Summer is approaching, and that means porching season has begun. “Porching”, a fun term coined by Harrison Center executive director Joanna Taft, refers to simple porch parties where neighbors spend time with one another.  Porching became a public initiative in 2013 when Harrison Center encouraged urban residents to host their own “Porch Party” with the hashtag #porchpartyindy. The porching movement is a simple and creative way for neighbors to connect with one another and build community in neighborhoods, and has become part of Indianapolis’ identity. We’re excited to see the porching tradition continue in new ways this summer!

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While porching was initially a term that was used organically for a few urban neighbors gathering on each other’s porches on summer weekends, it became a unifying campaign to promote community, fellowship, and camaraderie among neighbors in broader Indianapolis.  This year looks to continue traditions from past summers while also adding new layers to Indy’s ever-expanding porching reputation. “We porch because we want neighbors to feel connected,” said Joanna Taft. “When people are connected, they feel healthy. When people are connected within a neighborhood, the neighborhood feels healthy. When neighborhoods are connected to each other, the city feels healthy.  Porching connects us all.”

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To encourage porching, the Harrison Center has a key partnership to help get more people involved:  the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a sponsor since 2016. That year, the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, over 500 people signed up to host porch parties in over 52 Indiana counties.

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Each year since, the movement has grown and gotten more creative.  In 2019, Herron Morton neighborhood, whose neighborhood tagline is now “Porching since 1875”, will be hosting their first ever “musical porches” event on the first Sunday in May.  This event will feature live music on porches around the neighborhood, as well as encourage pop-ins on multiple neighbor’s porches. Additionally, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is continuing their support of porching in Indy, encouraging residents to porch in the weekends leading up to the Indy 500 to build unified interest and excitement in the cultural icon the race has become.

Porching is also becoming a tradition in more neighborhoods! Tinker Coffee, a longtime neighbor of the Harrison Center, is hosting a large porch party at their new location on West 16th Street to bring together their neighboring businesses and residents. Old Southside, Monon/Keystone, Central State, Hillside, Martindale Brightwood, and Kennedy King neighborhoods are already planning their parties as a way to unite both old and new residents.

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It's not too late to join the porching movement.  You can porch too! Please register your porch party at www.harrisoncenter.org/porch and share your porching pictures with #porchpartyindy for a chance to win prizes!

Porching is not only a fun way for neighbors to get to know each other, it’s also a way to make Indianapolis to be healthier and more connected. We hope you will join us as we look ahead to another rich summer of porching with friends and neighbors around the city.

Kyle Baird