We celebrate our area’s fall events with you

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on August 29, 2012 with No Comments

Soon it will be a time of brightly colored leaves.  Brilliant, sunny days.  Cool, crisp nights.

That’s Northwest Indiana in the fall.

Porter, Lake and LaPorte counties is a region filled with fun and relaxing family-oriented things to do ranging from park activities, to church events to library offerings.

You will find the events featured and advertised in this special issue, whether relaxing after a long day at work or for the children, after a week of their various extracurricular school activities.

From a hike through the dunes or a visit to Valparaiso’s Popcorn Fest, there are activities to suit almost every genre.

The newspaper has a dashing look this week, reminding you it is a special issue – one with a long shelf life.

Tuck it away, perhaps in the car, and refer to it often.

The events contained inside take place in safe and welcoming environments.

Don’t miss the Taste of Duneland in Chesterton or the Scarecrow Fest in Wanatah.  Mark your calendar for the Harvest Festival in Portage, Popcorn Fest in Valparaiso or the Wizard of Oz Fest in Chesterton.  And there is always the hayrides and pumpkin patches for a family event.

When you’re trying to decide where to go for fun, just glance inside and you’ll be sure to find an interesting event.

If you visit our paper version on our website, you can easily view additional activities in the calendar section. Enjoy!

- Brenda Kleihege, publisher

Come to the Taste of Duneland on Sept. 1  

Spend the unofficial last Saturday of summer, Sept. 1 during Labor Day weekend, at the 5th Annual Taste of Duneland.  The festivities will take place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in Thomas Centennial Park in downtown Chesterton, at the cross streets of Calumet and Broadway.

Many tasty treats will arouse the taste buds when you sample fare from local eateries. Relax in the beer and wine garden, listening and dancing to live bands all afternoon and into the night.  The bandstand will feature three bands with regional favorite, the Crawpuppies, headlining the evening.

Kick back, relax, dine and dance at the crossroads of summer’s end and fall’s beginning.  Best of all, admission is free. For more information, visit   or contact the Duneland Business Initiative Group at 219-728-1741.

Popcorn Festival brings a week of community focused lunch and dinner options starting Sept. 4 doxycycline hyclate youtube doxycycline light headed

The days (Tuesday, Sept. 4 – Friday, Sept. 7) leading up to the 34th Annual Popcorn Festival will be filled with pre-event activities and daily lunch and dinner options under the Orville Redenbacher Tent, hosted by Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events (VCFE).

The tent, to be set up on Lafayette Street next to Central Park Plaza, will open Tuesday with lunch catered by Pesto’s Italian Restaurant. Tuesday’s dinner will be catered by ValpoDining.com and hosted by the Folds of Honor Foundation and will include green river floats.

The evening’s proceeds will be used to fund educational scholarships for children whose military parent has been killed or disabled in the line of duty. Tuesday’s dinner will also include live entertainment, Hot Wheels Race and Cutest Baby finals.

“Each dinner is hosted by a non-profit organization which is raising money to give back to the community in one way or another, said Tina St. Aubin, executive director with VCFE.  “The food vendors on festival day also team up with non-profits, it’s exciting to see the festival helping other organizations and giving support back to the community.”

Wednesday’s lunch offers three menu selections catered by Billy Jacks.  Dinner will be by the Don Quijote Foundation, featuring roasted pork and bbq chicken wings and entertainment by Chris and Lou.

Thursday visitors can enjoy turkey pies for lunch by Strongbow Inn and a chicken dinner by the Valparaiso Kiwanis Club.

The week will wrap up on Friday with Kelsey’s Steak House catering prime rib for lunch and the NWI School Nutrition Association Chapter 25 providing a pork chop dinner that includes live entertainment by the Valparaiso High School Band/Swing Choir.

For more information about the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival’s pre-event activities and menus, visit VCFE at or call 219-464-8332.

Registration still open for Popcorn Panic, Lit’l Kernel Puff Race

Register now for the 2012 Popcorn Panic 5-Mile run and 5K Walk. Valparaiso Parks Department hosts its annual foot race on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 a.m. to kick-off a day of Popcorn Fest festivities.

The Popcorn Panic offers a challenging course and a scenic tour of Valparaiso. Registration is $25 until Sept. 3; $35 after Sept. 3.  Race day registration will be accepted.

Participants can pre-register at the Valpo parks office, 3210 Campbell St., by phone at 219-462-5144, online at or at Blythe’s Sport Shop in Valparaiso.

It’s also almost time for the 2012 Lit’l Kernel Puff Race!  The unique kids’ race will take place during the Popcorn Festival on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 8:45 a.m.

Lit’l Kernel Puff is open to children ages 2 to 9 (as of Sept. 8).  Cost is $20 until capacity is reached. Only 675 participants accepted. Same day registration is not available. Pre-register at the Valpo parks office, 3210 Campbell St., by phone at 219-462-5144 or online .

For more information, call the parks department at 219-462-5144 or visit .

Rusted Root to headline at the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival

Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events (VCFE) 34th Annual Popcorn Festival will take place on Saturday, Sept. 8 in downtown Valparaiso.

The event begins at 7 a.m. and includes arts and craft booths, kids play place, two stages with live music, 5K walk/run, food vendors, beer garden and the Orville Redenbacher Popcorn Parade.

The main stage entertainment will begin at 12 p.m. at the Porter Health Amphitheater in Central Park Plaza. Four live bands will include The Acousticats, Killer Ray Allison, The Crawpuppies and Rusted Root.

Main stage headliner, Rusted Root, will perform at 5 p.m. and has sold more than 3 million albums worldwide. Formed in Pittsburgh by singer/guitarist Glabicki in the early 1990s, Rusted Root’s worldly style quickly charmed fans of roots music and world rock. After debuting in 1992 with the self-released “Cruel Sun,” Rusted Root signed with Mercury Records and released the 1994 platinum selling breakthrough “When I Woke,” which featured the hit songs, “Send Me On My Way,” “Ecstasy” and “Martyr”. Not long after, the band scored on tours with Toad the Wet Sprocket, Santana, The Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band, The Allman Brothers Band, HORDE Festival and the highly coveted support role on the landmark Jimmy Page/Robert Plant reunion tour.

The main stage line-up is made possible by a partnership with NITCO as well as NIPSCO, Duffy’s Place, Post-Tribune and Town & Country Market.

For more information about the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival and other events planned for this year, visit VCFE at or call 219-464-8332.

in La Porte starting Sept. 22

Creek Ridge County Park, on Saturday, Sept. 22-Sunday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will step into the past.

Visit with historically clad re-enactors and vendors. Bring the whole family and experience outdoor cooking, crafts, candle dipping, wagon rides, food and more. No pre-registration required. Cost $2 for adults, $1 for children or seniors.  For more information, visit

Family fun at the Wanatah Scarecrow Festival starts Sept. 21

The Wanatah Scarecrow Festival will be held Friday, Sept. 21-Sunday, Sept. 23 at U.S. 30 and U.S. 421. This is a fun-filled festival you don’t want to miss.

There will be plenty of scarecrows, of course, along with lots of fun for the whole family. On Friday, there’s the Fall Harvest Contest at Scarecrow Square along with a pork crop dinner at Wanatah School. Saturday, there’s a 5K race and 3K walking and leisure race, a Scarecrow Scamper fun run for the kids, a parade downtown and fish fry at the school. Sunday’s highlights include a pancake breakfast, kiddie pedal tractor pull, car show, duck raffle and scarecrow sculpting.

All weekend long the festival will offer bingo, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, merchant giveaways, entertainment and so much more.

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33 Annual Griffith Fall Harvest Craft Festival begins Sept 29

The 33rd Annual Fall Harvest Craft Festival will be held in Griffith Central Park, 698 N. Broad St., Griffith on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This popular festival is entirely organized and run by the leaders, parents, and scouts of Griffith Boy Scout Troop 264. Many talented crafters will be displaying a wide variety of beautiful handmade items. A delicious lunch menu features steamed corn, potatoes and pulled pork sandwiches to name a few.  Enjoy lunch while listening to a live band. Come out and spend the day.  With the arrival of fall, this is the perfect opportunity to start Christmas shopping.

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The Harvest Festival Fine Arts Show will be held indoors at Woodland Park on Saturday, Oct 6 – Sunday, Oct. 7.   Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.  Free admission and parking.  Open to all ages.

Live entertainment will be provided on both days.  Also featured are chocolate samples by Kim’s Specialty Chocolates and wine tastings by Butler Winery, Buck Creek Winery and Easley Winery.  (Chocolate and bottles of wine will be available for sale, too.)

This event is a National Juried Art Show with Susan Henshaw as the show juror. Henshaw is a lifetime resident of Union Pier, Mich.  A self-taught artist, she has held many solo shows and is part of several permanent corporate and private collections.  Over the years, Henshaw has received many juried awards for her pastels and paintings.

Woodland Park is located at 2100 Willowcreek Road in Portage.  For more information, call the park office at 219-762-1675 or visit .

Whiting Oktoberfest offers taste of Germany on Oct. 6

Schnitzel, spatzle, brats and beer–Whiting’s Oktoberfest is here!

Mark your calendar for Saturday, Oct. 6.  Whiting’s Oktoberfest takes place on 119th Street from 11a.m. to 10 p.m.  Come join the fun!

Hear the sounds of old Germany from live “Oompah” bands while you enjoy a brew with your crew in the bier garten.  Stuff yourself with sausage, brats, cabbage, noodles, schnitzel, and more.

Excite your taste buds at the Chili Cook-Off Tasting Contest as local restaurants and not-for-profit churches and organizations are invited to compete for the title of Best Chili. Those attending are invited to taste all the chili recipes and vote for their favorite
And with Oktoberfest already here, it is not too soon to shop for the upcoming holidays in all of our shops and at our arts and crafts fair.

For more information, visit or call the Whiting Chamber of Commerce at 219-659-0292.

Calumet Park hosts a free, fun-filled family event on Oct 13

With the harvest season upon us and winter just around the corner, Calumet Park Cemetery and Funeral Chapel is hosting a free, fun-filled fall event for families to enjoy together.

Calumet Park will be hosting its sixth annual fall afternoon of fun on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. An area favorite, the event celebrates life while giving kids an opportunity to play in a safe environment under the watchful eyes of parents and responsible cemetery and funeral home personnel.

The afternoon of fun will feature a free hayride, taking the kids through the woods in the back of the cemetery. There will be face-painting along with free popcorn and drinks provided by the Portage 16 IMAX. Bales of hay will be set up as tables for the tots while kids can choose from hundreds of pumpkins for their pumpkin painting projects.

But in addition to all the fun, another goal of the event is to highlight the human, compassionate side of the cemetery and funeral business, according to Calumet Park General Manager Dan Moran.

“We wish to promote the idea that we should all enjoy life as much as possible, since none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.  Dying is as much a part of life as dating, school, careers, vacations, and so on,” said Moran. “There is a perception by some people that cemetery and funeral employees are different when, in fact, we are exactly the same as everyone else with a different job than you might have.”

Moran said he expects between 50 and 150 attendees, depending on the weather.  In an attempt to plan around poor weather conditions, this year’s event is scheduled earlier than usual.

All are welcome to attend this free event compliments of Calumet Park Cemetery and IMAX Theaters in Portage.

“What we enjoy the most about the event is the smiles that come to kids’ faces and the connections that kids and their families take away from a fun afternoon. This event is especially important because it gives some families a chance to do a fun day at no cost,” said Moran.  “In these tough economic times, this is important for parents to do something with their kids that is different and their only investment is the time spent.”

Calumet Park Funeral Chapel is located at 7535 Taft St. in Merrillville, a half mile north of U.S. 30.  For more information, call 219-736-5840 or visit .

20th Anniversary Elvis FANtasy Fest in Portage starts Oct. 12

This year’s Elvis FANtasy Fest takes place Friday, Oct. 12-Sunday, 14 at Woodland Park Community Center, 2100 Willowcreek Road, Portage.

The festival is a weekend event and offers entertainment, food and Elvis vendors along with special guests.  The fun includes the Elvis Game, raffles and auction, a free sock hop and, of course, music.

The Friday night concert “Legends Tribute Concert” features tributes to Elvis, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, James Brown, Tom Jones and the Blues Brothers with a special appearance by Chicago’s Rick Saucedo as Elvis.

Saturday night concerts feature performances with tribute artists Doug Church, Quentin Flagg, Stephen Kabakos, Robert Washington, Ted Torres and Irv Cass as emcee.

The first Elvis FANtasy fest was held in 1993 and is sponsored by the Taking Care of Presley Memorial Benefit Committee.  The group’s mission is to perpetuate a fund for charity in remembrance of Elvis Presley and his musical legacy.

Their goal for the fundraising is to emulate Elvis’ humanitarianism and give to others in need.  Proceeds from the event are donated to Special Olympics for scholarships for athletes.

The event is organized by an all-volunteer committee.  They thank the Special Olympics parents, athletes, fans, tribute artists and all those who have donated time, talents and money to the event. The Elvis FANtasy Fest has given more than $250,000 to charities.

For more information or to enter a contest, call 317-844-7354 or visit

“Elvis – still ON TOUR”

Find unique gifts as early as Nov. 17 at Holidaze Craft Show

Get your holiday décor and Christmas presents early and all in one stop by attending the Holidaze arts and crafts show.  The show will be held Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18 at the Porter County Expo Center and Fairgrounds, 215 E. Division Road, Valparaiso.

Some 170 crafters will be on hand, offering beautiful items for your home and one-of-a-kind gifts for your family and friends.

Admission is $1.  Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  For more information, call 219-464-9918, email questions at or, visit .

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