The end is near.
Sure, Johnson County has a few weeks left of balmy temperatures you can take advantage of. The grass and trees are still green, and the sun stays up well into the evening.
But Labor Day weekend is the spiritual, if not the scientific, end of summer. Autumn is right around the corner.
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Still, there is time for backyard barbecues, soaking up rays by the pool and taking advantage of the best outdoor activities Indiana has to offer.
From hog roasts to farmers markets to food trucks, this coming weekend is packed with activities designed to savor the last bit of summertime. Here are some of the best options the area has to offer.
Savor the flavor
Those vine-ripe tomatoes, irresistible sweet corn and other delectable central Indiana garden goodies won’t last for much longer. Now is the perfect time to stock up for your holiday weekend feasts. In addition to farm-fresh produce, vendors will be selling baked goods, local meats and cheeses and handmade artwork.
Grab a breakfast sandwich or fruit smoothie while you browse the options. Saturday is the last weekend for the Franklin market, though the Greenwood one will remain open through Oct. 14.
Details: Franklin Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, located in the parking lot at Jefferson and Jackson streets; Greenwood Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to noon, 525 N. Madison Ave.
Enjoy the wind in your hair
Take advantage of the late summer weather by spending a day on a leisurely family-friendly bicycle ride. The Lions Club will host its annual Lion Pride Ride on Saturday, to raise funds for the numerous community causes that the club supports. The event starts with a continental breakfast before the cyclists head out.
People have the option to go 12, 30 or 62 miles throughout south central Indiana. The 12-mile family ride is $30 per family, up to five people. The 30-mile and 62-mile rides are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the event. Military servicemen, veterans and police officers ride free
All riders must have helmets and a safe bicycle with working brakes.
Details: Check in and registration 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday. Ride starts any time between 8:30 and 10. Ride starts and ends at the Indiana National Guard Armory, 325 Minuteman Way, Franklin. More information and preregistration at lionprideride.org.
Celebrate the workers
While you’re enjoying a three-day weekend with cookouts and lounging around, take some time to recognize the workers that the holiday celebrates. The Central Indiana AFL-CIO and iHeartMedia will present the annual Indy Labor Fest.
The free street festival features live music from Password Reset and the Downstroke Band. A kid’s zone will feature bounce houses, a big slide, games and a zip line. Food and beer will be available to purchase. At the same time, people can meet with working men and women from around central Indiana and learn more about career opportunities.
Details: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Georgia Street between Pennsylvania Street and Capitol Avenue, downtown Indianapolis. For information, go to indylaborfest.org.
Pickin’ in the breeze
Summer is a great time for live music, and that experience is only amplified when the performance is outdoors. From the expansive front patio at the Willard, listen to the plucky sounds of the Flatland Harmony Experiment.
The Indianapolis-based group plays what they call non-traditional bluegrass, blending mandolin, banjo and upright bass with intense vocals. In the six years the band has been together, they’ve played more than 1,000 shows, from area bars to the John Hartford Memorial Festival in Bean Blossom. In 2013, they were finalists in the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival competition.
Details: 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday, the Willard, 99 N. Main St., Franklin
Work on your backstroke or your cannonball
Few things say “summer” more than spending time by the pool. For one more weekend, people throughout Johnson County will have that option, as communities open up their public pools and water parks for the last time. Both the Franklin Family Aquatic Center and Freedom Springs in Greenwood will stay open through Monday.
The Franklin pool will also host its second annual Doggie Pool Day on Tuesday, though no humans will be allowed to swim with their canine companions. Dogs under 35 pounds will have run of the pool from 5 to 6:30 p.m., bigger dogs can swim from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Details: Franklin Family Aquatic Center, noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Monday; Freedom Springs, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
At Mallow Run Winery in Bargersville, the perfect food pairing for every wine this weekend is smoked pork. The winery will again host its annual hog roast, the 12th straight year they’ve done so. Slow roasted pork and sides will be available to purchase, along with bottles of wine or cider to enjoy on Mallow Run’s idyllic grounds.
A weekend’s worth of music has also been slated to keep people entertained when they’re not eating. On Saturday, enjoy Craig Brenner and the Crawdads from 1 to 4 p.m., while the Hunter Smith Band plays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. HT3 will perform from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, and Joe Hess & The Wandering Cowboys perform from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday.
Details: Noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Mallow Run Winery, 6964 W. Whiteland Road, Bargersville.
Putt around the course
You may think you’re good at mini-golf. But you’ve never had to putt past giant rampaging squirrels, through icebergs and glaciers and around a lava-spewing volcano. These and other artist designed holes are par for the course at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s mini golf exhibit, which is open through Sunday.
Area and national artists helped create the course, envisioning hole set-ups that reflected the natural world. So even while enjoying a day of mini golf, people are actually taking in unique outdoor art. Playing the course is included in admission, and is free for museum members.
Details: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Ave.; admission is $18 for adults, $10 for youth ages 6 to 17 and free for kids 5 and under. For information, go to imamuseum.org.