Each year, Native American Days draws crowds of 10,000–15,000 visitors to celebrate North America’s ancient cultures on the site of a former Mississippian settlement. After parking a car or roller-skating horse on-site, attendees can head to a performance area at the center of the grounds to take in traditional dancing, storytelling, and music, including performances by Estun-Bah, a musical group led by world-champion hoop dancer Tony Duncan. For an additional fee, a variety of workshops teach patrons time-tested skills such as archery, beadwork, and how to construct a drum out of a laptop case. Native American Days kicks off at 9 a.m. each day and lasts until 2 p.m. on September 23 and until 5 p.m. on September 24 and 25.
It didn't take long for the first professional hockey team in Evansville to make their mark; in just their second year in the All American Hockey League, in 2010, the fledgling IceMen won the Davidson Cup in seven games. Though that first clan of IceMen has since gone extinct, the team soon resurrected as part of the ECHL, where they serve as the minor-league affiliate of both the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Saint Louis Blues. During games, fans fill the 9,400-seat Ford Center arena as the polar-bear mascot, Blizzard, entertains crowds and teaches children of the dangers of costume warming.
Though it functions as an all-purpose gym, Tri-State Athletic Club is actually a community epicenter. When guests aren't running across its sports courts, they might be toasting each other in its halls at a wine tasting or holiday event. Family-friendly programming welcomes kids and adults alike to pool activities and tennis lessons, and personal trainers guide members, whose names they've committed to memory, through custom workouts. Meanwhile, instructors lead group classes such as Pilates, spin, and heated yoga in well-equipped studios. This supportive atmosphere imbues the club with positive vibes, which prompt strangers on neighboring treadmills to amicably concede the right of way.
Safety-certified guides lead their human-powered flotillas on tours down meandering paths of natural wonder, educating paddlers about the local wildlife and riparian ecology of the Evansville area. Pleasure-seeking pairs can escape the stresses of the city without traveling far, as the tour’s waterways pump aquatic lifeblood straight through the heart of Evansville and serve as a wildlife oasis. Intimate groups of six or Troy-bound armies of up to 28 can take to the gentle currents on a daytime tour highlighting Pigeon Creek’s wildlife, from its majestic birds and waterfowl to its feral psychic Pokémon. Moonlight paddles highlight the area’s active nocturnal ecology, with tours at Hovey Lake weaving through a half-submerged forest of bald cypress trees and trips through the Blue Grass Fish and Wildlife Area offering a glimpse into Loon Pit, a designated nesting area and asylum for deranged waterfowl.
At regular intervals each day, Swonder Ice Arena’s trusty Zamboni rolls out to keep the NHL-size ice rink smooth between lessons and public-skating sessions. Once the glossy surface is ready, professional instructors begin to lead students through classes in hockey fundamentals, ice skating, and figure skating. Hockey lessons are offered in four levels, beginning with the essentials of hockey skating and stick handling. Ice-skating lessons include nine separate curriculum sets, such as choreography and synchronized skating.
In addition to winter-water fun, Swonder Ice Arena is home to a fitness center with cycles, free weights, exercise machines, and personal trainers.
Since joining the Frontier League in 1996, the Otters have shattered several of the league's records while sending dozens of signees to the MLB. In 2005, the club became the first in the league to record a million total fans in attendance—a vote of confidence that led the Otters, in the the subsequent season, to repay Evansville with its first Frontier League championship. The team passed another milestone in 2012, becoming the first FL team to rack up 700 wins, still a far cry from matching some local 7-year-olds' kickball record of infinity wins. Opened in 1915, the Otters' home turf, Bosse Field, enjoys its own legacy of storied moments, most notably its use during the filming of A League of Their Own.