When many people think of hometown bazaars, a wacky hat contest and an Elvis impersonator are usually not the first thing to come to mind.
But to Karen Maravilla, president of the Downtown Hammond Council, these are par for the course when it comes to her organization's yearly Bizarre Bazaar.
"We wanted to come up with something unique, not everything that you see at every same event that you go to," she said. "We wanted to make something more lighthearted, fun and whimsical."
Running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Hammond's Harrison Park and along Hohman Avenue, Bizarre Bazzar has been a tradition for both merchants and festival-goers in and beyond Hammond for seven years now.
Along with dozens of arts and crafts vendors showcasing and selling a wide variety of items and more than a dozen food vendors, Hammond's annual "Bizzare" event gives attendees opportunities to get in on the action and sell a myriad of items in their "Stuff–a–Palooza" yard sale.
Hammond's "Bizzare" is also hosting bean bag, Scrabble and chess tournaments, a wacky hat contest, "Guitar Hero" competition, a 5K run and walk, pie baking contest, pony rides, and a custom car and bike show to appease bazaar attendees of all ages and interests. Elvis impersonator Bob Drobac, who performed at past Hammond bazaars, is slated to perform this year as well.
"It's family fun," Maravilla said. "You can't go wrong. We try to make it where there's something for every member of the family to participate in."
To Maravilla bringing the city's bazaar to Harrison Park has proven to be a success.
"This is in a big park and there's a lot of things going on, and there's a lot of room and it's comfortable," she said. "It's a great crowd. It's a lot of people but without it being so crowded to where you can't relax and have a good time."