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Festive Holiday Activities

Holidays are Happy Days
in LaPorte County – So Celebrate!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in LaPorte County, and you’re invited to share the joy! This special corner of Northern Indiana is alive this year with an extravaganza of festive activities and excitement, including a parade with Santa as the star, a brand-new drive-through light display, and a host of live performances that will put holiday cheer in your heart.

Tired of shopping for the same-old, same-old presents online and worrying about when they’ll arrive? Weary of the lines in big box stores? Here’s your chance to surprise those on your gift list with one-of-a-kind creations designed by local artisans along with other unique finds at some lively Christmas markets. Kids and kids-at-heart will love a nostalgic train ride, a step back in time at a re-created pioneer village, and visits with Santa.

So head for LaPorte County where a calendar filled with holiday pleasures awaits. Locals will love all that’s in store right in their own backyard. The welcome mat is out for visitors too, who may find a day or weekend away in our entertaining corner of the world is the perfect launch for the holiday season. For more holiday activities, as well as other information on visiting LaPorte County, go to www.michigancitylaporte.com/events-calendar/.

Get in the Spirit

Magic of Lights, LaPorte (Nov. 19, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022) – More than a million lights illuminating holiday scenes and characters transform the LaPorte County Fairgrounds into a magical drive-through wonderland. It’s the first time ever for the display at the fairgrounds. The whole family will delight in lighted creations such as the 12 Days of Christmas, Santa’s Mountain, Tropical Holidays, and an amazing Enchanting Tunnel of Lights. Kids will love seeing the holiday characters too. Some of the enormous scenes stretch up to 32 feet tall and are several hundred feet long. More than 10 miles of bulbs in 10 different colors adorn the buildings and scenes in the multitude of displays. Admission for each car.

LaPorte Santa Parade, LaPorte (11am-noon, Nov. 27) – Santa Claus IS coming to town, arriving in a flurry of excitement at his own parade! The annual LaPorte Santa Parade reigns as a time-honored tradition and the “official” launch to the holiday season. Floats and holiday characters proceed through downtown with Santa as the parade’s main attraction. The parade ends at his famous red chalet, located in Plaza 618, at 618 Lincolnway. Walking characters escort Santa to the chalet where children can whisper their Christmas wishes to the jolly man.

Step into Old-Fashioned Holiday Fun

Christmas at Barker Mansion, Michigan City (10am-5pm, Dec. 2-Dec. 31) – Pure holiday magic fills the air at the annual holiday tradition of Christmas at the Mansion. The Barker Mansion will open its decorated rooms to the community for viewing, guided tours and family fun! Check back for further details.

Pioneer Land Christmas Open House, LaPorte (3-8pm, Dec. 4 and 5) –
Oh, what simple holiday fun our ancestors enjoyed! Relive those times as you roam this re-created early 1800s village at the LaPorte County Fairgrounds, where the buildings are simply decorated as they would have been in the old days. Sip hot cider or cocoa and nibble on cookies in the cabin, pick up a gift or two at the general store, listen to some old-time music and visit with Santa Claus too!

Note: Admission is free to the Pioneer Land Christmas Open House. However, because the Magic of Lights Show also being held at the Fairgrounds, any car entering after 5pm will be charged $35 per car. Pioneer Land does not receive any funds from the light show. But, of course, you are welcome to both events.)

Fill those Stockings

A Very Merry Christmas, LaPorte (10am-4pm, Nov. 20) – Decorating for the holidays or looking for some very special one-of-a-kind gifts? Get your shopping done even before Thanksgiving arrives when the LaPorte County Visitors Center becomes a wonderland of creations from local artisans. Many of the artists themselves will be on hand offering unique, affordable ornaments, clothing, jewelry, artwork, and much more. Several items can be personalized by the artist. Sip apple cider or cinnamon tea as you enjoy this shopping extravaganza, sponsored by the Michigan City Art League and Land of Lakes Art Alliance.

The Collective Small Business Saturday Holiday Market at The Civic, LaPorte (10am-4pm, Nov. 27) – Here’s a terrific way to shop for some truly distinctive gifts, enjoy some food, beverages, and entertainment, all while helping support local businesses. Curated handcrafted and up-cycled finds abound at this special market. Enjoy craft beer, local food, a coffee bar, and live music, all for a $5 admission for ages 13 through adult. The best news is that a portion of the proceeds goes to local nonprofits.

LaPorte Christkindlmarkt, LaPorte (11am-7pm, Nov. 26; 9am-7pm, Nov. 27; 11am-5pm, Nov. 28) – Revel in shopping, Santa, and family fun all rolled into one outstanding event that stretches over three days at LaPark Playground, corner of 1st and G streets in LaPorte. Shop for quality artworks, crafts, toys, and even live Christmas trees, plus everything that you can imagine for Christmas decorating and entertaining. What’s more, the Market wraps around an ice skating rink, where you can glide (skate rentals available) surrounded by the sights and sounds of old-time German-style Christmas markets. Enjoy German bands and food, including pastries, plus s’mores roasting over open fires. Stop by the Biergarten for German beer and other libations. Santa, his elves, and reindeer will make an appearance too.

Watch Magic Unfold

Miracle on 3rd & “A” Street, LaPorte – (7:30pm, Dec. 3, 4, and 10; 2pm Dec.5, 11, and 12) – Everyone will be charmed by this uplifting holiday variety show that celebrates the season through musical numbers, recitations, and other performances at the LaPorte Little Theatre. The show features the talents of many area youth and adults.

The Nutcracker, LaPorte (Dec. 4) – Visions of sugar plums will dance through your head as you watch this classic two-act ballet, long a must-see for many families at holiday time. The LaPorte Civic Auditorium hosts the performance by Eclipse Performing Arts, a nationally recognized group based in Chesterton. You’ll be swept away by the beautiful costumes, the score by famous composer Puotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and, of course, the iconic Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

27th Annual Holiday at the Pops, LaPorte (7-9pm, Dec. 11) – The music of the season will sweep you away as the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra enthralls the audience yet again. This year, for the first time, Director Carolyn Watson and Associate Conductor Chuck Steck will co-conduct. The orchestra, which began years ago as a small community group, has developed into a highly visible semi-professional orchestra of 60 musicians, serving audiences across seven counties.

Insider tip: Clothing… collectibles… chocolates. Antiques… accessories… artistic creations. You can find all that and more in the friendly downtown stores of LaPorte. Unique shops and restaurants fill historic buildings, and holiday decorations make a stroll even more pleasurable. If you’re coming to town, don’t miss downtown!

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