story by KATIE ABEL
As the crisp, bright leaves of fall give way to the first snowflakes of winter, festive cheer and seasonal fun is waiting for you in the heart of Northwest Indiana. Delight in old traditions and create new memories at the many holiday events and activities in Valparaiso this season.
Kick off spooky season by donning your spookiest or silliest costume and heading to Downtown Trick-or- Treat on Friday, October 13th. Then celebrate all things fall at the Fall Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 14th. This festival is held in conjunction with the last day of the Valparaiso Market and will feature fun entertainment, pumpkin painting, face painting, pumpkin inflatables, and more!
Put on your running shoes (and costume again!) for the Halloween Howl Fest & Run at Rogers Lakewood on Saturday, October 21st. This Halloween-themed event will feature a 2k walk/run, Dog Walk, hayrides, s’mores, music, and crafts.
After getting your fill of Halloween and fall, celebrate the opening of the ice rink in Central Park Plaza with First Skate. Be the first on the ice in 2023 with tickets to this family-friendly event that benefits the Valpo Parks Foundation. And if you can’t make it on November 11th, there’s plenty of opportunity to show off your ice-skating skills this season – the ice rink opens to the public on Monday, November 13th and runs through the first week of March.
At the end of November, marvel at ice skating demonstrations and the magnificently decorated 38-foot Central Park Plaza tree (with over 26,000 lights!) at Valpo Parks’ annual Winter Fest & Tree Lighting on Saturday, November 25th. And then enjoy the Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna performance on Sunday, November 26th at the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University (tickets available online at valparaisoevents.com).
Kick off December by celebrating all things festive at Holly Days on Saturday, December 2nd.
Drop off a letter to Santa (will he reply?!) and shop for gifts at downtown retailer open houses. Then head over to Candy Cane Lane at the courthouse square to ride the Holiday Express train before popping over to Central Park Plaza for pictures with Santa, ice sculptures, carolers, and much more.
Spread cheer at the Santa & Sirens Toy Drive on Saturday, December 9th. Enjoy a festive display of emergency vehicles at Foundation Meadows Park and donate new, unwrapped toys to Toys for Tots to help fulfill the holiday wishes of children in the Valparaiso community.
And finally, don’t miss the chance to enjoy some holiday theater this season! A Christmas Story will run from November 24th to December 17th at Chicago Street Theater, and Irving Berlin’s
White Christmas will be performed at the Memorial Opera House from November 30th to December 17th. Visit chicagostreet.org and memorialoperahouse.com, respectively, for tickets and details.