to enjoy their coffee and donuts.

“I used to have a 9 o’clock group, a 10:30 group and I had my 1 o’clock guys, motorcycle riders who would come by and eat every day,” Waldon says. “My 4 o’clock group that was there until we closed, and we usually had to kick them out at 5, now some of those people are coming in the morning and sitting in their lawn chairs in the parking lot.”

One of Waldon’s innovations – the food truck – also has been mostly sidelined by COVID-19. The good news is he’s getting ready to roll it back out this fall in smaller communities.

When the food truck hits the road, demand will be high for Mary Lou’s apple fritter.

“It’s the best one ever, anywhere,” Waldon says. “No one makes one like it anywhere.”

Like elsewhere across the country, the glazed yeast donut is popular. So is Mary Lou’s blueberry cake donut. Waldon looks forward to when he can reopen the front doors so he can sell more iced sugar cookies and cut-out iced cookies. Waldon boasts of having sold 15,000 cut-out cookies at Christmas.

“We just started doing blueberry muffins, chocolate, chocolate chip and banana nut chocolate chip,” he says. “Not everybody loves donuts and when you get something for the family, we want to make sure everybody gets something.”

Mary Lou’s will get a boost when the Big Ten Network airs its third season of “Campus Eats.” The production team spent the weekend of Sept. 12 at Mary Lou’s.

If Waldon gets the chance, here’s the message he’d like to send to Big Ten country.

“Wherever you came from, you probably had a favorite donut. And if it’s unfortunate enough to have been one of the big chain donuts, you really missed out. If you have a favorite hometown donut, you are going to go to (Mary Lou’s) and you’re going to forget about all those other places. The thing about our product—and I hear it over and over and over again—is that people will say I’ve never had another donut like this anywhere. The taste, the texture, the size of donut I get, the quality and the price, it’s ridiculous.”

O’Rear’s

This mainstay of downtown Lafayette has been around since the 1920s when William O’Rear opened the bakery. O’Rear’s moved to its current location, 312 N. Ninth St., in 1957.

Greg and Judy Lintner have owned O’Rear’s since 2005, coming from a family that owned a bakery in Rensselaer for 47 years.

“When we came from Rensselaer … we were more of a breakfast roll and cake bakery but we did everything: cookies, brownies, pies,” Greg Lintner says. “You name it, we did it, just like here. The only difference is we do a few rolls compared to a ton of rolls we did in Rensselaer. We are more of a pastry shop with all our cookies, cupcakes and brownies. I like it a lot better.”

Lintner admits that competing with the likes of Mary Lou and Corlew Donuts is difficult since donuts are “90-some percent of their business.”

“Whereas when you come in here you see just a few pans of donuts we make,” he says. “Sometimes what’s so frustrating is you make six or seven pans and sell three. The next day you sell them out and customers ask where are your donuts.

“My mother and father told me from the get-go when I first got into the business, if you can figure out the American public, you have done something that we have not done yet. You don’t know from one day to the next who is coming through that door.”

When customers do come in to O’Rear’s, they ask for pastries, cupcakes, cut-out cookies and regular cookies. Two big sellers are the butter stars and tea cookies.

“Judy makes those two or three times a week,” Lintner says. “She’ll always tell me, ‘You’re not going to believe this but we have to make tea cookies again.’ Just to show you the difference between Rensselaer and here: the red star cookies that we do are a staple here. In Rensselaer, it was strictly a holiday cookie. 

In addition to closing six days a week at 1 p.m. (O’Rear’s is closed on Mondays), COVID-19 has affected business. With the churches being closed in the early days of the pandemic due to Indiana’s stay-at-home mandate, Sundays were no longer one of O’Rear’s most profitable days. 

But a couple of positives did come out of the COVID-19 regulations. 

“Since coming back now, our cakes are even fresher than they used to be,” Lintner says. “Now we make smaller batches, so they are even fresher and more moist.”

O’Rear’s also changed the way it displays its baked goods. 

“One good thing that’s immensely helped is everything is now packaged,” Lintner explains. “Whereas before people almost frowned on the fact that it was packaged. They wanted it from the pan, open aired. Now our shelf life has doubled or tripled because it stays fresher longer.”

Hammer Donuts

The West Lafayette bakery gets the word out to Purdue University students and the public about its product mostly through social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Owner Michael Cho, who started working at Hammer Donuts as a manager, says marketing was a lot easier before COVID-19 sent most of his clientele packing from Purdue housing.

“We lost a few orders due to the impact of this pandemic. We used to have weekly standing orders from a few churches and wedding orders from time to time. However, we are fortunate that we still have the order from Circle K convenience stores, which can keep our business running,” he says. 

The seven Circle K Stores in West Lafayette are now the only places to buy Hammer donuts. The pandemic forced Hammer to alter its sales from retail to a store-to-store business.

Cho believes in the potential for Hammer Donuts’ growth, so much so that he says he decided to take a risk and take over when the previous owner, a partner of Discount Den, was selling it.

Popular items include filled donuts, glazed yeast donuts and cereal topping donuts.

“We are a local business and we try our best to keep everything local,” Cho says. “Our employees are mostly Purdue students. Almost all of them are inexperienced and for many of them, this was their first job. We taught and trained them how to make donuts from scratch.

“We often support student events by donating free donuts. We are a new and growing company, but we are always trying our best to give back to our community.”

Mama Ines Mexican Bakery

Rosa Cornejo is one of 10 children raised by Maria Ines Cornejo in the small village of Salazares Tlatenango in Zacatecas, Mexico.

There, Rosa Cornejo developed her personal philosophy of “everyone else’s ‘can’t’ is my “I can.’”

After moving to Lafayette and establishing herself in the community, Cornejo likely heard people saying “she can’t” when opening the bakery named after her mother. 

What those doubters didn’t realize was that the decision to open a bakery was not made li