Welcome To the Party: The Colts aren’t playing, but that’s no reason not to enjoy the Super Bowl

Indianapolis is about to become the United States’ biggest all-ages playground.

This week and next, expect the city to explode with parties, zip-lining, celebrities, concerts and sheer excitement.

As usual, Butler University students are right in the midst of it all, volunteering for events like the NFL Players’ Party or working at the NFL Experience.

“The week and a half that I’ll be working will be super chaotic but completely worth it to have such a unique experience,” said Taylor Staniszeski, a junior speech pathology major.

Staniszeski will be working at the NFL Experience for A+ Student Staffing, a company that specifically hires college students for big-time athletic events.

Other students are volunteering at specific events such as the NFL Players’ Party. The aunt of Alyssa Vahala, a senior physician assistant major, owns the catering company for the dinner. Extra help was needed, so many of Vahala’s fellow classmates will refill drinks and offer appetizers to some of the biggest names in football.

Erica Grabinski, a senior biology and Spanish major, is one of the lucky ones and said she can’t wait to hopefully meet some NFL players, although she’s mostly just excited to be part of such an awesome experience.

Alex Jennings and Hannah Townsend, both sophomores, will be having awesome experiences of their own, helping out 1iota fill concerts.

1iota is a company that helps fill audiences and events with enthusiastic fans. Jennings and Townsend both heard about the opportunity to receive free concert tickets over their sorority listserv if they would be an upbeat audience member for the cameras.

They’ll be attending the NFL Awards Show with Lenny Kravitz, a Vh1 concert with the All American Rejects, B.o.B. and Gym Class Heroes and more with other sorority sisters.

Townsend said they jumped on the opportunity for free concert tickets and a great way to experience the Super Bowl.

Concerts are not the only major event going on for the next week. The list of events for the Super Bowl is enough to make heads spin.

While the $1,000-ish a ticket Rolling Stone Bacardi party and the invite-only Playboy party sound tempting, the downtown is offering much more for small-budget college students who want to enjoy the fun without severely hurting their wallet.

Thankfully there are many things for students to explore—if they’re willing to sit in traffic with the entire East Coast.

Beside the huge Roman numerals being installed in the circle today—as is typical in every town that holds the Super Bowl—the circle will also contain up to 12 food trucks per day. All trucks will have extended hours for the week.

Right next to the circle, Circle Centre Mall will open a club and entertainment area called The Huddle in what used to be Nordstrom’s.

During the day, admission will be free and the Huddle will host live WISH-TV broadcasts, the Bob & Tom Show live in the morning, the End Zone Beer Garden and more. At night, the Huddle After Hours Club will open within The Huddle for what’s being called an “affordable” price, although the price has yet to be announced.

And, of course, there is the NFL Experience, which starts this Friday. Tickets are $25 per day.

Anyone going downtown now will see the construction being added to the front of the Convention Center for the Experience.

Appearances by famous athletes are practically a given, especially with free autograph sessions. Also expect  games, displays, merchandise and the largest football memorabilia show ever, according to the Experience’s website.

The Super Bowl Village will be its own event as well. Taking up all of Georgia Street, the village will feature the best of having the Super Bowl in town. Making top news is the street-long zip line. Patrons can zoom along at seven stories high, seeing a good portion of downtown in a new way. Tickets were $10, but all pre-sale tickets are now sold out. However, tickets will be available once the village  opens Jan. 27. Access into the village itself is free.

As if that wasn’t enough, there are concerts. And more concerts. And just a few more.

To name a few musicians who will grace the city: Bret Michaels, the Max Allen Band, Indiana native Jon McLaughlin, Fuel, Snoop Dogg, Edwin McCain, Darius Rucker, 50 Cent, Lil’ Jon, Pitbull, LMFAO, Umphrey’s McGee, O.A.R. and The Fray.

While most of them will be performing on Georgia Street in the Super Bowl Village, some will be at various events. For example, 50 Cent, Pitbull and Lil’ Jon will perform at the “Bud Light Hotel,” formerly known as the Hampton Inn on South Meridian Street. That same hotel will also host the Playboy Party and a Tailgate Party with the Barenaked Ladies.

For natives too mainstream for the rest of the events, Sun King Brewing has them covered. Their “Local Underground Tent” will offer food from Chef JJ’s Big Green Bistro, a beer bar, live music and a heated tent.

Also, hometown favorites like the Children’s Museum, White Rabbit Cabaret, Scotty’s Brewhouse and the Indianapolis Museum of Art are kicking up their game for the week, so be sure not to forget.

Confused about where to start? No worries. Indianapolis Downtown’s website (indydt.com) has a full list of events and even a free app for iPhones or Androids to figure out details.

This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the madness of a Super Bowl in your hometown. Venture out of the bubble with your fellow classmates to enjoy every minute of it.

BRINGING IT TO CAMPUS
Downtown isn’t the only place that gets all the fun though. See below for the special Super Bowl events that will be coming straight to campus.

13th NFL Super Bowl Gospel Celebration
Clowes Memorial Hall
Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m.

Gridiron Celebrity Hoops XIV
Feb. 4, 7 p.m. tipoff
Hinkle Fieldhouse
Headliners this year include Colts players Reggie Wayne and Antoine Bethea and former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens.

Shaquille O’Neal’s All-Star Comedy Jam
Clowes Memorial Hall
Feb. 4, 9 p.m.

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