As the temperatures cool down, the events heat up in Northwest Indiana with family-friendly performances, holiday happenings and a plethora of activities that encourage family togetherness.


Open Skate, hours vary, Midwest Training and Ice Center, 10600 White Oak Ave., Dyer. 219.558.8811. NWI’s largest state-of- the-art training facility offers open skate sessions at its Olympic-size ice arena.

NOV. 4-6, 11-24, 17-20

Into the Woods, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, 4th Street Theater, 125 N. Fourth St., Chesterton. 219.926.7875. The Brothers Grimm hit the stage with an epic fairytale about wishes, family and the choices we make.

NOV. 5

Pancake Breakfast, 8 a.m.-noon, St. James, 9640 Kennedy Ave., Highland. 219.513.8911. This all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast is hosted by Humane Society Calumet Area.

NOV. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20

Beauty and the Beast, 8:15 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Sunday, St. John The Baptist Church Auditorium, 1849 Lincoln Ave., Whiting. 219.473.7555. A delight for all ages, this musical is based on 1994 Broadway production of the classical Disney tale.

NOV. 12-DEC. 31

‘A Christmas Story’ Comes Home, Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond. 219.989.7979. Six animatronic window displays from Macy’s Department Store in New York feature scenes from the beloved movie, plus a variety of events and activities that pay homage to this holiday classic.

NOV. 17-DEC. 18

Annie Warbucks, Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster. 219.836.3255. All the ingredients that made the classic “Annie” so successful return in its sequel, with an added old-fashioned romance thrown in for good measure.

NOV. 18-DEC. 18

A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail, Chicago Street Theatre, 154 W. Chicago St., Valparaiso. 219.464.1636. Full of enchanting songs and beloved characters, children of all ages will enjoy this holiday treat as the Hundred-Acre Wood celebrates the holiday.

NOV. 19

Family Nature Walk, 9:30 a.m., Gibson Woods Nature Preserve, 6201 Parrish Ave., Hammond. 219.769.7275. Families can take a naturalist-led walk along the trails to explore the beauty of the native trees, grasses and other plants on display in array of diverse colors and textures at this time of year.

NOV. 19

Holiday Kick-off Celebration—A Tribute to Jean Shepherd! 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sibley Boulevard and Harrison Park, Hammond. Holiday fun awaits with a visit with Santa and elves, kids’ activities, contests and more at this annual festive event.

NOV. 24 2016

Valparaiso Turkey Trot, 8 a.m. 10K start; 8:10 a.m. 5K start, 2727 N. Campbell St., Valparaiso. Porter-Starke Services hosts this annual 10K run and 5K walk/run, a Thanksgiving tradition that’s fun for all ages.

NOV. 24

Pumpkin Plod Race, 9 a.m., Lincoln Center, 2450 Lincoln St., Highland. 219.838.0114. Traditionally held on Thanksgiving Day, participants can start their holiday off with a 10K run or 5K walk. Traditional pumpkin pies awarded to top three runners in each age category.

NOV. 25-27

New Buffalo Holiday Celebration, New Buffalo, Michigan. 888.660.6222. The holiday season kicks off with shopping, Santa, a parade, tree lighting, caroling, family activities and more.

NOV. 25-DEC. 17

Christmas in the Park and Festival of Lights, 4-7 p.m., Prairie West Park, 9359 W. Oakridge Drive, St. John. 219.365.6236. Visitors can marvel at the decorated trees sponsored by local merchants, clubs, churches and neighbors along the park paths. Special activities are planned each Saturday.

NOV. 26

Crown Point Santa Parade and Winter Market, 10 a.m., downtown Crown Point. 219.663.0660 or 219.662.3290. Santa marches to his perch at the Courthouse where he and Mrs. Claus will meet with families. A variety of holiday vendors, as well as local businesses, will offer holiday shopping options.

NOV. 26

Hometown Holiday Celebration & Twilight Christmas Parade, Thomas Centennial Park, 220 Broadway, Chesterton. 219.926.5513. Chesterton begins the holiday season with this celebration featuring a parade, shopping, carriage rides and more.

NOV. 26

LaPorte Santa Parade and Kris Kringle Blitz, 11:15 a.m. run; noon-3 p.m. parade and photos, Lincolnway, downtown LaPorte. 219.362.3178. A one-mile costumed fun run begins this annual holiday parade, highlighted by the appearance of Santa.

NOV. 26

Santa’s March and Tree Lighting Ceremony, 4:30 p.m., Main Square Park, 3001 Ridge Road, Highland. 219.838.0114. The parade with Santa marches through downtown Highland, ending at the park. The tree lighting ceremony follows and Santa will have treat bags for the boys and girls.

NOV. 26-DEC. 31

Winter Lights Night, 5-9 p.m., Sunset Hill Farm, 775 Meridian Road, Valparaiso. 219.465.3586. This drive-through lights show showcases many custom-made displays. The display is free and open to the public.