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Celebrating the Dunes and Other Local Treasures

With the Indiana Dunes right in our backyard, it might be easy to forget that this fragile ecosystem is indeed a national treasure. Fortunately, residents have been involved in protecting the dunes for decades, and it’s a mission that continues today.

The Save the Dunes organization plans several events each year to draw attention to the dunes and to raise money for their work. In fact, their major annual fundraiser – Jammin with Save the Dunes – is coming up June 2. It’s one of three upcoming extraordinary events that focus on entities that are unique to LaPorte County, including the Hesston Steam Museum and Michigan City’s Uptown Arts District. Here are details on celebrating at all three, with a little history to boot:
Jammin with Save the Dunes
The movement to protect the dunes started back in 1952, when Ogden Dunes native Dorothy Buell founded Save the Dunes simply to protect the remaining untouched dunes of Northwest Indiana, according to the organization’s website. The group notes that one of its greatest triumphs was aiding in the establishment of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 1966 and fostering several bills to expand its size.
So, it’s no wonder that hundreds of dunes lovers (and music lovers too!) converge each year for a celebration of sound at Jammin with the Dunes. Listen to non-stop live entertainment from numerous performers and enjoy all kinds of family fun in Michigan City’s Washington Park from 4 to 10 p.m. June 2. Food and beverages will be available, and there also will be special activities for the kids. The evening headliner this year is Mr. Blotto, a Chicago jam band blending all kinds of rock with country and folk. Several other bands are scheduled on the main stage as well as on the second stage in the beer garden.

Swale Music Fest
Those fun-loving folks at the Michigan City Mainstreet Association are always coming up with great events to promote the Uptown Arts District, a historic area of the city that’s home to lively shops, galleries and restaurants. The Swale Music Fest is an all-new-all-exciting event taking place May 26. More than 20 local and national acts will perform on three stages spread across Charles R. Westcott Park.
Doors open at 1 p.m. and performances will take place from 1:30 to 10 p.m. You’re sure to hear whatever type of music you love from this collection of artists performing indie, rock, country, punk, blues hip-hop and more. This family-friendly extravaganza will feature great food from Smokey G’s BBQ and Fiddlehead, as well as local craft beer and wine. Take advantage of the park’s proximity to the Uptown Arts District and have a look around before the festivities begin.

Hesston Steam Museum Opening Weekend
All aboard for another great season at the Hesston Steam Museum in Hesston, starting off with a great lineup of fun opening weekend May 26-28. Come early each day for breakfast at Doc’s, beginning at 9 a.m., where you’ll get a chance to meet the railroad crew and then watch the trains fire up their engines. The depot and gift shop open at 11:30 a.m., with trains rolling out at noon. It’s like stepping into the past when you board the Steam Museum’s biggest train – a full-size Narrow-Gauge locomotive like those once used to transport both passengers and freight. There also are two other trains to ride, a Kiddieland railroad and a small-scale hobby railroad. Also, the Hesston Sawmill and blacksmith shop on the grounds will be open all three days.

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