Saturday, June 30, 2012

#262: Beer Is Good Craft Brew Fest

So it's already started (and perhaps some of the beers have already run out), but this event is too good to ignore.

People lined up for the 11 AM opening of Fiddler's Hearth, where more than thirty unusual craft beers are available for a on-day event.   Organized by 'The Beer is Good!' blogger, Andy, today you can find beers on tap not available elsewhere -- including five beers from cult favorite Three Floyds and Flat 12's Haggard Jo.   You can check out the full list here.

Going forward, there is no set schedule for when each beer will tapped, except for Bell's Black Note (at 6pm), but just head on over to Fiddler's and enjoy trying something new.

There is also a special food menu coordinated with the event.  AKA good drinking food, but foodie style. Think frog legs and bacon-wrapped goodies.  Perhaps the food alone is worth checking out.

When: Saturday, 11 AM - midnight
Where: Fiddler's Hearth, DTSB

TIP: If it gets crowded, don't forget that Fiddler's has a biergarten at the rear of the restaurant!  Look for the inside alley leading back next to the bar.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

#261: Jazz vs. Blues ...vs. Ska?

Today, you have to make a decision: blues or jazz.*

This weekend features both the South Bend Ribs and Blues Festival and the Elkhart Jazz Festival.  Which will it be?  Lots of barbecue vendors and  bands at the newly-renovated Coveleski Stadium?  Or an established and nationally-acclaimed jazz festival that features six stages scattered around downtown Elkhart? 

Or how about something completely different?  Slalom skateboarding -- the first (and perhaps first in Michiana ever) Pinhook Slalom Open, a time-based competition features 22 skaters from several states.  Perhaps most importantly, it's a fundraiser for charity:water. 

For more information about performers, ticket prices and parking: 

Elkhart Jazz Festival:
Now - Sunday afternoon
Tip: Don't have the dough to shell out?  Check the student pricing and/or the free concert at 5:00pm by Jenna Mammima and Robin Lewis at the Ruthmere Museum.

South Bend Ribs Festival: 
First act begins at 12:15 pm - last band goes on at 8:00 pm
(and check our profile of it last year here)

2012 Pinhook Slalom Open:

*Actually, you can experience them both -- the Elkhart Jazz Festival continues on Sunday.  Whew.

Friday, June 15, 2012

#260: Old 2 Gold

I find it interesting to think about the things that bring out 'the crazy' in different people.  For some, it might be their beloved sports teams; for others, their cats.  Some people drive hundreds of miles for a comic book convention...or a road race.   And for some, a good bargain is worth waking up for, worth fighting crowds and inclement weather. 

Tomorrow morning marks the annual Old 2 Gold sale, a sort of Black Friday for second-hand goods in the area.  Notre Dame collects and sells off unwanted and forgotten goods gathered from its students at the end of the academic year.  The piles and piles of stuff are then sold off at rock bottom prices.  Like $5 bike and $15 TV cheap.  Goofy college t-shirts?  Four for a buck. 

The perk is that this stuff is usually of decent quality.* Students (and as a ND alum, I know) are often too busy or luggage-restricted to deal with the stuff, so they donate it, and it's often high-quality and completely functional.  That's what makes Old 2 Gold such an event.

In years past, the sale was held in the ND football stadium, and people could line up at 5 AM for the Early Bird sale.  This year, things are being done a bit differently due to construction in the stadium.  It will be held at the old Target building near Double T's.  The sale starts at 9 AM, and there will be no Early Bird admittance. 

There is a fee to enter, but at $5, it's still a bargain.  And besides, I think the people-watching will be well worth the entry fee.

When: Saturday, June 16, 9 AM - Noon
Where: Target Building (has Steve & Barry's signage) at Hickory and McKinley Avenues
Cost: $5.00

Tip: You can scope out the site map early to formulate a plan of attack for optimal bargain hunting.

*Although I would be careful of college student bedding and cooking stuff. Who knows what happened there.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

#259: A Single Rose Florist

We here at 365 South Bend are big fans of the East Bank Village. Across the river from downtown, this area boasts some of our favorite shops and restaurants. Junk Evolution. Just Goods. Barnaby’s. Marigold's. The East Bank Emporium.  The list could go on and on. These places are staples of the South Bend community and evidence of the lively, energizing, enterprising spirit that currently pervades South Bend business. 

But as I was biking through the area on yesterday’s sunny afternoon, I managed to stop at a store that I had not previously visited. On the stretch of Niles between Colfax and Jefferson, the sign from “A Single Rose Florist” caught my eye. I’m recently engaged and so the advertisement for “Exquisite Weddings” convinced me to stop in. The small house in which the florist shop resides was surrounded by blooming flowers; a good indication of things to come. Inside, the owner was friendly and the shop was filled with a variety of wildflowers, roses, hydrangeas, and snapdragons. I only had time to quickly browse, but as I investigated the website later, I realized that this local florist is quite well known around the area for her lovely floral designs.

So whether you just want fresh-cut flowers on your dining room table or you’re leisurely planning your wedding or special event, A Single Rose Florist seems to be the local choice for you.

For more information visit the website here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

#258: Red Table Plaza Lunchtime Concert Series

It had already been quite a South Bend day when I stumbled upon the Red Table Concert Series at the corner of Jefferson and Michigan Streets in downtown South Bend. In the morning, I had biked to the Farmer’s Market along the Riverwalk accompanied by a cool breeze, several fishermen, and a group of children playing in Howard Park. After the return trip, I quickly dropped my recently procured asparagus and strawberries off at home and made my way down the library to get a good summer book.

It was after this stop that I decided to take a walk through downtown, thus giving myself the opportunity to haphazardly stumble upon live acoustic music during the lunch hour. I stopped and sat, not at one of the red tables (they were pretty much all full), but at a bench nearby. Today’s performer was a solo act and peppered his songs with interjections of his family, evidently longtime South Bend residents.  It was an exceedingly pleasant way to spend half an hour.

Perhaps I was particularly primed to enjoy the scene or the day. I recently moved back to South Bend after a year-long hiatus, and I’ve been enjoying rediscovering or revisiting some of my favorite places. Even though I’m not originally from South Bend, it has felt like a homecoming.

If you too want to enjoy the Red Table Concert Series, it will continue all summer long, every day until August 31st.  On Friday’s, the concerts will move to the Jon Hunt Plaza in a partnership with the Morris Performing Arts Center’s “Friday’s by the Fountain”. All concerts feature local artists performing from 11:45-1:15. I encourage you to take a walk, listen to some music, and enjoy downtown South Bend. I didn’t realize how much I would miss it until I moved away.

For more information, visit here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

#257: Adventure Racing

Looking to challenge yourself this summer?  Get 'off the beaten track' and train for one of the adventure races happening around the area.

These competitions generally have unusual obstacles, ranging from belly-crawling through mud to stacking kegs -- not your typical 5k.  They have been mainstays in areas where extreme sports are more popular, but the local area has plenty of opportunities to demonstrate how hardcore you are.  Here are some of our suggestions.  Make sure to pay attention to whether you need any special gear (eg. mountain bike and helmet), early registration dates to avoid price hikes, and whether it's team or individual.

Looks like fun, right?

Monday, June 4, 2012

#256: [Planet]-gazing

Tomorrow marks your last chance to observe the "Transit of Venus."  (That is, unless you plan to plan to live for another 121 years.) 

You might have heard or read about this event, but like me, don't really understand what 'transit' they're referring to.  A bit of Google-ing can make you a quick expert.  Essentially, once every 125 years, the planet Venus passes in front of the sun (during daylight hours) so we can watch its silhouette cross over the sun.  Scientists in the 19th century used this event to estimate the distance between the Earth and the sun, and this event is still very important to astrological research.  For a much better scientific explanation, click here.
For everyone looking for a reason to celebrate the gorgeous weather, this event also gives you an excuse to take off work and get outside.  In the local area, Univ. of Notre Dame is hosting a telescope viewing at which you can watch the whole scene play out.  They will have protective eyeglasses so you can watch without burning your corneas. Yay.  There will also be concessions for sale and streaming video from locations around the world.

You can also celebrate the usual way: with food.  Victorian Pantry (Black Drop Effect coffee), the Livery (Venusian beer), and Pizza Transit (Transit of Venus pizza) have limited edition items inspired by the Transit.

When: Tuesday, June 5 - event at ND begins at 5:00pm, Transit begins around 6:00pm and will last until 8:00pm
Where: Lawn in between the Jordan Hall of Science and the Joyce Center, Univ. of Notre Dame 
Cost: Free
Website: or

Sunday, June 3, 2012

#255: Niles Bluegrass Festival

I'm happy to report that one of the "365 South Bend" founders will be moving back to the Bend in a week's time, and as such, from here on out, this blog will be updated on a regular basis until we reach our goal of 365 posts about all the wonderful things to do in the community. 

Last summer, as all bloggers were away, we didn't really highlight much around the community. Yet summer is, in my opinion, the best time to be here.  (And yes, summer includes the first ND football of the season.)

Being on the very edge of the Eastern Standard Time zone blesses St. Joe County with incredibly long hours of daylight.  And simple math here: more hours of daylight = more fun outside = more fun.

Some of the most fun to be had in the summertime are the unplanned events -- those impromptu pick-up soccer games, or lazy afternoons wasted out on the nearest patch of grass or beach, or just hanging out on the deck until someone realizes the beer's gone and it's way past midnight.  However, just in case some boredom sets in, this blog might give you some suggestions how to shake up your summer.  And of course, feel free to send your suggestions in as well!

Not ready for the work week yet?  How about closing out the weekend with a free music festival?
Today marks the last day of a festival that's been going on all weekend - the Niles Bluegrass Festival.  And I think bluegrass goes with summer almost as well as lemonade does.  Now in its tenth year, the festival hosts more than 20 bands to jam from morning (10am) till night (9pm).  There are two stages, both on St. Joseph River -- the perfect place to sit back, relax, and listen to some music. 

When: Thursday, May 31 -Sunday, June 3, 10am - 9pm
Where: Riverfront Park, Wayne Street, Niles, Michigan  (Niles is only about 20 minutes north on Route 31 for most residents of the 574 code)
Cost: Free!