The COVID-19 pandemic has financially damaged many businesses, especially in the hospitality industry. But it’s also led to a slate of unique offerings for Valentine’s Day.
Hamilton County Tourism partnered with local businesses throughout the county to offer packages, discounts, fun date ideas for couples, family outings and more for Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Four Day Ray Brewing, a brewery in Fishers, was eager to launch a creative offering for the holiday by installing igloos in its beer garden.
The igloo garden, which has five insulated, lighted, close-knit seats for groups of four to six, opened Jan. 25.
“We do have the igloos, and that’s something new for us,” Four Day Ray Marketing and Events Director Brooke Killey said. “We are very excited for the opportunity for people to come dine in those. It is an opportunity for guests 21 and over.”
There is no fee to rent the igloos, but each igloo guest must make a $30 minimum food and beverage purchase. Reservations are for two hours.
Four Day Ray also will release Liquid to Lips, a hazy IPA, for beer lovers during Valentine’s week as well. The beer has passionfruit, tangerine and guava characteristics and is only available in cans. There are 50 cases.
In the past, Killey said Four Day Ray has offered beer dinners during Valentine’s week, but the COVID-19 pandemic limits event offerings.
“Definitely with COVID-19 and during this time in general for restaurants, it’s definitely never been more important to dine local than now,” Killey said. “During this timeframe (winter), sales for restaurants in general, this is typically our slower time, so we are hoping with Valentine’s Day there will be an additional boost in traffic, not only with regular dine-in services, but with the igloos as well. We are hoping that gives guests another opportunity to safely dine with us in an outside, fun experience.”
To reserve an igloo, visit fourdayray.com. The igloos are available throughout the winter, and the brewery will use them in the future as well.
“Pulling out all the stops”
Hamilton County Tourism President and CEO Brenda Myers said the tourism organization’s partners have gone above and beyond with their creative ideas.
“We have always had creative partners, but everybody has pulled out all the stops, and it was really fun to see and really fun to talk to my spouse and say, ‘Which one of these do you want to do?’” Myers said. “It’s nice to have something to look forward to.”
Myers said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamilton County Tourism planned to ramp up marketing for Valentine’s Day because President’s Day weekend and Valentine’s Day weekend coincide, and Valentine’s Day is on a weekend rather than a weekday.
“We got excited and hopeful, not knowing at the time whether we would be locked down or coming out of it, but we are coming into a more positive direction with the pandemic,” Myers said. “So, I think everybody’s hopeful. And the other thing is, unlike the other holidays, this holiday can be done with your (immediate) family, with your bubble, and how we could promote the fact that you could really have a safe, bright spot in the middle of winter was really important to us. Our partners have been really creative. They have come up with some wonderful, affordable, accessible ways to take a break from all of the stress and really get out there safely and enjoy the holiday.
“It’s not only a mental break for our residents, it’s also another way to help our local businesses make it through this winter. I think the planets must have aligned with this one because of the weekend and when it is.”
Some Valentine’s Day offerings around Hamilton County
Organization: Nickel Plate Arts
Offering: Take-Out Date Night Kits. Kit reservations have a pickup on or around Feb. 9. Three types of ‘adult’ kits, separated by price point ($60, $100, $150) and one kid/family kit ($25) will be offered.
Organization: City of Fishers
Offering: From 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 13, Fishers will conduct a community Heart Hike event at Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve, 10410 Hague Rd., to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Heart Hike scavenger hunt, a free cup of hot cocoa and a campfire.
Organization: Noblesville Books & Brews and Moonshot Games
Offering: Valentine’s Day “Couples Play” Package. Moonshot Games partnered with Books & Brews in Noblesville to offer a $40 play/food/drink package that includes choice of one of the most popular two-player games, such as Fox & The Forest, Patchwork Express or Exit Game; a 60-second how-to-play video; an appetizer and two entrees from Books & Brews; and a mix-and-match six-pack from Books & Brews.
How to order: moonshotgamestore.com