A Follow the Fish bicentennial plaque. Photo by Rodney Margison

A Follow the Fish bicentennial plaque. Photo by Rodney Margison


The gilded fish that adorns the Monroe County Courthouse not only spawned a city (see page 106), it has spawned a scavenger hunt. In honor of the county bicentennial, 25 numbered brass plaques bearing its image have been placed on sites of historic or cultural significance around Monroe County.

Follow the Fish is the work of Visit Bloomington, which operates the Bloomington Visitors Center and markets Bloomington and Monroe County as tourist destinations. “We tried to do a mix of different types of things, from restaurants to municipal buildings to parks and trails,” Executive Director Mike McAfee says of the sites chosen for the scavenger hunt.

Sites are located throughout the county, from Rose Hill Cemetery and Hinkle Garton Farmstead in Bloomington to Red Men Hall in Smithville and Heritage Trail in Ellettsville. 

McAfee says he doubts anyone will try to find all 25 fish in a single day, but someone might look at the list and realize they have been to many of the sites already and then make an effort to visit the remaining ones. “I just think people who have never been to the Stinesville Mercantile will be blown away if they go check it out,” McAfee says.

Like the fish swimming above the courthouse, the brass fish are built to last. “So even 10 or 20 years from now, somebody’s going to say ‘What is that little brass fish?’” McAfee says. “And then they’re going to find out there are 25 of them, and hopefully it will spark some continued interest in those sites and in the bicentennial and in the history of the area.”

To learn more about the scavenger hunt, visit magbloom.com/bicentennialfish.

Run & Ruck—A Veterans Day 5K

The City is hosting a Bicentennial Veterans Day 5K Run and Ruck November 11 at RCA Park. The course is mostly through the park’s wooded trails and will be followed by a “ruck”—a military-inspired workout that is growing in popularity.

Jess Klein, wellness coordinator for Bloomington Parks and Recreation, says the ruck’s military origins make it perfect for a Veterans Day event. “The idea comes from when you’re on active duty and you spend a lot of time with all you need for a day or a week in a pack on your back, and the pack is called a ruck,” Klein says. “In rucking, you carry upwards of 20 pounds or more on your back.” Klein says military personnel will lead the ruck but notes it’s not a race. “It’s more of a group challenge,” she says.

The race and ruck are for people 18 and older, but there will be family-friendly activities at the park throughout the event, which is at 1400 W. RCA Park Drive.

Veterans service organizations will be present, as well as a food truck. Registration and activities begin at noon. The race begins at 1 p.m., and the ruck at 2 p.m. Registration is $25, and a single registration is good for one event or both. The first 50 people to sign up will receive an event T-shirt.

For more information, visit tinyurl.com/5krunruck.