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Circle City Classic to return with new focus

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Featuring an HBCU Battle of the Bands, a Greek step show competition and more, the 38th annual Circle City Classic is gearing up to be one you won’t want to miss.

Although football will not be part of this year’s celebration, the Classic aims to focus on five HBCU bands and Divine 9 sororities and fraternities — showcasing their talent and showmanship, Tanya Mckinzie, CEO and president of Indiana Black Expo, said in a statement.

“Both HBCUs and members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council have contributed tremendously to Black culture and have played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement in our country,” Mckinzie said. “They should be cherished, highlighted and celebrated and we plan to do that during this year’s Classic.”

Classic festivities will take place throughout the weekend of Sept. 23-24. Here’s what to know.

Pep Rally

The 38th annual Circle City Classic is set to kick off with a pep rally. The pep rally will feature HBCU bands and cheerleaders such as the Kentucky State University Mighty Marching Thorobreds and the Talladega College Great Tornado band.

• When: 4-6 p.m. Sept. 23
• Where: Monument Circle, 1 Monument Circle

Classic Cabaret

“Classic Cabaret,” an HBCU benefit concert, will feature artists such as Jodeci, Bell Biv Devoe, SOS Band and Alaina Renae.

• When: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23
• Where: Indiana Convention Center, 100 S. Capital Ave.
• Cost: $79 at djgeno.net

Circle City Classic Parade

Khaya Njumbe, 13, and Abram Lewis, 16, from Gary, were announced as grand marshals for the Circle City Classic Parade.

Lewis and Njumbe, both juniors at 21st Century Charter School, have earned their associate degrees and are two of the youngest students to be accepted on a degree track at Purdue Northwest and Indiana University North, respectively. They are set to receive their bachelor’s degrees by their high school graduation in 2024.

“We are thrilled to honor Mr. Lewis and Mr. Njumbe for their extraordinary academic accomplishments in earning post-secondary degrees while in high school,” Mckinzie said. “They are worthy of our honor and we intend to applaud and showcase their efforts during Classic weekend before tens of thousands of youth that will be part of the experience.”

• When: 10 a.m.-noon Sept. 24
• Where: Begins at the intersection of North and Pennsylvania streets
• Cost: Free

Circle City Tailgate

• When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Where: South Street, in front of Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S. Capitol Ave.
• Cost: Free

21+ Day Party

The 21-and-over Day Party — which is included with the $20 Circle City Classic Event Day ticket — will take place inside Lucas Oil Stadium and is first come, first served.

• When: Noon-3 p.m.
• Where: Inside Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S. Capitol Ave.
• Cost: Included with $20 Circle City Classic Event Day ticket

Republic Airlines Education Day College Fair

Advertised as an Education Day Party, this college fair with a twist is open to middle and high school student and includes a meet-and-greet.

• When: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
• Where: Inside Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S. Capitol Ave.

Battle of the Bands

Five HBCU bands, including the Talladega College Great Tornado Band, the Kentucky State University Mighty Marching Thorobreds and the Miles College Purple Marching Machine Band, will compete in a battle of the bands.

Additional bands competing will be announced at a later date.

• When: 3 p.m. Sept. 24
• Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S. Capitol Ave.
• Cost: Included with $20 ticket

Greek Step Show

Immediately following the battle of the bands, ten sororities and fraternities from across the country will go head-to-head in a step competition. Each of the sororities and fraternities will compete for both bragging rights and monetary prizes.
The prize for first place is $7,000, followed by $5,000 for second place and $2,500 for third place. Teams can register at circlecityclassic.com.

• When: After the Battle of the Bands, Sept. 24
• Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S. Capitol Ave.
• Cost: Included with $20 ticket

DJ Geno’s Classic Comedy Jam

Closing out the evening of the Classic is DJ Geno’s Classic Comedy Jam, another HBCU benefit concert featuring D.L. Hughley, Ricky Smiley, Lil Duval and Miss Pat.

• When: 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Sept. 24
• Where: Murat Theatre, 502 N. New Jersey St.
• Cost: $79 at djgeno.net, the Murat Box Office, Al’s Modern Clothing & Shoes in Castleton and Barbecue Heaven

A full schedule of events and tickets can be found at circlecityclassic.com.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-924-5143 or chloegm@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.

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