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July 4th Festivities

America’s Birthday Shines Bright
In LaPorte County’s July 4 Festivities

Strike up the band! Light up the sky! It’s time to celebrate America’s 243rd year! There’s no better place to mark everyone’s favorite summer holiday than in the heart of the U.S. – the Michigan City/LaPorte area of Northwest Indiana. Huge parades, spectacular fireworks, and more celebrations are on tap.

Don’t forget that celebrating the 4th of July holiday in LaPorte County comes with everything visitors love about the region all summer long, especially lots of beach time and outdoor activity. Lake Michigan stretches in a supreme vista of blue water and sandy beaches in Michigan City. The community of LaPorte is home to popular clear-water inland lakes. Unique lodgings in both areas invite you to linger.

So don your star-spangled tee-shirts, pack up the bathing suits and beach towels and head to LaPorte County for a Fantastic 4th! Here’s a guide to what’s in store:

Live it Up in LaPorte

The theme of “Family/Fireworks/Freedom” eloquently spells out the passion the LaPorte Jaycees have for staging the 4th of July fireworks and parade that have made the community a top spot to celebrate for more than 70 years. Other organizations add to the fun for two fabulous days! Here’s what’s going on:

Fireworks – Make sure to head for the LaPorte County Fairgrounds early to get a primo spot for this extravaganza on July 3. Gates open at 6 p.m., with fireworks beginning around 9:30 p.m. There will be plenty to keep everyone entertained before that first burst of color fills the sky – food vendors, activities for the kids and more! And what a bargain – $5 for a carful, $1 for walk-ins.

Red, Wine & Brew – Here’s an alternative for the 21-and-over crowd on July 3 at Stone Lake Beach, coordinated by Bethany Lutheran Church and other organizations. The festival will rock out with some of Nashville’s hottest rising stars, beer, barbecue and fireworks, with the whole bash starting at 3 p.m. for early heroes and VIP entry and 4 p.m. for general tasting. An all-ages area on Lake Shore Drive will be open at 7 p.m. for free fireworks viewing. Proceeds go to local sheriff, police and EMTs.

Parade – LaPorte is officially proclaimed state capital for the day on July 4 when one of the biggest parades in Indiana heads through town, starting at 10 a.m. Extravagant floats, bands, twirlers, dancers and more stretch for two-and-a-half miles in this salute to freedom that lasts two to three hours.

Run for Riley – Before the big parade, lace up your running shoes for the annual 5k Run for Riley. Sponsored by the LaPorte Kiwanis Club, the run begins at 9 a.m. Proceeds go to Riley Hospital for Children.

Get Patriotic in Michigan City

Parade – Michigan City’s annual Patriotic Parade at 11 a.m. on June 29 is a grand start to your Independence Day celebrations and a high point in the community’s festivities. A much-loved tradition since 1957, the parade steps off from 10th Street and proceeds south along Franklin Street to Ames Field. With nearly 200 entries, viewers are treated to a wide array of units – bands, drum and bugle corps units, floats, fire trucks, dance teams, and vintage cars. Make sure to come early for a good spot.

Fireworks – Explosions of color bursting over Lake Michigan on July 4 make Michigan City’s annual fireworks display one of the most unique experiences imaginable. Viewers settle in at Washington Park and along the park’s beachfront to ohh and ahh as fireworks are launched from lighthouse pier beginning around 8:30 p.m. Arrive early to get a good viewing spot and enjoy the bonus of watching the sunset on Lake Michigan.

Make the Most of Beach Time

There’s more to Michigan City’s beloved Washington Park Beach than swimming and sandcastles. The park also is home to the Washington Park Zoo, with species from all over the globe. Kids love the park’s Splash Pad with water sprays and a tower. You can walk the pier to the lakefront’s iconic East Light, Indiana’s only working lighthouse, or tour the Old Michigan City Light, now a museum. On the park grounds right next to the beach, visitors can buy concessions, work out on the fitness trail, or visit the historic rock garden.

LaPorte fits the bill for any lake lover, whether your pleasure is fishing, swimming, water sports or all of the above. Both Pine Lake and Stone Lake boast clear, sparkling water, making them ideal swimming destinations. Waterskiing, sailing and wakeboarding are popular at Pine Lake, where you can also rent pontoons. You’re set for the day at Stone Lake, with a beach, lifeguards, concession stand, playground, and grills, plus a beach house and shower. Anglers love reeling in plenty of bass, crappie, bluegill and walleye from both lakes.

Plan a Super-Special Stay

The lakes, beaches, and all those 4th of July celebrations make many visitors decide to settle in for a full-fledged vacation in LaPorte County. Plenty of homes and cottages in Beachwalk Resort near Lake Michigan are available through Beachwalk Vacation Rentals, Michigan City. You’ll find everything from cozy cabins for two to upscale eight-bedroom beach homes perfect for family reunions. For ultimate pampering, bed-and-breakfast operations may suit your taste. Consider the award-winning Arbor Hill Inn or Fischer Farm Guest House, both in LaPorte.

Insider Tip:

Music seems a natural fit for any celebration, and the beat goes on June through August at free concerts that provide fabulous entertainment and are the pride of their communities. The Michigan City Municipal Band, formed more than 150 years ago, performs at 7:30 p.m. each Thursday in Washington Park’s Guy Foreman Amphitheatre. In LaPorte, a different band is featured each week in the Dennis Smith Amphitheater overlooking Clear Lake. Concerts start at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays with music ranging from pop to barbershop to country.

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