Sure, Circle City Classic kicked off Thursday with a free party at New Orleans on the Avenue — and Miss Circle City Classic was crowned Sunday at Pike High School. But the heart of the Classic is this weekend, including Saturday's parade and football game, as well as a bunch of other programming Friday night, some free, some not.
Friday kicks off with the Circle City Classic Pep Rally, featuring marching bands competing in the Classic, as well as local high school bands (4:30 p.m. @ White River State Park, free). Then comes the Friday Nite Classic Cabaret featuring Summer Celebration faves Charlie Wilson, Tank and the SOS Band (doors 6 p.m. @ Indiana Convention Center, $50-57). Or you've got the Comedy Jam, headlined by D.L. Hughley, somehow without a TV show this season, and featuring Earthquake (8 p.m. @ Murat Theatre, $30-40). And across town is the Classic Gospel Celebration with recording artist Earnest Pugh and Christian comedian/ventriloquist Willie Brown (7:30 p.m. @ Madame Walker Theatre, $20).
Saturday kicks off with the Circle City Classic Parade, taking off from North and Pennsylvania Streets, ending at North and Meridian Streets, and showcasing a whole bunch of HBCU marching bands, with local DJ Russ Parr as grand marshal (10 a.m.-noon, bleachers $10-16, otherwise free). There'll be plenty of tailgating up until the 2:30 p.m. start to the Annual Circle City Classic Football Game, pitting North Carolina State against South Carolina State (@ Lucas Oil Stadium, $10-50). And then come at least a couple after-parties: Old SOUL's Entertainment's Keeping It Classic with DJ Metrognome and buddies (10 p.m. @ BuDa Lounge, $10) and Kappa Alpha Psi's Nuthin' But Old School party (9 p.m. @ The Sheraton, 31 W. Ohio St., $20).