Located at the crossroads of America with Ohio to the east, Illinois to the west, Michigan to the north and Kentucky to the south, Indiana is one of the most typically American states in the country.
James Dean, an American icon of handsome youth grew up in central Indiana. State capital Indianapolis draws thousands of Americans each year for its larger-than-life race car spectacular. And many more Midwestern Americans flock to the state’s sand dunes and beaches on its small shoreline of Lake Erie in the northwest corner for a traditional summer getaway. If these attractions don’t get you, consider this: Indiana is the only state in America to be split right down the middle into two time zones: Eastern Standard Time and Central Time. Therefore, a ten minute drive from town to town could mean the difference of an hour!
The present location of Indianapolis was nothing but an area of rolling woodland when a group of commissioners selected it as the location of the new Indiana state capital. The reason? It was close to the geographical center of the state. Simple as that. But since its establishment, Indianapolis has made a name for itself worldwide with its annual 500-mile automobile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway every May.
Aside from sports, Indianapolis boasts an extensive collection at their art museum, great opportunity for shopping, a lively night life and a whopping 64-acre zoo in Indiana’s first urban park: White River State Park.
The hair. The cigarette. The white t-shirt. The furrowed brow and the famous pout. James Dean, the young Hollywood actor whose life ended much too soon in afatal car crash of 1955, may be known for his roles in classics like Giant, Rebel Without a Cause, and East of Eden. But for people in Marion, Indiana, he’s remembered as their hometown boy, born and raised in this small Midwestern town.
Today, Marion has immortalized this 1950s American pop icon with the James Dean historical museum and Memorial Gallery. On display in glass cases is anything and everything – from original movie posters to costumes from his films and high school year books. And every September, Marion is flooded for one weekend with James Dean look-a-likes who flock there for the town’s James Dean look-alike contest at its annual Remembering James Dean celebration. The three day long festival includes a 1950s car show, a sock hop at Dean’s old high school, free showings of his films, and outdoor concerts.