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Indianapolis Plans a Masquerade Ball for Halloween

Associated Press

Look! In the upper deck! It’s Bob Uecker. No, wait. It’s 100 Bob Ueckers!

And in the better seats? Frank Gifford. And Al Michaels. And Dan Dierdorf. No wait! Make that 60,000 Giffords, Michaelses and Dierdorfs.

Impossible? Not in Indianapolis when the city’s first-ever NFL Monday Night Football game falls on Halloween night.

City leaders are hoping their massive trick--a packed Hoosier Dome with only four faces in the crowd--will be a treat for the ABC Sports’ crew during the Oct. 31 NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.

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“While television is exciting to all of us, ABC has done Monday Night Football for 15, 16 years (actually 19) in a row and it becomes kind of mundane. We thought, ‘Why not let them have a little fun?’ ” said Larry Conrad, special events chairman for the Commission for Downtown. “They think it’s a real hoot.”

But, more importantly, organizers hope that by grabbing the attention of league officials Halloween night, they will increase the city’s chances for becoming the site of a future Super Bowl.

“If we can provide a stunt like this where 60,000 people put on masks and spoof the ABC personalities, we can draw attention to Indianapolis’ community spirit and let the rest of the country know that we still think life is fun out here,” Conrad said.

“We’re anxious to be in the front row of people involved in the Super Bowl. It’s always good to let people know you have ability and creativeness. . . . The NFL wants a city with a lot of spunk and life and vitality,” he said.

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“It’s important to show that no one can bind together like the people of Indianapolis to work toward a common goal,” said organizer Jim Austin, who stressed that the Halloween celebration is being carried out by volunteers and funded by corporate donations and gifts.

The Halloween bash will include a pep rally by the Colts’ fan club, the Thundering Herd, in Pan Am Plaza; a fireworks show; and music by Grammy award-winning gospel singer Sandi Patti

When fans get to their seats in the Hoosier Dome, they will find their masks and instructions on how and when to use them to ensure maximum exposure, Austin said.

“We’re working with ABC on when it’s best with them to show a stadium of Dierdorfs, Michaelses and Giffords,” Austin said.

And Ueckers. Don’t forget the Ueckers.

“You can’t diassociate Bob Uecker from any kind of major sporting event,” said Mark Craft, who also is working on the project. “He kind of always is there, but you just don’t know where.”

Try the upper deck.


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