The annual “Livin’ It Up Benefit for Porter County Special Olympics” has grown considerably since last year and now includes a bike run, bike show, car show, beer garden, food vendors and several music groups performing noon to 9pm at Sunset Hill Farm County Park (the corner of Route 6 and Meridian) on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a great event,” said John King, host of the “Livin’ It Up” radio program aired Thursdays on Valparaiso’s WVLP-98.3 FM and a member of the Special Sports Boosters board for the county.
“This year we have teamed up with Porter County ABATE. We have been working with them the last three years on their Ultimate Bike show, in which they were donating the proceeds to Porter County Special Olympics,” continued King. “Their festival was always two weeks before ours. So this year we combined the Livin’ It Up music festival with the Ultimate Bike Festival to take it to another level. The Porter County Parks Department has been such a great supporter of both of our organizations and has really made it possible to make the festival bigger. ABATE’s Cathy Szymanski is doing an outstanding job of organizing this year’s fest. We have numerous local sponsors which allow us to make this the best festival yet. It is a tremendous feeling for me to see our community rally around such a great cause.”
There is a $10 entry fee for the bike show which follows the bike run. There is a $20 entry fee for the car show (includes ticket for the fest), judged by Special Olympics athletes.
“I can’t say enough about the outstanding local musicians who are all donating their time to support Special Olympics,” added King. “We have seven top local bands performing this year starting at 2 pm with RITO, Upside Down and Backwards at 3 pm, The Highway Band at 4pm, Residence 18 at 5pm, Robert Rolfe Feddersen at 6pm, Justified at 7 pm, and Ripley Street closes out the night.” Bringing lawn chairs or blankets for the performances is recommended.
“We are all volunteers putting on the fest and with Special Olympics, which means ALL funds raised go to our 400-plus athletes in Porter County. Each county must raise their own funds. It costs over $30k per year to make it possible to provide our athletes an opportunity to be involved in something very special that most of us take for granted,” King said. Admission: $5 (children 6 and younger attend free). More: Go to Livin’ It Up on Facebook.com or call (219) 309-0070.
· Children 10 and younger (with a parent) can join this columnist and Lake County Fair mascot, BEA the Bee, as we team up to promote literacy and summer reading 11am Saturday at the Griffith Public Library (1215 E. 45th Ave.). I will read children’s books with Bee characters as light refreshments are served, followed by a Meet ‘N Greet and photos with Bea. More: (219) 838-2825. The second of five such readings is scheduled 11am Saturday, June 21 at Munster Public Library (8701 Calumet Ave.). More: (219) 836-8450.
· Pick-Ups Bar (21000 Torrence Ave.) presents the “Kick It In The Sticks 2 Country Music Fest” for those 21 and older featuring performances by a bevy of country/southern groups -- Greg Schneider Band, Rebel, Jimmy Sarr Band, High Noon and Bridgewater -- starting at 5pm on Saturday. Tickets $15. More info: (708) 757-6758 or www. JimmySarrBand.com.
· VFW Post 1563 (6880 Hendricks) in Merrillville is hosting “Victory For Vicki” a Motorcycle Run/Party to benefit staff member Vicki Kloth who is battling cancer. Following the morning bike run (register 9:30am/bikes out at 11am) is an afternoon party with a variety of food, DJ music and live music by Southern/Country Rock group, Red Neck Sushi. Donation is $20. More: (219) 789-1984 or (219) 769-1563.
· The Big Bands and vocal greats of the 1940s World War II-era will be featured on “Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” at 6pm Tuesday on 89.1FM-Lakeshore Public Radio as in-studio guest Dr. John Ban – Professor Emeritus Indiana University Northwest -- shares history on the era and the important role music and dancing played in keeping morale high for troops and civilians alike. Tune in or stream the program live in real time at: www.lakeshorepublicmedia.org/radio.
Dr. Ban’s 90-minute “Dancing with the Stars of World War II” multi-media program will be presented free of charge to the public at Merrillville’s Central Library the following week at 1:30pm. June 24. Open to all ages. More: www.lcplin.org or (219) 769-3541.