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Summer Palooza is here! Get Ready for a Great Summer!

Written by Kristina Kuzma. Posted in Community News, Entertainment, Featured

Published on June 24, 2015 with No Comments

Summer is always my favorite season in Porter County, due in large part to a great lineup of events and festivals.  These activities provide so much fun and excitement that spending summer in the area seems like an endless vacation!  I’m excited to share some of these opportunities with you in the hopes that you will enjoy them as much as I do.

Get Outdoors Day is a great opportunity to enjoy a wealth of family-friendly activities within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  Headquartered at the Indiana Dunes Learning Center, 700 Howe Rd. in Chesterton, events will include trail hikes, camp crafts, lunch on the lawn and much more.  Activities will take place on June 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Admission is free.  Call 219-395-9555 or visit www.duneslearningcenter.org/events for more information.

The Portage Community Historical Society Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 27.  A few of the day’s highlights include crafters, games for kids, hayrides, a watermelon eating contest, museum tours, a fishing derby, a silent auction, and other historical tours.  Events will take place at Countryside Park and Alton Goin Museum, 5250 US Highway 6 in Portage.  Admission is free.  For more information, call 219-762-8349 or check out www.inpchs.com.

Fireworks on the Lakefront are not to be missed!  This year, they will take place on July 1 at dusk.  Get there early to grab the perfect spot on the Indiana Dunes State Park beach, 1600 N. 25 East, in Chesterton.  A great lineup of activities will start at 6 p.m., including fresh food vendors, a live rock concert and more.  The entrance fee is $7 per vehicle for Indiana residents and $12 for nonresidents.  Bus transfers will be available between Yost Elementary School and Chesterton Intermediate School to Porter Beach.  For more information, call 219-926-5513 or visit www.dunelandchamber.org.

The Lightning Bug Music Festival will take place this year on July 5 at Sunset Hill Farm County Park, 775 Meridian Road in Valparaiso.  A full day of music will be headlined by the amazing Earls of Leicester.  Food trucks will provide delicious fare and craft beers will be served onsite.  Even more enticing than the music and food is the fact that all proceeds go towards providing Dunes Learning Center summer camp experiences to children in need.  Tickets are $36.  Children 12 and under are free with a paid admission.  Gates open at 11 a.m., with music beginning at noon.  For more information, call 219-246-0068 or visit www.lightningbugmusicfestival.org.

The 18th Annual Sand Sculpture Contest will be taking place at Indiana Dunes State Park, 1600 N. 25 East in Chesterton on July 11.  Watch as sculptors create true works of art in the form of dragons, monsters, fairy tale characters, and more. Think you have what it takes to compete?  You’re welcome to participate!  Standard park entrance fees apply, $7 for Indiana residents and $12 for nonresidents.  Call 219-926-1390 or visit www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2980.htm for more information.

Chesterton’s annual Bark in the Park will be take place on July 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Thomas Centennial Park, located at 220 Broadway.  My dogs and I both love this event, with booths representing local shelters, pet services and pet merchandise.  There’s even training and obedience demonstrations, which admittedly, my dogs desperately need to watch!  Many fun contests will take place throughout the day.  All are free, as is admission to the event.  For more information, call 219-617-1742 or visit www.dunebig.com.

The Chesterton Art Fair is a can’t-miss two-day event, August 1 and 2 at Hawthorne Park, 500 Ackerman Drive, Porter.  More than 90 artists will exhibit their beautiful work, featuring a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, photography, jewelry, sculpture, weaving, glass and pottery.  Admission is $5 per person and events will take place each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, call 219-926-4711 or visit www.chestertonart.com/ChestertonArtFair.html.

Glow: Art after Dark will be taking place from August 13 through August 15, with events occurring each evening from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.  Taltree Arboretum and Gardens, located at 450 W. 100 North in Valparaiso, will be hosting this fun event, full of glow-in-the-dark art exhibits and performances, stargazing, a nocturnal nature program and plenty of children’s activities.  Ticket prices are as follows: $10 adult (13-54 years old), $8 senior (55+ years old), $5 child (5 to 12 years old), free (4 years old and under).  For more information, call 219-462-0025 or check out www.taltree.org.

The Kouts Pork Fest on August 22 includes the Country Classic walk/run, a parade down Main Street, tons of food vendors, arts and crafts, live entertainment, a pork burger eating contest, a double elimination cornhole tournament and a guess-the-weight-of-a-pig contest.  Admission is free, with events occurring from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. throughout downtown.  For more information, call 219-766-0720 or check out www.koutsevents.com.

The Aukiki River Festival will not only take you to Porter County’s southern boundaries, but back in time as well!  From August 22-23, visitors can view French voyageur and Native American re-enactors engaging in events spanning from the mid-1700s through the 1930s.  It all takes place along the beautiful Kankakee River at the Kankakee Valley Historical Society Grounds, 1099 Baums Bridge Road in Kouts.  There is a $3 suggested donation for admission, with kids 12 and under participating for free. Events run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  For more information, call 219-766-2302 or check out www.kankakeevalleyhistoricalsociety.org.

Sadly, summer must eventually come to a conclusion.  But it just may be worth it, because the end of summer also means the return the famous Valparaiso Popcorn Festival.  Taking place on September 12, festival events occur downtown from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and include family-friendly activities, live music on two stages, a kids play place with games and inflatables and more than 200 arts and crafts booths.  Admission is free!  For more information, call 219-464-8332 or visit www.valparaisoevents.com.

All the fun things mentioned in this column are listed in Indiana Dunes Tourism’s complete guide to Porter County, the Activities Guide or the 2015 Calendar of Events. For a free copy of these guides, visit www.indianadunes.com and click on request a guide, call 219-926-2225 or stop by the Visitor Center at 1215 N. State Road 49 in Porter.

 

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