INDIANAPOLIS | No tickets for Super Bowl XLVI? No need to worry for a group of fun-loving region fans.
There are plenty of activities to consume every waking hour, beginning with the popular NFL Experience in Super Bowl Village.
By Friday, more than 400,000 fans had already toured NFL X, including several movie and sports personalities. It was people-watching at its finest for regionites who couldn't afford the pricey game tickets.
"It's the overall atmosphere and environment," said Michigan City native Steve Gayheart, an Elston grad. "You got NFL Experience, Georgia Street to go up and down, you got the Zip Line, you've got the Indy cars out here.
"I went to Media Day (Tuesday). It was fun, although I had to question spending $25 to see people talk to each other. We do wish the Bears were here."
Gayheart was particularly impressed with the good folks of Indianapolis, everyone from law enforcement to hotel and restaurant workers and general public.
"Hoosiers are different than Illinois people," he added. "They're friendlier, more laid back, they open the door for you and if they see your turn signal on, they'll let you in the lane.
"They won't cut you off, flip you off."
Mark Noonan, an electrician at Gary's U.S. Steel for 16 years, made the trip with wife Terri and their son.
"I'm a football fan and she wanted to see The Experience. We just drove up for the day," said Noonan, wearing a Jay Cutler jersey. "I want the Patriots to win. They're my second team.
"I'm OK with the crowds and it is crowded."
Dyer's Ashley Callan, a sophomore at Purdue Calumet, made the trip with Marc Dykton of Crete.
The long, twisting lines didn't bother them at all.
"I worked at Disney's Epcot so I'm used to the big crowds," Callan said. "I worked New Year's Eve (there), which is the busiest day with 80,000 in the park. ...So this is nothing."
This week, an estimated 15,000 harnessed fans will have used the Zip Line, two stories above the street.
"That's too crazy for me. I would do it indoors, but not with all these people watching me," Callan said.
Dykton attended IUPUI "down the road" and has enjoyed every minute checking out all the sights.
"I spent four years here so everybody is nice helping you around town," he said. "Obviously, I'd love to go to the game but tickets are out of my price range. Hopefully, one day."