Ring in new year with low-cost options

The post-Christmas blues are coming.

After the excitement and celebration of the holidays, January can feel like a letdown. That goes double once those credit card bills start arriving in the mail.

The start of a new year is the chance to calibrate your goals and your bank account. But even when watching you budget, opportunities for entertaining activities and events — all for free or with only a small cost — are available all month long.

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Take in the sights, sounds and tastes of local food producers at a winter farmers market. Hunt for retro chic knick-knacks and one-of-a-kind decor. See the best of what local artists are producing at special exhibitions.

Here are some of the different options to make January enjoyable without further breaking the bank:

”Keeping it Local”

Details: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Johnson County Museum of History, 135 N. Main St., Franklin; admission is free

What: Take in the unique artwork from two of Johnson County’s most talented artists. Sara Dragoo-Rather paints waterfront scenes and rustic farm landscapes, while Robert Aichele focuses his work more on the abstract, fusing colors and shapes into compelling compositions. The exhibition runs through May 2018.

Winter Warm-ups

Details: Noon to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through March 25, Mallow Run Winery, 6964 W. Whiteland Road, Bargersville; admission is free, doesn’t include food or beverages

What: Few things are more satisfying than a hot bowl of soup on a winter’s day — unless that soup is accompanied by a glass of wine and live music. Mallow Run will again host their annual winter warm-up events, where people can buy a bowl of a different soup scheduled each weekend, such as fiesta taco soup or roasted tomato basil bisque. Musicians will perform each weekend as well, and people can take advantage of free tastings in the winery’s historic tasting room.

”Beyond the Frame: 3-D Art Media”

Details: 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 5, Garfield Arts Center, 2434 Conservatory Drive, Indianapolis; admission is free

What: Not all art has to be framed and hanging on the wall. Some of the region’s most innovative creators will showcase their three-dimensional pieces, including sculptures, ceramics, fiber arts and more. The opening reception will include appetizers and entertainment, and the exhibition will be on display through Jan. 25.

Rock ‘N Chow

Details: 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, MashCraft Brewing Co., 1140 N. SR 135, Greenwood; admission is free, doesn’t include food or beverages

What: Start the weekend a little bit early at MashCraft Brewing, with a scorching performance by local musicians paired with grub from local food trucks. Listen to the bluesy pop-soul of Melissa Sandullo while enjoying dishes such as pulled pork egg rolls from Beach Bum BBQ. And of course, sample some of MashCraft’s award-winning brews while you’re at it.

Indy Winter Farmers Market

Details: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays, Circle City Industrial Complex, 1125 E. Brookside Ave., Indianapolis; admission is free

What: Farm fields throughout central Indiana may be bare and perhaps snow-covered, but people can still enjoy the best that local producers have at Indianapolis’ winter version of a farmers market. Fresh meat and dairy products, winter crops such as lettuces, radishes and other produce grown indoors and unique artisan products are available from more than 60 vendors this year.

Quidditch Clinic

Details: 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 13, Franklin branch of the Johnson County Public Library, 401 S. State St.; free

What: In the world of Harry Potter, few things are more magical than the competitive sport of quidditch. Though no one will be flying through the air on broomsticks, local teens age 12 to 17 can learn the game with the help of Ball State University’s quidditch team at this clinic.

”Great Character Actors of Indiana”

Details: 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18, Greenwood Public Library, 310 S. Meridian St.; free

What: Indiana may not be physically close to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but the Hoosier State is connected to the film industry in a number of exciting and unexpected ways. Local historian Dan O’Brien will present a program on Indiana’s link to Tinseltown, including Academy Award winners, stars of shows such as “The Waltons” and “The Dukes of Hazzard,” and other oddities.

Johnson County Antique and Vintage Market

Details: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 13, Johnson County Fairgrounds; $2 admission at the door

What: Search for treasure without ever leaving the county limits. The monthly antique and vintage market brings together vendors offering everything from furniture to jewelry to tools and toys. With the popularity of repurposed goods and primitives, the markets can be a Pinterest-er’s paradise.

Indiana Fishing Expo

Details: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 27 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 28, Scott Hall, Johnson County Fairgrounds; admission is $5 for adults

What: The cold winter months may have some people daydreaming about warm days out of the lake, casting and catching whopper fish. Unless you’re into ice fishing, there’s not a lot of action this time of year, but people can still get ready for the upcoming season at the Indiana Fishing Expo, where nearly 40 vendors will offer equipment, lures, poles and other gear.

“Drawing Figures from the Heart and Brain”

Details: Jan. 29 to Feb. 13, Johnson Center for the Fine Arts, Franklin College; admission is free

What: Stephen Cefalo, a prominent artist working in the traditions of Symbolism and the Baroque, will be the visiting professor for a winter-term course at Franklin College. He will be teaching his students to focus on the architecture of the human form. This exhibition will be the culmination of the class, featuring work that students have done throughout the month.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Details: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, 2505 Conservatory Drive, Indianapolis; $2 per person, kids 2 and under free

What: A steamy tropical jungle grows on Indianapolis’ southside, where visitors to the Garfield Park Conservatory can walk through a variety of plant species, including palms, orchids, ferns, cacao, vanilla, bananas and coffee. Waterfalls bubble into ponds full of koi fish, creating a perfect place for quiet reflection and escape from winter’s chill.

”The Sound of Music”

Details: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12 and 13, Historic Artcraft Theatre, 57 N. Main St., Franklin; $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, college students and those with military ID, $3 for children 12 and under

What: Escape into the Austrian Alps with Julie Andrews and the von Trapp family in one of the most beloved movies of all time. Moviegoers can enjoy some of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein songs such as “My Favorite Things” and “Edelweiss” in the historic atmosphere of the Artcraft Theatre.

Free Craft Friday

Details: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, Toodleydoo Toys, 1 W. Jefferson St., Franklin

What: Kids and adults alike can find enough to keep them busy among the books, games and toys at Toodleydoo. But if you’re looking for one more reason to stop in, take part in the free craft planned for every Friday at the shop. Toodleydoo Toys will have the supplies, ideas and directions ready, and people of all ages are encouraged to take part.

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Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.