Irvington Luminaria: A Winter Lighting Event

By Paula Schmidt and Heidi Unger


This post is one of several articles in our December IDO Newsletter. You can read the entire newsletter here.

Firelight and friends have historically been a way for many cultures and religions to encourage the light and warmth of summer to return. For 39 years, Irvington Winter Luminaria has served as a neighborhood night out, gathering friends and family to enjoy some nondenominational sparkle and cheer. This year’s luminaria is Sunday, December 20th, 6–10 p.m. It’s a time to slow down, enjoy your home, and celebrate your community.

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Check the luminaria event page at https://goo.gl/PDvyUi for information on lots of related events, including Santa at Irving Circle, Christmas Jazz at Coal Yard Coffee, and a bike tour. If you’d like to dedicate some time to help light public spaces, contact the luminaria committee at www.facebook.com/irvingtonwinterluminaria

Here is how you can participate. Buy candle kits at one of our local businesses. As few as five luminarias will be beautiful. Kits are priced at 5 for $2, 10 for $4, and 20 for $6, or you can buy bags only, 5 for $1.

  • Ace Hardware (1025 North Arlington Avenue)
  • Antique Mall by Jack & Jill (5501 East Washington Street)
  • Black Sheep Gifts (5626 East Washington Street)
  • Coal Yard Coffee (5547 Bonna Avenue)
  • Deering Cleaners (1160 North Arlington Avenue)

Pick up sand from the parking lot of Ellenberger Park ice rink parking lot (at 5301 East St. Clair Street) on or after December 12th. Bring your own container and help yourself.

Set up your luminarias on Sunday, December 20th, and enjoy.

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.


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The extension of the Pennsy Trail provides a place to walk, run or bicycle from the Eastside to Downtown Indianapolis.

(Photo: Olivia Lewis / The Star)

Neighbors had talked about having a trail in Irvington for years.

Stephen Windsor, who grew up in the Eastside neighborhood and moved into his current Irvington home in 1990, said he remembers conversations about it long ago.

He remembers the Pennsylvania Railroad trains that rode along the tracks through the neighborhood, the sounds they made and how they were abandoned — and the path that was left behind.

The trail, an extension of the Pennsy Trail, was built in sections and the first part opened in 2009. The path for walkers, joggers and bicyclers now extends from Bonna Avenue to the Pleasant Run Trail at Ellenberger Park, the Pennsy Trail at Arlington Avenue and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. It’s a path that connects people in Irvington to Downtown Indianapolis, and vice versa, without the use of a motor vehicle.

IndyStar Image Pennsy Trail photo cred Olivia LewisSaturday morning, before the neighborhood’s annual Halloween festival, Mayor Greg Ballard and Irvington residents celebrated the opening of the 1.3-mile extended pathway at the corner of South Audubon Road and Bonna Avenue. With $1.13 million in funding from Ballard’s RebuildIndy initiative, the path was officially paved and opened to the public on Saturday.

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Christinia Bryan  and Stephen Windsor have been neighbors in the Irvington neighborhood for more than 20 years. 

But the neighbors were already using it. Windsor said he uses it to walk almost every day. His neighbor, Christinia Bryan, who moved to Irvington in 1991, has been using it, too, for bicycling.

Bryan and Windsor said they’ve watched the neighborhood change. Bryan said residents of the community have always looked out for one another, but along the greenway they interact even more than before.

“We see people walking up and down every day, riding bikes, getting out and doing things socially,” she said. “The neighbors are friendly, everybody is.”

Katy Brett has lived in Irvington eight years. She said the path has brought the residents, who already lived in a tight-knit community, even closer together. It’s also opened up a new way to invite outsiders into the community.

“Most people, when they come to Irvington, they come to Washington,” she said. “But now when they come to Irvington on the trail, they’ll see some of the nice wooded areas off to the side of the street and some of our new businesses.”

On the corner of South Audubon Road and Bonna Avenue is Lisa Wuertz’s small, local business, Bonna Shops.

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Lisa Wuertz owns Bonna Shops, a local store along the extended Irvington greenway. Wuertz says the trail has brought new customers to her business. 

Wuertz has occupied the space for three years and said she wanted to bring her handmade holiday decorations and design boutique to an area with heavy foot traffic. She said she’s not the only business owner to locate there to be near the new trail.

Her foresight has paid off. Wuertz said people using the trail see her business for the first time while on a walk or run and often return — having caught an interest in the shop.

“It’s been a huge change,” she said. “A lot more people coming down to this area, a lot more traffic. It’s been a good thing.”

Wuertz and her family have lived in Irvington for 15 years. Like Windsor, she remembers discussions of extending the path to connect to other parts of the community. Her family have used trails farther into the city for biking and walking. And she said the extension has made it even more convenient for young families moving into the neighborhood.

“It’s a huge win for Indy’s Eastside,” she said.

Call Star reporter Olivia Lewis at (317) 444-6126. Follow her on Twitter:@TheWrittenPeace. 

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.

 


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Pennsy Trail Media Advisory


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IDO Annual Mtg Graphic Heidi UngerLooking for something unique to do in the fall? Come to the Irvington Development Organization’s annual meeting and fundraiser! Get a sneak peak of the new Coal Factory development, behind the scenes tours of Black Acre’s brewing operations, sample some of their best libations, enjoy live music, and support the Irvington Development Organization that has brought about so much of the positive change and energy in our neighborhood. Hear about our accomplishments of the past year and plans for the next!

Get a free pint glass if you join or renew your membership that evening.

Beer and wine available for purchase and complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

AND…Awesome tunes by Jason Hathaway!

21 and older only.

Purchase Tickets Here via Eventbrite

Date: Saturday, September 26

Time: 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Coal Factory Tours: 6:30pm and 8:00pm

Location: Black Acre Brewery, in the Coal Factory, 5529 Bonna Avenue

Price: $25

Hope to see you there!

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.


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Neighborhood Spotlight: Stan Denski

Stan Denski

Stan Denski

Our July Neighborhood Spotlight lands on Stan Denski, the man behind the Irvington Folk Festival and all-around contributor to Irvington’s eclectic vibe. In this article, Nancy Larner Ruschman interviews Stan about the Irvington Folk Festival and his life as a long-

Stan Denski photo by Nancy Larner Ruschman; additional photos by Stan Denski.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in Irvington.

A: In 1986 I was teaching Media Studies at The College of Wooster in Wooster, OH. It was a one-year lectureship position, and I was looking for a tenure-track position. After a search I wound up with two job offers: one from the University of Southern Maine at Orono, and the other from Indiana University in Indianapolis. After discussing it with my wife, Cheryl, we decided to make the move to Indy. I came to look at apartments and looked at nothing but apartment complexes on the North Side. On my last day in the city I saw an ad for a house for rent on North Ritter Ave in Irvington. I asked a few people about the area and decided to take the house. We moved in August of 1987. In 1989 we moved into the house we still live in today.

Q: Give us a some background on the Irvington Folk Festival: What is the festival? Why did you start it? How has it progressed? What outcomes have you seen as a result of the festival?

10406785_1102615986419817_2227493858200148403_n (1)A: The festival has its roots in the small college town of Clarion, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1971. I was born and raised in Philadelphia and in June of 1971 I left to start college at Clarion. One of the first friends I made was a local guy who was reading Woody Guthrie’s autobiography Bound For Glory. One day he came by, angered by a newspaper article that said Guthrie’s hometown in Oklahoma was refusing to celebrate his birthday because of his left-leaning political background. “Someone should do something about it!” my friend said. And so the two of us organized ” The First Woody Guthrie Birthday Party Celebration “, renting the high school auditorium, getting a half dozen local bands to perform, and finding a local farmer who gave us a flatbed truck of watermelons. We were both 17 years old at the time and it was a hell of a nice party. In 2012 I saw that a major celebration was planned across the US for Woody’s 100th birthday, and my initial idea was to hold another celebration back in Clarion PA. I couldn’t really interest enough people – and it’s an 8 hour drive from Indianapolis — so I shifted my plans to Irvington. People asked me, “Why Irvington? Did Woody Guthrie have some sort of Irvington connection?” But the answer I ca10441028_10203047635270973_5923020755253265792_nme up with was this: Cities and towns across the US are celebrating Woody’s centennial. It makes sense that a celebration should be held in Indianapolis, and so the question I asked is, “Why NOT Irvington?” In July 2012 we held a 9-day festival that turned out to be the largest ” grassroots ” Guthrie celebration in the United States according to the Guthrie family website. Donn Smith, a local artist and musician, met Woody’s granddaughter Sarah Guthrie in Chicago and she was familiar with the Irvington festival!

Anyway the 2012 festival was so much fun and so successful that people kept asking to do it again, and the Historic Irvington Community Council liked the idea of a summer event to balance the yearly festival schedule, complementing the Halloween Festival in the fall. The event has grown since then thanks to a bunch of committed volunteers and a generous business community. As far as outcomes from the festival. I think it has contributed to the growing list of events that increasingly brings people from across Indianapolis into Irvington to visit shops and restaurants and to enjoy music and art.

Q: What are your top three favorite places in Irvington and why?

A: It’s really difficult to 11541936_1102619723086110_2837056126109476900_nlimit the answer to three. We love The Legend and Dufours. Both are very singular and distinctive places that really mirror the personalities of the people who run them, John and Kim Robertson and Maria Dufour. I haven’t missed an Irvington Mafia meeting (“Seeing a guy about a thing since 2010”) on Friday at Black Acre Brewing ever. That’s always fun. We take the dogs to Coal Yard Coffee at least two or three times a week so that’s a favorite destination too. I am in the Irvington Library even more often, another regular stop that’s distinctively Irvington.

Q: If you were the Mayor of Irvington what is one of the first things you would do?

A: The neighborhood is organized around five local organizations: The Historic Irvington Community Council, the Irvington Development Organization, the Irvington Garden Club, the Irvington Historical Society and the Irvington Business Association. One of the first things I would do would be to establish a quarterly meeting that would bring representatives from all five groups together to update each other and share ideas, plans, concerns, etc. I would also talk to Maria Dufour about a “Free Breakfast For Mayors” program and see if we couldn’t get that off the ground.

This is an excerpt from the July IDO Newsletter. The full version of the Newsletter can be found here.

2015 The crowd at Ellenberger from the Main Stage

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.

 

 


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Our May Newsletter is full of great stories! We’re highlighting one written by Irvington neighbor, Heidi Unger, on the annual Discover Irvington event. To read the full newsletter, click here!

Discover Irvington
by: Heidi Unger

ecac57e2-da3a-4d36-8687-e21ac3e3649aLast weekend, the Discover Irvington festival (formerly known as Celebrate Irvington) brought Irvington residents and friends, business owners, and community organizations into the heart of Irvington to celebrate the neighborhood’s unique character and positive growth.

The annual Irvington Business Association event is designed to help businesses and nonprofit organizations engage the community and offer information and entertainment. Festival organizer Allison Luthe said, “We accomplished our goal of bringing more attention to the great flavors, shops, and cultures that make up Irvington. The streets were filled with excitement, conversation, and creativity. Thank you to the visitors, community partners, volunteers, and businesses who made it all possible.”

This year, in booths and shops along Audubon Road, Washington Street, and Johnson Avenue, nearly 50 businesses participated in the Discover Irvington marketplace, and 20 community organizations 7391c8a6-c7f8-4bb3-bd0a-c882f0de273erepresented their causes. Luthe was pleased that “the event drew new businesses into the association and brought a broad array of media attention to the neighborhood, including Fox 59’s Your Town Friday segment, broadcast live from Dufour’s. “

Shoppers visited the bricks-and-mortar stores at the festival and shopped from Retulled’s d ress racks, chose from a selection of vintage and handmade items from Audrey’s Place, and enjoyed sweet treats from Robbybaby’s Kitchen. ARPO brought some adorable, adoptable dogs. Keep Indianapolis Beautiful promoted its popular Adopt-A-Block beautification program. Irvington Garden Club sold native plants, and Good to Grow displayed an aquaponics food production system. At the Alternative Gift Fair in the Irving Theater, artisans offered a broad array of handmade items, including jewelry, pottery, woodcraft, art glass, photographs and paintings, and soaps and lotions.

Music lovers enjoyed a very successful new aa65e3b73-8502-4aeb-b0b0-d9e3378fb112ddition to the event: the Irvington Acoustic Blues Festival, at Playground Productions. Throughout the day, six blues acts performed to a full house, and attendees snacked on complimentary chili and salsa from Chef Dan’s and La Mexi-Gringa. Festival director JJ Stenzoski said, “We estimate attendance during the four-hour festival to be between 300 and 350 people of all ages.” Performers included the popular Delta Duo, Gene Deer, and Jason Hathaway. The music was a great success and, along with Coal Yard Coffee and the Bonna Shops, helped expand Discover Irvington beyond the Washington Street corridor. At next year’s festival, expect even more activity on Bonna Avenue, with the expansion of the Pennsy trail and addition of the Irvington Coal Factory development.

Go to www.discoverirvington.com for information about Irvington organizations and events scheduled throughout the year.

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About Irvington Development Organization

Irvington Development Organization, founded in 2002, works for the benefit of Irvington by cultivating positive business development, promoting the unique character of our neighborhood and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors. Irvington is a historic community on the East Side of Indianapolis known for its winding, tree-lined streets and architecturally significant homes and businesses.

 


read more


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