Festival of the Lakes
By Barbara Voris Eastman
Each season on The Beach Coast has its own unique appeal, but there’s no denying that beautiful weather offers myriad opportunities for outdoor family fun. This is the time when Beach Coast town are buzzing with activities and when festivals abound.
One of the best is Hammond’s Festival of the Lakes, a five-day celebration that begins July 18th and concludes on the 22nd. Now in its 9th year, and like most festivals, it focuses on entertainment, food, and activities, but Beach Coasters will be hard-pressed to find a more impressive musical roster. This year it includes headliners like MC Hammer (get out those parachute pants and shoulder pads, baby, it’s Hammer time!), a rock symphony featuring the music of Led Zeppelin performed by the 48-piece Northwest Indiana Orchestra; George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic; Los Lonely Boys; and country music star, Gretchen Wilson. (For more info on the Main Stage lineup and a list of all opening acts, click here.)
Concerts are held each night at the beautiful Pavilion at Wolf Lake, which opened last year as part of $35 million economic redevelopment project for the City of Hammond. The Frank Lloyd Wright inspired pavilion features a state-of-the-art sound system and the site can accommodate up to 20,000 people. And, did we mention that admission is free? There is a $15 per car parking fee, but that’s it (except for food and beverage purchases). What a deal!
Cakes, Rides, and More
It wouldn’t be a festival without a carnival, right? Modern Midways has been retained by the City of Hammond to provide an unforgettable experience for old and young alike. In addition to games, rides, and prizes, who can resist the aromas that permeate any midway? We’re talking burgers and brats, funnel cakes, popcorn, cotton candy, and just about anything that can be put on a stick and deep fried. The food isn’t exactly heart healthy, but the festival only lasts five days so that leaves 360 days for counting calories. And anyway, food consumed outdoors doesn’t count, right?
With so many of the festival activities taking place on the shores of Wolf Lake, why not include a Fishing Derby? That’s what festival organizers thought and, just as in years past, the 9th Annual Fishing Derby gives people a chance to come out and compete for prizes in two divisions for landing the largest bass, walleye, perch and pan fish. There will also be trophies awarded to the youngest and oldest contestants and children under 15 will receive free fishing equipment while supplies last. This event costs a mere dollar, and proceeds are used to support the Wolf Lake stocking program. This derby is for on shore fishing only, so leave the outboard at home!
Other festival events are a Polka Party featuring the music of the “D” Street Band (held at the Hammond Marina), Senior Day for those 55 and older with music by the Don Manin Quartet, Special Person’s Day with free rides, hot dogs, and goody bags for participants, the Kathleen Pucalik Memorial 5K Run/Walk on the Lake, and the 9th annual Festival of the Lakes Rod & Custom Show, and a golf outing at Lost Marsh for festival sponsors.
Last year Festival on the Lakes went green and this year it will be greener yet. Recycling containers will be everywhere so patrons, performers, and staff will be able to recycle paper, cans, glass and plastic bottles, and cups. Even fruit peelings will be composted! These efforts promote sustainability and are good for the environment and good for Hammond.
Learn more about events, times, and venues by clicking on either of the links below or checking out the Festival of the Lakes Facebook Page. And then just head over to Hammond and have a ball!