VALPARAISO | In November, Sunset Hill Farm County Park takes on a festive look.
Santa Claus waves to passers-by. Carolers stand ready to sing. Ice skaters pose and reindeer prance. These are just some examples of the light displays that illuminate the park grounds and have become a tradition in Porter County.
For more than a decade, people celebrate the beginning of the holiday season at Winter Lights Night, which is presented by The Times Media Co. this year.
"Winter Lights Night is something that the entire community looks forward to," Porter County Parks and Recreation Marketing and Events Coordinator Marie Foster said. "We work very hard to create an event that is fun for the whole family and gets people in the holiday spirit. Our focus is to make it the most fun, most affordable holiday festival in Northwest Indiana."
Winter Lights Night will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Sunset Hill Farm, 775 Meridian Road. The cost is $5 per car.
The centerpiece of Winter Lights Night is the unique light displays that are set up by the park maintenance staff every year. Several other activities will be offered as well.
This year the event will feature a fireworks show, the chance for kids to meet Santa, wagon rides, crafts and games, carolers and a student art show.
"We have put together a festival that features what visitors love every year, while adding some new elements as well," Foster said. "We are very excited about the student art show, for example, which we are offering for the first time. It will highlight the artwork of 20 different elementary schools and be a great way to recognize talented students from around the area."
Children will have the opportunity to visit Santa throughout the event, and families will also be able to participate in activities such as cookie decorating and face painting. Wagon rides will be given around the park throughout the event as well. The fireworks show will be the grand finale of the evening, starting about 6:30 p.m.
"We are very proud of this event, and are looking forward to a fun evening," Foster said. "We know people will have a great time."
The holiday light displays will still be available for people to enjoy after Winter Lights Night, with a free drive through beginning on Thanksgiving Day from 5 to 9 p.m. It will then run every Friday through Sunday, from 5 to 9 p.m. through New Year's Day.
For more information on this event, or any other questions related to Porter County Parks and Recreation, call (219) 465-3586 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.