CEDAR LAKE | Five days of contests, entertainment, three nights of fireworks show, a parade and cardboard boat race start Wednesday when Cedar Lake kicks off its Summerfest celebration.
Festival hours are 5 to 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. 10 11 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 11:30 p.m. July 6 and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 7 on the town complex grounds, 7408 Constitution Ave. Admission is free; a $5 donation for parking is asked.
An old favorite returns to Summerfest this year.
Due to summer road construction, the annual festival has not been able to host the Stars and Stripes Shuffle, but it is back on tap July 6.
Sponsored by Walgreens, the run will be 7.6 miles around the lake.
"It's a little longer (than a 5K) but people like the challenge," said Summerfest committee member Mary Joan Dickson, who is also Cedar Lake's parks director.
There is a $15 registration fee the day of the race. Mile markers, water stops and traffic control will be set up on the course. Also, there will be refreshments for participants afterward.
Summerfest is traditionally held lakeside at the town complex. This year's festival also includes a third night of fireworks. On Wednesday, the fireworks will be shot off fairly low and will be best viewed from the lakefront.
There will be a second display on Thursday and then a fireworks “extravaganza” July 6, said Robert Carnahan, committee chairman.
Carnahan also is in charge of the Senior Games this year.
On Wednesday, free bingo will be played as well as Name That Tune and The Price Is Right. Carnahan also donates his time to the Cedar Lake United Methodist Church’s booth.
Another new festival event, a beanbag tournament, will be held for festivalgoers 21 and older in the beer garden on July 7.
The schedule will be full of "traditional events that we've done before," said Dickson. "Our sponsors have been phenomenal this year, and we've gotten the cooperation we need from (town departments and organizations.) As long as the weather stays on our side."
Traditional events include the Cupcake contest, held Wednesday through July 7. Considered part of the Summerfest's 32nd birthday celebration this year, a different age category will compete each day of the contest
July 6 will be the traditional bathing beauty contest for girls and Superheroes contest for boys.
The 27th annual Summerfest car show is held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 7. Judged entries pay a fee of $20 to enter, nonjudged entries pay $5. Boy Scout Troop 105 will be serving a hot lunch during the show.
The 25 year-plus Summerfest Talent show is at 1 p.m. July 7. Contestants compete in five age categories, from kids to adults. Entries are $5. First place carries a $50 cash prize, first-, second- and third-place winners also receive trophies.
The Summerfest parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. on the Fourth of July, and the annual Great Cardboard Boat Race will be held from 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.