After a forced cancellation in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, Indiana Black Expo’s Circle City Classic is back. This year, there’s an emphasis on a college fair and business networking event.
Bryan Kelley, vice president of marketing for Indiana Black Expo, said students and parents will have a chance to speak with college admission counselors at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept. 25. Twenty-two colleges will be represented at the fair; six are historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Families can learn more about how to apply for college as well as learn how to apply for financial assistance.
“From my perspective, the importance of HBCUs is the sense of belonging for the students,” Kelley said. “They feel like they have a true sense of self-value on campus, and they’re met with not only peers that look like them, but professors, instructors and advisors, as well. It’s like coming home while they’re going to college.”
Activities kick off at 4 p.m. Sept. 24 with the Circle City Classic pep rally and Community Day, featuring cheerleaders and bands from Kentucky State University and Benedict College — the two schools that will square off against each other on the gridiron.
Attendees will have a chance to win tickets to A Night of Legends concert, featuring Charlie Wilson and the Isley Brothers at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum at the Indiana Fairgrounds.
The bulk of Classic festivities happen Sept. 25 starting with the parade through downtown Indianapolis and leading into a day filled with tailgate activities, concerts and football at Lucas Oil Stadium. In addition to the game between Kentucky State University and Benedict College, the schools’ marching bands will perform at halftime during the Battle of the Bands.
“As an organization that’s been planning this event for 37 years, we’re glad to bring it back after one year off for COVID,” Kelley said. “We want the community to come out and have fun and support.”
An invite-only business networking event will also be held before the game.
“As an organization, we’re heavily invested in the promotion of Black businesses and entrepreneurs, and we’re partnering with other organizations who are like-minded to bring these groups together,” Kelley said.
In addition to several DJs performing throughout the day several, radio stations Hot 96.3 and WTLC 106.7 will host day parties in an effort to make the event “more festive” this year, Kelley said.
The Circle City Classic events will end with a comedy show featuring Arnez J, Tony Roberts and Guy Torry with co-hosts Da Brat and Black Tony in the Murat Theatre at Old National Center. Show times are 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tickets are available through Live Nation. Kelley said no proof of vaccination is required, but guests are strongly encouraged to wear masks — especially if they aren’t vaccinated — and to socially distance.
Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.