The holiday season in Duneland kicks into gear on Friday, with the annual
Hometown Christmas Celebration in downtown Chesterton highlighting the day’s
The festivities begin in the afternoon at the Chesterton Art Center, 115 S.
4th St., where the annual Sugar Plum Visions gingerbread houses will be on
display. Patrons can vote for their favorite, with proceeds going to the
Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry. Visitors can also enjoy the Art Center’s
Members Exhibit and decorate a cookie to boot, with cookies and frosting
Beginning at 3 p.m., the bakers of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church will have
their baked goods for sale at the Art Center. The bake sale will continue
through 7 p.m. and again on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Head down the road a bit to the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce
parking lot at 220 Broadway and enjoy free horse-drawn carriage rides from 3
to 5 p.m. through the downtown.
Then at 5:30 p.m., a Duneland tradition -- the Twilight Christmas Parade --
will step off from Chesterton Middle School. The parade continues through
the downtown from Broadway to South Calumet Road, then to west Porter Avenue
and finally back to CMS.
This year, more than 30 entries will be in the parade -- from floats to
walking groups -- with the grand finale being none other than Santa himself,
riding on the Chesterton Fire Department’s aerial.
After the parade, children may visit Santa in the Santa House in Thomas Park
from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Santa will be in his house again from 10 a.m. to noon
and from 1 to 3 p.m. every Saturday through Christmas.
During Friday’s Christmas Celebration, downtown businesses will remain open,
offering holiday snacks and Black Friday deals. Chesterton Feed and Garden
Center will sell holiday greens as well as samples of their fresh, hand cut
Christmas trees at their store, while the Duneland Kiwanis will sell
flavored coffee and hot chocolate at 220 Broadway to parade-goers and
The holiday festivities in Duneland and beyond abound in the days and weeks
ahead. Here’s a rundown of some of the holiday activities to put on the
Dec. 3, 4, 5: The Chesterton High School Music Department will host the 38th
annual Madrigal Dinners in the school cafeteria. Tickets, are now on sale at
the CHS Music Office through Dec. 2. The performance times are Dec. 3 at 8
p.m.; Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The cast of approximately 100 CHS music students dressed in medieval
costumes will sing, play, juggle, amuse and serve throughout each of the
five performances. Included in the Madrigal is breast of chicken dinner with
a relish tray, chicken breast, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, wassail,
and dessert. A nut-free plate excluding dessert or a vegetarian plate
including dessert will be available upon request at the time of ticket
Dec. 3: The musical stage version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” will open with
an 8 p.m. performance at the Memorial Opera House, Valparaiso. Additional
performances will be on Dec. 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18, all at 8 p.m. and on
Dec. 5, 12, and 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $17 for seniors
and students. Call the box office at 548-9137 or go online at
Dec. 3-4: Valparaiso University will host its annual Christmas Concert at
the Chapel of the Resurrection. The Friday concert will be at 7:30 p.m., and
Saturday’s will be at 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for senior
citizens and non-VU students, and free for VU students, faculty and staff.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 464-5162 or going online at
Dec. 4: Chesterton United Methodist Women will host their annual Cookie Walk
at the church from 9 a.m. to noon, featuring more than 400 dozen cookies. On
the same day, Bailly Elementary School will be site of the Mistletoe Market,
with vendors from the European Market returning to Chesterton for holiday
shopping from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dec. 5: The Annual Victorian Christmas Party will be held at the Westchester
Township History Museum, with Christmas caroling and the playing of the old
Hillstrom organ. At 3 p.m., Rory McMahan will entertain with a dramatic
reading of O. Henry’s Christmas tale, “The Gift of the Magi.”
Dec. 5: VU will host a free concert -- Tuba Christmas -- also at the Chapel
from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m.
Dec. 10: The 16th annual Duneland Advent Festival at St. Patrick Church will
be at 7 p.m. Musical ensembles from about 10 area churches will perform, and
for the first time ever, so will the Chesterton High School chorus. The
event is free to the public, with a freewill offering taken for the
Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry.
Dec. 11: The St. Iakovos Greek Orthodox Church Annual Cookie Walk will be
held from 9 a.m. to noon at the church’s facilities at 352 Chicago St. (old
St. Paul School) in Valparaiso.
Now through December: Want to spread goodwill to those less fortunate? A
number of local businesses are drop-off sites for charities, including:
Tiger Lilly, 1505-5 S. Calumet, which is a drop-off site for Toys for Tots
through Dec. 16 (bring a non-wrapped toy); McColly Real Estate, 560-4 Indian
Boundary Road, and Anton Insurance Agency, 155 S. Calumet Road, which are
both drop-off sites for the Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry (bring
non-perishable items such as canned goods and soap, toilet paper, and tooth