ANDERSON, Ind.—September 20, 2016—Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, in partnership with the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and the Anderson School Corporation, will host a series of field trips for fourth grade students in Madison County on Wednesday, September 20 and Thursday, September 21 as part of Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration.
The field trips will offer a hands-on introduction to harness racing and the history of harness racing in the state of Indiana. The event will give more than 600 young children the opportunity to see live harness racing and learn the importance of the Standardbred industry in Indiana’s economy.
The Harness Horse Youth Foundation and volunteers will provide interactive history lessons of harness racing in Indiana along with demonstrations of the various aspects involved in harness racing. The students will have to opportunity to sit in a race bike and learn about the equipment a harness horse wears when racing through live demonstrations.
Students will also get a “behind the scenes” look at harness racing through backside tours provided by Hoosier Park trainers. Some of Hoosier Park’s leading drivers will also be on hand to answer questions and sign autographs for the students. Hoosier Park will provide each student with a free t-shirt, a lucky horseshoe, and souvenir cards featuring facts and pictures of some of Indiana’s most famous racehorses which can be used in the classroom following the field trips.
In conjunction with the field trips, Hoosier Park also partnered with the Anderson School Corporation to launch the “Play It Forward” campaign. Guests of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino are invited to donate $10 to the campaign to receive $10 in casino cash. The goal is to raise $60,000 to provide Google Chrome Labs for the community schools.
On Friday, September 23, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will host “Community Night at the Races” in honor of all of the Anderson & Madison County students. The evening celebration will include free games, activities, contests, face painting, live entertainment, carnival fare and giveaways.
Additionally, the first 500 racing fans to visit Trackside Club Centaur on Friday will receive a mystery voucher worth up to $500. Racing fans are invited to enjoy $1 hot dogs, cotton candy and other dining specials. A free fireworks show will culminate the entire evening at the conclusion of live racing.
In conjunction with the community festivities, Hoosier Park will host a weekend of Grand Circuit racing action for the second time this season. On Friday, Hoosier Park will host divisions of the $200,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies while the $210,000 Centaur Trotting Classic and $175,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby will highlight the racing action on Saturday. First post is 5:45 p.m.
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Those at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino have always considered themselves the best of a variety of things and Madison County residents agreed, voting it the best buffet, live music venue and place for entertainment.
“We look at Hoosier Park as having many facets for entertainment,” said Grant D. Scharton, Hoosier Park’s director of public relations. “Of course there is the casino, but there is also the great racing product, a variety of dining options and then the concerts. It is centrally located and offers a wide variety of entertainment options — multiple ways to win big, socialize with friends and have a thrilling night out. There are entertainment options for everybody.”
Scharton said that variety is why he thinks Hoosier Park was chosen for the third year in a row for the best place for entertainment in the awards.
Hoosier Park consistently brings in some of the greatest names in entertainment, he said, for both the summer music track concert series and the concerts in the Terrace Showroom including upcoming Air Supply and Wilson Phillips, Scharton said. He said information about the upcoming summer concert series will be available in the next month on the website at www.hoosierpark.com.
During last year’s summer series, more than 30,000 people came to Hoosier Park for the shows and the facility received more than 3.5 million visits.
The Prime Harvest Buffet stands out because of not only the quality product offered but also the friendly service of the staff.
Rudy McMillan, director of food and beverage at Hoosier Park, said the quality of the product has remained high and prices low. The seafood nights — Friday and Saturday — and Sunday brunch offer a variety of different items including crab, prime rib, fresh sushi and a chocolate fountain.
“You could have all the quality food in the world, but if you don’t have the great quality staff you can’t go any further,” he said.
Scharton said the combination of good quality food and a great team makes the buffet a star.
With more than 300,000 visitors to the buffet in 2011, assistant director of food and beverage Amy Whitler said a “great, smiling team” is key.
In addition to the $5.95 lunch buffet offered, Hoosier Park offered its club members 55 and over a 55-cent buffet and had 1,650 take advantage of that special offer, Scharton said.
By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
Tourism has become big business in Madison County and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is the star attraction.
That’s the conclusion of a recent report from the Anderson/Madison County Visitors & Convention Bureau, which looked at the economic impact of the tourism and travel industry here in 2008 and 2010.
Among the report’s key findings were that:
Tourism and travel contributed nearly $506 million to the local economy in 2010.
A total of 3,821 jobs exist here because of the industry.
Nearly one-third of them are high-wage earners, professionals, technicians, managers, sales and construction jobs.
Tourism-generated jobs provided more than $68.6 million in wages to Madison County workers in 2010, compared to $62.9 million in 2008.
More than 3.9 million people made Madison County a tourism destination in 2010, compared to 2.2 million in 2008, the year when the casino opened.
Tourism generated $22.9 million in revenue for county and municipal governments in 2010, compared to $14.8 million in 2008.
The report, prepared by Certec Inc., a market research company based in Versailles, Ky., concluded that “tourism impacts all sectors of the local economy.”
“The takeaway is that there has been an accelerated rate of change in tourism and its impact on economic development,” and George Vinson, incoming president of the visitors bureau board of directors.
Ralph Day, executive director of the visitors bureau, said the 2008 and 2010 study years were chosen specifically to look at the impact a casino would have at Hoosier Park.
“It has really made Anderson a destination,” Day said.
And Hoosier Park has been a terrific corporate citizen, he added.
Since the casino opened in June 2008, the complex has averaged 3.5 million visitors a year, said Grant D. Scharton, Hoosier Park’s director of public relations He also noted that the Indianapolis Business Journal has named it the Indianapolis area’s most popular tourist attraction.
“Hoosier Park Racing and Casino is very pleased with the response in the central Indiana region and the tourists who come and visit the casino,” he said.
Tourism and community amenities such as Hoosier Park are an essential component of economic development efforts, said Rob Sparks, executive director of the Corporation for Economic Development.
“I think that tourism is a really important part of branding our community,” he said.