Travel destinations around the Midwest are coming up with creative ways to keep visitors safe— and entertained. Watch murals being made, drive a vintage car, dine in a private tent and more.

State fairs, festivals and other events have all been cancelled this year because of the pandemic—but the communities of Northeast Indiana decided to get innovative and put on a new mural festival to encourage both art and tourism.

Make It Your Own Mural Fest will involve 11 counties, 11 murals, 11 days (Sept. 8-18) and 11 road trip itineraries. One mural will be created in each of Northeast Indiana’s 11 counties, and all will be unveiled on the same day. Socially distanced events will take place throughout the festival.

Fort Wayne, the largest city in Northeast Indiana, already is home to a thriving public arts scene with large-scale murals and sculptures. “Our public art helps tell the story of our community, and helps bring new life to alleyways, street corners, and parks,” says Jessa Campbell, marketing and communications manager for Visit Fort Wayne. “Being a part of the Make it Your Own Mural Fest will continue to highlight our wonderful arts community.”

Fort Wayne, Indiana
Windrose Urban Farm Mural by Matt Plett
| Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fort Wayne/Matt Plett
Walt Whitman Mural, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Walt Whitman Mural, Fort Wayne
| Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fort Wayne

To encourage visitors to spread out among the counties, the communities created road trips themed to the outdoors, family, history and culture, shopping, dining, fall fun and more.

Across the Midwest, you’ll find cities and attractions coming up with creative ways to safely get outside this summer and fall.

• Grand Geneva Resort and Spa in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, worked with American Classic Rental to offer guests the chance to “social distance in style in the fresh air and explore the open Wisconsin country roads” in vintage cars like a 1969 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, 1980 Chevrolet Corvette, 1968 Pontiac GTO and 1965 Ford Mustang.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Vintage car rental
| Credit: Courtesy of Grand Geneva Resort and Spa

• In Chicago, CHI-Together put together a summer of entertainment at a Soldiers’ Field parking lot with movies and music you can enjoy from your car. (Drive-ins, in fact, have popped up in cities both large and small—The Milky Way Drive In opened in Ballpark Commons in Franklin, Wisconsin, and The Midwest Skyview Drive-In debuted in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, just to name two.)

• Concerts are also pivoting to the drive-in concept. The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in Madison is holding drive-in performances for its popular Concerts on the Square summer series.

Not comfortable with indoor dining or even sharing a patio outdoors? At The Blind Horse Restaurant and Winery in Kohler, Wisconsin, you can reserve a private dining “villa” on the winery grounds for $25 Thursday through Saturday evenings (plus the cost of your meal).

Blind Horse, Kohler, Wisconsin
The Blind Horse Private Dining Villas
| Credit: Courtesy of The Blind Horse Restaurant and Winery

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