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Arts & Entertainment, etc.

Review: Bracket Town

April 2, 2010

No, I couldn't tell you which teams were in the Sweet Sixteen this year.

And I couldn't tell you what teams were in the Final Four last year.

But I can tell you that, even for this sports non-junkie, Bracket Town is a blast--at least, it was on Thursday evening before the weekend crowds arrived.

This is the first year for Bracket Town, the interactive experience housed at the Indiana Convention Center ($10, $6 for ages 3-11, college students, military and seniors) and what could have easily been just a side trip now, at least for families, seems to me an essential part of the weekend Final Four experience--even if you aren't going to the game.

I credit that in large part to the number of opportunities it offers for actual physical activity.

Sure, there are plenty of video games, button-pushing kiosks, and thin excuses to get visitors to play with the latest telephone technology (do we even call them telephones anymore?). And I'm not just saying that because I humiliated myself in a text messaging competition against my 8-year-old.

These obvious commercial come-ons are outweighed by the sheer number of basketball courts, offering shoot-outs, dunking battles, and three-on-three tournaments.

There are other sports, too. Visitors can take targeted slap shots, run a football training obstacle course, hit wiffle balls, and even try a mild form of fencing.

Ancillary fun can be had in a simulated broadcast booth (just try to keep up with the teleprompter) or a photo area where you can add your smiling mug to the Butler Bulldog team photos, thus baffling your grandchildren who find the picture fifty years from now.

Not being a great follower of the game, I was less caught up in the autographing and memorabilia areas, but if you have a thing for historic basketballs and trophies, that's one more reason that the Convention Center is a must-stop.

In all, Bracket Town is a winner.

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