Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour was dunked into a dunk tank more times than he could count in the name of charity.
A chance at dunking the mayor cost $2. The money raised from the hour Ridenour was in the dunk tank will be given to Heart of Indiana United Way and Home Savers of Delaware County, two charities the mayor has previously been involved with as a volunteer and board member, respectively.
“I was happy to do it,” Ridenour said. “My favorite two charities are local [and] before being mayor, I participated in both of those regularly.”
United Way supports childrens’ reading comprehension and Home Savers of Delaware County helps senior citizens repair their homes if they can’t afford to pay the cost of repairs.
“With the temperature, [the dunk tank] was wonderful for me — it felt great,” Ridenour said. “It’s 90-something degrees. It was a lot of fun and I would attempt to splash people from time to time when they were walking close by.”
The two-dollar tour, which included special $2 deals from local businesses, was filled with Muncie natives and Ball State students who have recently returned to campus. The first 100 visitors to the tour were given a $2 bill by the Cornfed Derby Dames.
“We’re thrilled to have the students back in town,” Ridenour said. “In Muncie, we really appreciate the students at Ball State, so we’re just happy that everybody’s back.”
Heather Williams, president of the Riverside-Normal Neighborhood Association said she wants the Village tour to get bigger in coming years. Williams wanted the Village tour to “feel like a festival.”
“We wanted to really engage the student population — we have a lot of students that live in nearby neighborhoods,” she said. “We wanted to bring the new freshmen and sophomores to the Village as soon as they get to school so that they can experience what’s here — the restaurants and stores.”
Although the Village’s Jack’s Donuts is not yet open for business, the restaurant was offering dog treats, iced coffee and energy drinks to visitors for $2.
“We wanted to get involved with [the] community,” said April Simpson, Jack’s Donuts franchise owner. “Our son graduated [from] Ball State and we just love this area.”
Simpson said there is no official opening date for the store.
“We’re hoping two weeks, but we still haven’t had the final walkthrough,” Simpson said.
Susan Harris, a Let There Be Art and Escape Muncie employee, had a table where people could paint small canvases and rocks for $2. People stopping by the table could also take stickers, an Escape Muncie wristband and a coupon for $5 off their next Escape Muncie visit.
“People have been taking little flyers and some stickers,” Harris said. “We’re really hoping that it will bring a lot of attraction to both of our businesses.”
Jacob Newlin, a sophomore telecommunications major, attended the $2 tour of the Village with his girlfriend, Diana Martinez, after seeing posters for the event around campus.
“There’s a lot of things to go see,” Newlin said. “I just wanted to look around because I don’t really know too much about the Village.”
Martinez, a sophomore public relations major, said Newlin had the idea to attend the event.
She said her favorite part of the event was the live entertainment, specifically from Harmony Dance Studio. The dance studio invited event attendees to practice a line dance with instructors, which Martinez and Newlin both participated in.
“We got free flowers [from the neighborhood association], so it’s a pretty good deal,” Martinez said. “I want to dance a little bit and get to know more people. If I see a Ball State student, I’ll maybe talk to them and make more friends.”
The $2 tour of the Village started in 2019 but was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour will return in 2022.
Christian Pullings, a freelance dance instructor at Harmony Dance Studio, performed for 15 minutes with fellow dance instructors and taught attendees a line dance. After his performance, Pullings was also able to dunk Ridenour.
“By pure chance of luck, I was able to dunk the mayor,” Pullings said. “People said, ‘dunk the major and we’ll sign up for your dance classes,’ so I dunked the mayor with everything in my heart.”