HAMMOND | Peteyville is once again bringing holiday cheer to the Hammond neighborhood where Jean Shepherd, whose writings inspired the movie “A Christmas Story,” grew up.
The major lights and Christmas decoration display is the inspiration of Hammond resident Pete Basala. Peteyville began on Thanksgiving and will continue through New Year's Eve at 3033 Crane Place.
“You can't just drive by it,” Basala said of his creation. “You have to get out and walk it. We get hundreds and hundreds of people come by every season and walk around the display and tell us how much they like it.”
This year Basala added two 13-foot soldiers, a Snoopy and a merry-go-round to the display that takes up five yards. About 12,000 lights hang on archways along the sidewalks.
The light display will run from 5 to 10 p.m. each night through New Year's Eve. Lights on New Year's Eve will stay on until about 12:30 to 1 a.m.
“I always decorated my mom's house when I was a kid,” Basala said. “When I bought my house 25 years ago when I got married, I started decorating the house, and I caught the bug.”
His brother coined the term for the display when he made Basala a sign for the entrance of his Christmas village that read "Peteyville."
“Everybody loves it,” Basala said. “They know me as Peteyville around here.”
Basala starts working on the display in August and bringing decorations out of storage in October. Around Thanksgiving, Peteyville begins to take shape.
“It always lights up Thanksgiving night,” Basala said. “People stand out there, and it's tradition for a lot of people to come after Thanksgiving dinner to see the display.”
Basala runs a separate power service through NIPSCO for the display, which he estimates costs $110 a week. The financial commitment is worth it, Basala said.
“It's an obsession. You get a kick out of kids and people out there enjoying it,” Basala said. “I don't see the display. I see the back of the display from my house, so I don't really enjoy it as much as everybody else. It's fun to walk out there and pass out candy canes.”