Christmas Comes Back to Hammond

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on November 30, 2010 with No Comments

By Rey Perez

Ahhh Christmas.

It is time for the holiday traditions of family, good food, presents and, of course, jolly Santa Claus. Over the years, many others have thrust themselves into the living rooms of even the most stubborn of holiday humbugs, most notably the 24-hour movie marathon of the 1980s classic “A Christmas Story.”

In what has become a regular occurrence, children of all ages plop down in front of the tube starting Christmas Eve to watch all the way through Christmas Day, following the Christmas season chronicles of Ralphie, Randy, Flick and the rest of the bunch. This year, those same fuzzy Christmas feelings won’t only be found in local living rooms, but also at the Hammond Visitors Center as “A Christmas Story Comes Home.”

It’s the third annual “A Christmas Story Comes Home” event. The Indiana Welcome Center is re-creating the film inside.The Christmas exhibit centers around six fully-animated displays mimicking the Macy’s Department Store displays that lined the streets of New York City. In those displays are some of the most well-known scenes; Flick’s famous tongue incident, the major award leg lamp and Santa’s Mountain from the department store.

To go along with the Santa’s Mountain display, Santa himself will be making appearances throughout the events, ready to take pictures with the children for $5 apiece. The pictures are anything but ordinary, as the folks at the Visitors Center have replicated Santa’s Mountain, as featured in the film, complete with a fun ride down the slide into a pillow of “snow.”

“Santa’s Mountain just adds a little something extra for the kid’s when coming to sit on Santa’s lap,” said Raquel Perez, special events coordinator.

While the displays have remained constant throughout the years, the events that surround “A Christmas Story Come Home” have continued to grow, according to Erika Scheeringa, director of public and community relations for the center. Most notably was the first “Kid’s Kick-off Day,” where parents were able to bring their children to the visitor’s center to enjoy a free day of train rides, fudge puppies, games and scavenger hunts. The children could even drop off their letters in the Santa’s mailbox.

A viewing of the film is also on, as well as a view of the animated window displays. The “Kid’s Kick-off Day” was the first event of the exhibit this season.

“We were really happy, because we had no idea how it would turn out being that it was the first time we did it,” Scheeringa said. This event, she said, was just completely focused on the children and aimed to be something a family could do together.

“The event was really fun for my kids and they really enjoyed it,” Carla Martinez said. Martinez took in the event with her children Anna, 6, and Sebastian, 4. Both enjoyed a train ride that took them from the parking lot all the way into the winter wonderland of the center.

During the 2010 Festival Weekend, Dec 4-5, actors from the movie will be signing autographs for fans as well as marshalling the Hammond Holiday Parade.

The “Ohhh Fudge Relay Race” features parent and child teams “changing a tire” and running through an obstacle course while holding a hubcap filled with lug nuts steady.

Like mashed potatoes? In the “Mommy’s Little Piggy” competition, contestants from four age categories chow down on the delicious mush for prizes ranging from $50-$100.

Finally, spectators can vote for their favorite from a slew of ugly lamps submitted in the “Ugly Lamp” competition for a chance to help someone win their very own “major award” leg lamp that was featured in “A Christmas Story.”

“These events provide a little something for everyone no matter how young or old,” Perez said. “Even if you’re not participating, watching these events makes for a good laugh.”

The events began on Nov. 1 and run through Jan. 9. For more information on the events surrounding “A Christmas Story Comes home,” visit www.achristmasstorycomeshome.com, or contact Perez at 219-554-2175 or at rperez@southshorecva.com.

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