Chesterton Tribune

Residents can help boost community fireworks display

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Want more fireworks this Independence Day?

An account is open at Porter Bank taking donations for a fireworks display to conclude the community festival July 4 at Hawthorne Park in Porter.

Last night Bill Sexton told the Porter Park Board that two licensed pyrotechnicians will set off the fireworks, and organizers are working with Shelton Fireworks to secure a crowd-pleasing selection.

The Town of Porter and the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce also are hosting fireworks July 1 at the Indiana Dunes State Park. Thousands of people have attended the last two years.

Porter Park Board president Rondi Wightman outlined a full day of events planned for July 4 at Hawthorne starting at 7 a.m. with a Lions Club pancake breakfast. A parade will step off in downtown Porter at 9 a.m. followed by a turtle derby at 11 a.m., nine food vendors and a beer garden in the park, bingo sponsored by the Chesterton Moose Lodge, a bike-decorating contest, sack races, a DJ and a live band presented by Leroy’s Hot Stuff, and additional family games throughout the day.

Wightman credited long-time Porter resident Brenda Brueckheimer, the town’s Public Works superintendent, for setting the 4th Fest in motion.

Deadline to enter the parade is June 27; participation is free. Owners of classic cars and motorcycles are invited to bring them to Hawthorne for a day-long display. A complimentary display space will be provided with a reservation.

For more information about festival events or to volunteer, email

A second Hawthorne Park festival is in the making for October. Wightman said Pat’s Liquors and Leroy’s are planning Porter’s Perfect Pint, including a VIP specialty beer tasting, as a fundraiser for the Fire and Park Departments.

In other business, the public was reminded that Wednesday at the Hawthorne gazebo from 7 to 8 p.m. the Valparaiso Community Concert Band will play musical selections with a patriotic theme; the concert is sponsored by Westchester Public Library.

Park administrator Stephanie Miller said the children’s summer park program is underway with growing attendance. The program takes place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. weekdays through July 22. Tuesday an educational bike rodeo in cooperation with the Porter Police Department starts at 9:30 a.m.

Miller commended new program director Kimberly Stento and assistants John Miller and Julia Puent. “This is a dynamite combination,” she said.

Park Board member Becky Maranto invited 5th or 6th Grade students to register for the July 11-14 children’s cooking class from 1 to 3 p.m. each day. There is a $20 fee per student, who each will receive a cookbook, and participation is limited to 12. Registration is being accepted. A donation from the Kiwanis Club is helping offset costs.

Maranto said one way to keep in touch with Porter park activities is through the department’s Facebook page at Town of Porter Park Department. So far 199 friends have signed up. “I’m hoping to see that number rise.”

Also Thursday, park superintendent Jim Miller said specifications are being finalized to solicit proposals to upgrade the HVAC at the Hawthorne community building including one or two supplemental air-conditioning systems. It was agreed the Park Board may call a special meeting to act on the proposals.

Brueckheimer updated the Park Board on the town’s planned drainage project through Hawthorne. Replacement of a culvert under Ackerman Drive is pending a wetlands delineation, and obtaining a permit to put a drainage tube under the Amtrack railroad at Waverly Road is progressing.

The board thanked several individuals/groups for their recent assistance: the Chesterton Building Trades Class and Jeff Larson for installing an energy-savings package in the new park pole barn; Public Works for help over the past month; Lakeshore Drifters 4H Club for donating and planting geraniums around the Soldiers Memorial; Johnston Gardens for donating flowers there for the May 31 observance; American Legion Post 170 for conducting the Memorial Day service; and Tony Davern and others for installing bike racks at two parks.

The Park Board next meets July 19 at 7 p.m. but agreed to assemble at 6:30 p.m. to view the recently completed improvements at the pole barn.


Posted 6/17/2011




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