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Santa 3K Dash planned

CHESTERTON —  Santa 3K Dash begins at 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at Lakeland Park. The Burns Harbor Parks Department is sponsoring this event to benefit Toys For Tots and the Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry. Instead of paying an entry fee, all participants are encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift and a nonperishable good as their entry fee. Before the dash, Santa will be arriving via firetruck to visit the arts and crafts building at Lakeland. Coloring stations, hot chocolate and music will entertain families while waiting to see Santa inside the building along with horse and carriage rides around the park starting at 1 p.m. At 3 p.m., upon exiting the park, Santa will send off the runners and walkers on their 3K dash.

Fair Trade Holiday Bazaar at Valpo International Center

The Valparaiso International Center will host its annual Fair Trade Holiday Bazaar from noon to 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 9 at the VIC's headquarters, 309 E. Lincolnway. The bazaar features handmade products produced by craftsmen and farmers from developing countries.

Sounds of the Christmas season

VALPARAISO — Christ Lutheran Church will hold a concert to benefit the organ fund with members of the Christ Lutheran Church choir. The South Shore Brass Band will perform at 4 p.m. Dec. 9 at the church, 2610 Campbell St. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students. Tickets will be available at the door and church office.

Candy Cane Express

LAPORTE — Hesston Steam Museum will hold its Candy Cane Express 20-minute sceneic ride Dec. 9-10. Santa will be on hand and photos will be available with him at no charge. The museum is east of Ind. 39 on LaPorte County Road. Visit www.hesston.org.

Cookie walk

VALPARAISO — St. Iakovos Church is having its annual cookie walk from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 9 at 36 W. County Road 700 North. A variety of cookies will be available to purchase at $9 a pound. Other individually priced items will also be available for purchase. All proceeds to benefit the St. Iakovos Building Fund. Call 219-462-4052.

Animal Rescue Squad holiday event

HAMMOND — Animal Rescue Squad will have a holiday event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at Morton High School. We will have photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus for your pets and the entire family. Dogs and cats will be up for adoption. There will be craft and Christmas vendors, raffle, kids activities, bouncy house, food and more.

Tour of Lights sign-ups

CROWN POINT — Mayor David Uran’s Office of Special Events will again host a Tour of Lights within the Crown Point city limits. The event will take place Dec. 11-16. If you would like your home to be on the route for all to enjoy, call the Special Events Office at 219-662-3290 to sign up.

Valpo Parks Touch a Truck Toys for Tots Toy Drive

The Valparaiso Parks Department, along with Dunes Leathernecks Detachment Marine Corps League and Toys for Tots, will host a Touch a Truck Toys for Tots Toy Drive from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9 at Central Park Plaza. Kids will be able to explore their favorite big rigs. Police cars, firetrucks, snowplows, emergency vehicles, and more! Plus, complimentary cookies and hot cocoa provided by Family Express and SB Chocolate Café Valparaiso. There is no admission charge. Bring a new unwrapped toy, for any age, to donate to our local Toys for Tots Chapter. Monetary donations will also be accepted. Call 219-462-5144.

Lansing Santa House

The Lansing Santa House will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 8, 13, 15, 20 and 22 and from 1 to 3 p.m Dec. 9, 16 and 23 at 18106 Henry St. Photos are welcome. Call 708-895-7208.

Holiday Traditions Celebration

Join staff and volunteers at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as we celebrate “Holiday Traditions in the Dunes” from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at Chellberg Farm and the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center. At the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center from 1 to 3 p.m., children will get to make traditional holiday decorations and put them up on the Christmas tree or take them home. There will also be traditional stories and songs to be enjoyed by all. The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center is located at 1215 N. Ind. 49, about 1 mile north of Interstate 94. Call 219-395-1882 or visit www.nps.gov/indu.

Hobart Historical Society Christmas open house

The Hobart Historical Society is sponsoring a book signing at their annual Christmas Open House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9 at 706 E. Fourth St. The Rev. Charles Strietelmeier will be signing copies of his book, "Singing Flames and Gargoyles: The Collected Poems and Songs." His writings cover both secular and religious subjects. Included in the book is a poem about his faithful dachshund companion, Longfellow. An exhibit on gasoline stations is continuing through the month of December, thanks to the discovery of glass negatives of early stations in Hobart. Call 942-0970.

Holiday Fest with Santa

Brightwood College in Hammond will host its second annual Holiday Fest with Santa from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 13 at the campus, 7833 Indianapolis Blvd. The event is free and open to the public, as the community is invited to join Brightwood College for family-friendly activities and holiday cheer, including photos with Santa and writing thank you notes for military troops in partnership with Operation Gratitude. The event will feature refreshments, a tacky sweater contest, crafts, giveaways and more. Attendees 18 and older can enter to win prizes such as Amazon gift cards.

Wag your Tail Wednesday

HAMMOND — The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority will once again hold Wag Your Tail Wednesdays in conjunction with the A Christmas Story Comes Home exhibit. From 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, well-behaved pets are invited to have their picture taken with Santa atop Santa’s Mountain. Cost is $6 a photo and portions of the proceeds will be donated to local pet rescues. In addition to Wag your Tail Wednesdays, Santa will be available for photos leading up to Christmas. Santa will visit the Indiana Welcome Center Saturdays and Sundays from Thanksgiving to Christmas from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Christmas concert

HAMMOND — The annual Bishop Noll Christmas concert will be performed at 6 p.m. Dec. 17 in the auditorium. The concert will feature the Bishop Noll choir followed by the Bishop Noll concert band. Santa's visit will allow the entire family to get a photo. The concert is free. Before the concert, the Bishop Noll band will host its annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the school cafeteria. This all-you-can-eat meal is $7 and proceeds benefit the BNI band program. Visit bishopnoll.org for information.

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Community Coordinator

Annette is Community Coordinator for The Times. She has been with the paper for two decades. A resident of Hobart, she graduated from Purdue University with degrees in English and German.