30th Circle City Classic celebration
The same year the RCA Dome opened in Indianapolis, the Indiana Black Expo introduced the Circle City Classic.
While the Dome is a distant memory, the Classic prepares to celebrate its 30th year.
The weekend centers around a football match up between two traditionally black colleges; but each year organizers have added events that make it a full family weekend.
This year, fans for the first time will enjoy "FanFest" on South street in front of Lucas Oil Stadium in the hours leading up to and following Saturday's 3pm game.
And the pep rally, which in past years was held on the west side of town will this year be right in the middle of it. "It's going to be on Monument Circle," explains IBE spokesman Vernon Williams. "So everyone coming out of the workplace on Friday between 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. will see the battle of the bands preview between Alcorn State University and Grambling State, cheerleaders and drum lines. Folks having fun getting pumped up before the game."
Another highlight of the weekend is the Circle City Classic parade which will roll through downtown Saturday from 10 a.m. - Noon.
The Classic weekend is the largest scholarship fundraiser for the Indiana Black Expo. In its 30 years, the event raised more than three million dollars in scholarships. This year alone is expected to raise a record $260-thousand.
Thousands of visitors from all over the country will visit Indianapolis throughout the weekend adding millions of dollars to the local economy.
Organizers say there is an added benefit.
"There are young people who come downtown on Circle City Classic weekend and see other young people who are not much older than them and instead of gang jackets they are wearing college jackets. They are wearing fraternity and sorority jackets so they identify and say, ‘Wow I could be that person.'"
While attendance has dwindled in recent years, organizers say ticket sales have been brisk for their 30th anniversary.