"It's that most wonderful time of the year, Where actors are acting, and buskers are busking, From both far and ne-e-e-ear! It's that most festive time of the year!"

It's my most favorite time of year in the city, IndyFringe Festival time, and the one time I get re-e-e-eally excited for. This is the festival's 10th year in the Mass Ave district, and it promises to be their biggest festival yet.

Indy Fringe Logo 2013 64 shows, 366 performances, 8 venues in 6 theatres. All in 10 days. We're going to need a bigger city.

Of course, they say that every year, but that's because the damn thing keeps getting bigger!

This year, there are 64 shows, 366 performances, and eight venues in six theatres (two of the theatres — the Phoenix and Theatre On The Square — have two stages). That's a lot of theatre for 10 days!

We've got a lot of returning performers, including some people who have made Indiana their home — Phil Van Hest and "What Biscuits"; Paul Strickland, "Ain't True and Uncle False"; Lou Harry and John Thomas' "Going Going Goner".

In fact, what's really cool about Van Hest and Strickland is that they both moved to Indianapolis because of their experiences at the Fringe Festival.

Think about that. The IndyFringe Festival is so awesome, that two actors uprooted their entire lives because they were so moved by their experiences.

Do you see what you're missing by not going?

There are also new shows by new performers Michelle Freed, "Come Dance With Me! (But first can I borrow your pants?)" (who is also my friend); Melanie Green and William Engle in "Harlem Nights Cabaret"; Ben Abbott and "Questions of the Heart: Gay Mormons and the Search for Identity"; Tristan Bruns story of "Tapman: Origin"; and veteran Fringer from all over the US, Pat O'Brien's "Underneath the Lintel."

To get into an IFF show, you need two things: a backer button ($5) and a ticket ($10). You keep the backer button, because it lets you get into as many shows as you want. You buy a ticket for each show.

When the festival is over, all the money from buying backer buttons goes to the IndyFringe Theatre organization. All the money from ticket sales goes back to the performers. That's how they pay for their time here in Indianapolis. Many of them come for the entire 10 days, staying with host families, camping out, or staying with friends. Others only perform on the weekend shows, so they go home and work during the week. But there's an atmosphere of collegiality, camaraderie, and creative enthusiasm that you'll love being a part of.

Hang out at the beer tent between shows (corner of Mass Ave and College), hang out at one of the bars on Mass Ave and maybe have a drink with some performers. Or go to a show you hadn't planned on seeing.

Here are some important links to know before you go: