Instead of shopping on Black Friday, some in the Region are opting to take part in physical activity.

“Setting aside a few hours this Black Friday is combining my two favorite things: nature and my family. I am excited to help ingrain family togetherness as a new Thanksgiving tradition to those young minds," said Nathanael Pilla, project coordinator for Save the Dunes.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is hosting a 3.5 mile hike from 1 and 3 p.m. Nov. 24 at West Beach, 376 N. County Line Road in Portage. The hike is co-sponsored by Save the Dunes and will be led by regional experts in fields such as birding, botany, insects, geology and ecology.

After the hike, people are welcome to join Save the Dunes for an after-hike event at a local restaurant to celebrate the outdoors. Details will be available at the hike or at

According to a news release, this hike is inspired by REI’s #OtpOutside movement, in which last year 1.4 million people and 170 organizations were involved in outdoor activities on Black Friday. If you are going to share this event or your story on social media, use the hash tag #OptOutside.

“From my childhood, Thanksgiving meant family; time spent together. It saddens me to imagine my son's generation thinking back to this holiday season, and instead of having those family memories of game nights and stories, having memories of coupon cutting and waking up to parents busy with shopping,” Pilla said.

Operation Glow Run, a 5K or 1 mile run, is a another physical, family-friendly event that will occur on Black Friday. The run will be held at the Lake County Fairgrounds to benefit Toys for Tots. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. Prior to the run, which begins at 7 p.m., there will be music and games for participants. Anyone who donates a new toy to Toys for Tots will get additional glow swag in his or her welcome bag. Those interested can register at

The Midwest Training and Ice Center will have a Black Friday Hockey Camp from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. for ages 14 and younger and a Black Friday Tumbling camp for ages 6 and older from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The center also will have open skate from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Visit for more information.

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