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January 27 @ 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Party like it’s 1399!

Celebrated by pre-Christians as a means of driving out winter and evil spirits and welcoming in the springtime—in part through the role reversal of masters and enslaved people—Karneval was later adopted by the church as a festive period to enjoy food, drink, and revelry before the fasting and penitence of Lent. Today, Karneval retains many of the traditions that began in the Middle Ages. It’s also known as Fasching or Fastnacht, depending on which part of Germany you’re in, and each carries different traditions. The Athenaeum celebration is modeled after Karneval in Köln, or Cologne, sister city to Indianapolis.

We’re kicking off the lead up to the “Crazy Days” with a red & white (and black for those who prefer to wear suits) masked ball this year—join us for our Karneval Maskenball on Saturday, January 27 at 7 PM in the Basile Theatre in the Historic Athenaeum with live music and jesters. Be sure to dress to impress with cocktail attire and a mask. Your ticket includes 2 complimentary drinks and German-inspired hors d’oeuvres. Tickets go on sale on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 minutes after the 11th hour, Karneval is a whole season—not just one night.

Get ready for a night of revelry, laughter, and tradition at

Athenaeum Presents: Karneval on January 27th!
Join us as we transport you to the lively and colorful world of Karneval, a celebration deeply rooted in German history and tradition.

The Spirit of Karneval
The word “carnival” stems from Latin, meaning “the taking away of meat,” marking the beginning of the Lenten fast. The Athenaeum celebration is modeled after Karneval in Köln, or Cologne, sister city to Indianapolis. In the spirit of this festive fifth season, join us for a night of laughter, satire, and joy. Explore the traditions that date back to the 1880s in Indianapolis when German societies held lavish masked balls.

Event Details

Time: Doors at 6:30 PM | Party at 7:00 PM

Location: Athenaeum Foundation Historic Basile Theatre

Attire: Cocktail attire and a masquerade mask! Red, white and black themes are encouraged.

Cost: $50 | Includes admittance, two complimentary signature coctails, hors d’oeuvres and validated parking in the Block 20 garage.

Student Tickets: $25 | Includes admittance, hors d’oeuvres and validated parking in the Block 20 garage. Student ticket-holders must show valid student ID at check-in.

Karneval is a 21+ event!

What to Expect

Entertainment: After a special Karneval lesson, in the vein of Drunken History, performed by NoExit Performance, there will be two musical acts for the evening: DysFUNKtion Brass and the Shawn Royer Jazz Quartet.

Karneval Traditions: Experience the rich history of Karneval, a celebration originating from the pre-Christian era and later adopted by the church. Learn about the fascinating customs, including the presentation of Karneval Royalty, Ordens, and the traditional Grande March.

Beverage Options: We will have a specialty drink menu with delicious creations as well as a traditional cashless bar. And Gaffel Kölsch beer, imported from Cologne, of course!

Culinary Delights: Indulge throughout the evening in delectable passed appetizers with Germanic flair from Sweet and Savory Catering.

Wine and Spirits Pull: Support the fundraising efforts of the Athenaeum Foundation by gathering up all your luck and participating in our pay-to-play wine and spirits pull.

 Whether you’re a Karneval enthusiast or a first-timer, Athenaeum Foundation welcomes you to be a part of this vibrant and spirited event.
Don’t miss out on this unforgettable night filled with laughter, camaraderie, and the magic of Karneval.

We look forward to celebrating Karneval with you!


January 27
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Event Category:


Athenaeum Indy
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The Basile Theatre at the Historic Athenaeum
401 E Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204 United States
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