In the fall, football is something of a second religion for the University of Notre Dame and residents of South Bend. Football enthusiasm turns each home-game weekend into a multiday event, and although it can be difficult to get tickets to the games, the surrounding pomp offers plenty of opportunities for groups to participate.
On Friday night, students lead a pep rally on campus that features Notre Dame cheerleaders, the leprechaun mascot and the pom squad, culminating in a performance of the Notre Dame Victory March. Then, on Saturday, the school sets up a hospitality village around the stadium, where visitors can see pregame concerts and participate in tailgating festivities.
If you want to see the stadium for yourself, the school offers a number of facility tour options. Groups can walk out of the home team’s tunnel onto the field during Friday Tunnel Tours or get a full tour of the historic stadium on non-game days. Visitors can also see artifacts of the school’s athletic history by visiting the Sports Heritage Hall.
Farm to Table
An emphasis on locally grown food is sweeping the nation’s culinary scene, and there’s no better time to enjoy Indiana’s bounty than the fall harvest season. In the rural community of Roanoke (not far from Fort Wayne), a local family has created an experience that integrates the entire farm-to-table concept.
The Joseph Decuis Farm specializes in high-end and heritage-breed meat and produce. Groups that visit the farm can see where workers raise wagyu beef cattle, free-range hens, mangalitsa pigs, goats, sheep and turkeys. The farm also produces plenty of seasonal herbs and vegetables.
All of that food is put to good use in several spots around the community. The Joseph Decuis Restaurant serves gourmet food made of ingredients raised on the farm, artfully prepared and served inside a former bank building. Groups can also browse prepared food at the company’s emporium or visit the Culinarium, the company’s test kitchen, where chefs create new concepts with locally grown ingredients.