Summer Palooza

The one, the only, Pierogi Fest

Zany, wacky, madcap, nuts, outrageous, silly, unbelievable, hilarious, quirky, strange, odd, entertaining, funny, great family fun, refreshing, fulfilling and a great time.  These are just some of the words that visitors have used to describe Pierogi Fest.

Whiting’s 20th Annual Pierogi Fest will be held Friday, July 25 through Sunday, July 27. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

CBS Chicago television personality Steve Baskerville will return as parade marshal for Friday night’s International Polka Parade, which kicks-off the weekend’s festivities. Beloved personalities Mr. Pierogi, Halupki Guy and Ms. Paczki will be on hand, as well as other favorites Precision Lawnmower Drill Team, the Twirling Babushka Brigade, the Pieroguettes and the Pierogi Queen and her court. The International Dancers will appear on the main stage.

A huge component of Pierogi Fest is the food. There will be over 70 food vendors serving a wide variety of ethnic foods. As many as 20 vendors will be selling Pierogi of all types, but you’ll find a little of everything, including Polish sausage, burgers, brats, hot dogs, fries, tacos, chicken, Italian beef and sausage, pizza, calzones, Greek, Asian and Cajun food, ice cream and more.

Other Pierogi Fest highlights are the Mr. Pierogi Songfest, the beer garden, the Pierogi Toss, Pierogi eating contest, over 70 arts and crafts vendors and performances by the renowned Slovak dancers.

Exactly two decades ago, community leaders in Whiting put their heads together to create a summer festival to celebrate the Slovak and Polish culture that was so much a part of the tapestry of their small town.

In the first year, the event was little more than a few food vendors and one or two make-shift floats. With every passing year, it got bigger and bigger and that little event grew into Pierogi Fest, which is now one of the best summer festivals in the region, brought to you by the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, call 219-659-0292 or visit www.pierogifest.net

Valparaiso wine festival

The Valparaiso Wine Festival will be held Saturday, July 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Central Park Plaza.

Enjoy friends, wine and a summer afternoon in the park. Sample over 80 wines.  There will be live entertainment and food will be available for purchase.

All tickets are pre-sale. All attendees receive an event wine glass. Must be 21 to enter with valid ID.  VIP tickets are $60 and include exclusive wine tastings in the VIP tent from 3-4 p.m. General admission tickets are $45.  Designated driver tickets are $15, must be purchased with general admission or VIP ticket and include unlimited soda and water.

For more information, visit www.valparaisoevents.com

Lightning Bug Music Festival

The first Lightning Bug Music Festival will be held Sunday, July 6 at Sunset Hill Farm County Park, 775 Meridian Road in Valparaiso.

National and local acts including The Wood Brothers, Buckwheat Zydeco, Special Consensus and Chester Brown will be featured. The concert is also a benefit, raising funds to provide tuition assistance for deserving kids to attend summer camp at nearby Dunes Learning Center.

Kids and parents alike are invited to fill time between music sets participating in classic camp activities like flying handmade kites or tie-dying T-shirts, guided by Dunes Learning Center staff.

The festival will also feature the region’s first “food truck rally.” Music lovers will get a chance to sample offerings from The Rolling Stonebaker, Hungry, Inc., The Green Machine and Valpo Velvet.  Local craft beers will be provided by Hunter’s Brewing of Chesterton, Shoreline Brewery from Michigan City and 18th Street Brewery of Gary.

Gates open at 12 p.m. and the show starts at 1 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 on the day of the show. Children under 12 are free with a paid admission. For tickets or more information, visit lightningbugmusicfestival.org or find them on Facebook.

Nativity Fest is July 10-13

Nativity of Our Savior Parish, 2949 Willowcreek Road in Portage, will hold its 49th annual Nativity Fest on July 10-13.  There will be carnival rides, kids games, beer garden, casino, a $10,000 raffle and used book sale.  Air-conditioned bingo.  Food, including steamed corn on the cob, will be available.

Live entertainment includes Dan Reisen & Paige, Allen Wronko, Zodiac, Bravo Johnny, The Difference, Nawty, Take Five (Polka), The Relics and Crawpuppies.

Festival hours are Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday, 12 to 9 p.m.  For more information, call 219-762-4858.

Butterfly Release Ceremony at Calumet Park

Calumet Park Cemetery, located at 73rd Avenue and Taft Street in Merrillville, will have its annual live butterfly release ceremony on Saturday, July 26 at 11 a.m.  There will be live music, poetry readings and more.

Register no later than July 15 to be sure to get a free live butterfly for release.  Call 219-769-8803 or email dmoran@calumetparkcemetery.com with your name, address and telephone number and the number of butterflies needed.

Hobart Chamber Pig Roast

The Hobart Chamber of Commerce hosts a pig roast on Sunday, Aug. 17, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Festival Park, Lakefront Festival.

The menu includes pulled pork sandwich, chips and drink for $5; premium beef hot dog, chips and drink for $3; and a la carte items including pulled pork sandwich $4; premium beef hot dog $2; chips $1; drink $1; and sweet corn on the cob $1.

Buy tickets online or at the chamber office.  For more information, call 219-942-5774 or visitwww.hobartchamber.com

The Marshall County Blueberry Festival

The Marshall County Blueberry Festival is proud to present Montgomery Gentry with special guest Frankie Ballard on Friday night August 29, at 8:00 p.m., EST.

The old saying “What you see is what you get” applies when you meet Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry.  Rowdy, fun loving, spontaneous, and an awesome talent all describe what these guys are about.  Whether you meet them in person, hear their music on CD or see their live performance, the music and personalities are so infectious that you will also instantly become a fan.

Montgomery Gentry has produced more than twenty chart topping singles in their career, including the number one hits “If You Ever Stop Loving Me”, “Something to Be Proud Of”, “Lucky Man”, “Back When I Knew It All” and “Roll with Me”. The duo was awarded Favorite New Artist—Country at the American Music Awards, duo of the year by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association and they have been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. They are back in the recording their upcoming album and will have a new single out this fall on new record label, Blaster Records.

Few artists in the history of country music have risen from obscurity to prominence with the speed of Warner Bros. Records guitar singer Frankie Ballard.  Nowhere has that been more evident than in Ballard’s breakthrough #1 Hit, “Helluva Life”.  Fans are owning every line as they sing it back in concert and use social media to share their own stories of good times and bad, and the way romance puts a shine on all of it.  “Helluva Life” is the opener from Sunshine and Whiskeyan album that announces Ballard as one of the genre’s most nuanced singers and writers.

For more information or tickets, visit www.blueberryfestival.org.

 

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