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Crown Point wraps summer with Oktoberfest
Local Scene

Crown Point wraps summer with Oktoberfest

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The Claudettes

The Claudettes

The grand finale of the Free Summer Concert Season at Crown Point's Bulldog Park (183 S. West St.) happens this Saturday from 3-11 p.m. as three popular area bands take to the pavilion stage to help Mayor David Uran and the staff of his Special Events Department say hello to fall at the city's annual Oktoberfest.

Saturday's Oktoberfest begins with a chili cook-off at 3 p.m. with winners announced at 5 p.m. Assorted family fun contests like an adult apple pie eating contest, a kids applesauce eating contest and a bags competition will take place in the large, covered pavilion as the music is presented on stage.

Performing solo acoustic music from 4-5:15 p.m. will be singer/songwriter Chad Clifford of The Crawpuppies. Keith Jackson & Triple Dose bust out funky R&B tunes from 6-8 p.m.; and popular NWI party rock group NAWTY closes the night out from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Production for all live music courtesy of NWI's Sound Patrol. More: 219-662-3290.

The Claudettes Drop a Special Single

Chicago's Johnny Iguana, who recently generated ink in these pages for his debut solo album "Johnny Iguana's Chicago Spectacular," is back in the news with a special release. This time, it is by the rockin' piano man's Chicago-based cabaret-rock group, The Claudettes, whose fifth and latest album, "High Times in the Dark," was released in April 2020 via Forty Below Records.

Held back from that album was the beautiful, haunting "Different Drugs (Song for Bill Hicks)." It was omitted because band founder/pianist/songwriter Iguana and Forty Below Records president Eric Corne agreed the song deserved its own singular spotlight as a standalone release. It gets just that Friday on all digital platforms and a companion lyric video can be seen/heard at: or

"Bill Hicks was a fiercely brilliant comedian, a hero to many, and it just killed me to contemplate his last days: 31-years-old, given a fatal cancer diagnosis, then moving back in with his parents, who had to witness the loss of their child,"  Iguana said. Johnny's vision for the song, though, was as much touched by bliss and contentment as it was by tragedy. "I imagined Bill back in his old bedroom, with his posters on the wall, his guitar on the stand…all his old high-school stuff."

Iguana added the band captured "Different Drugs (Song for Bill Hicks)" on just their second take in the studio, working with Grammy winning producer Ted Hutt.


• The Midwest music community took another hit on Sept. 23, when longtime regional musician Tommy Biondo, 67, passed away peacefully from complications of heart failure. Mr. Biondo, of suburban Alsip, was a bass guitarist and vocalist who spent over 5 decades performing on the Chicagoland scene, and a prominent featured player at the South Side's annual SoPro Thanksgiving Blues Jams. Tommy B. was also a skilled songwriter, arranger and studio producer. My condolences to his family, friends, fellow music makers, and the many fans who enjoyed his music over the years. Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. on Oct. 1 at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home (4727 W 103rd St.) in Oak Lawn. Interment private.

• Rod Stewart tribute artist, Clifford Tartaglia, plays Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight at Finnegans Pub (1074 Joliet Road) in Dyer. The longtime faux Rod renders all the major hits of the British pop/rock icon, along with a few surprises. Local singer/songwriter Greg Ashby returns to doing weekly Wednesday night performances at Finnegans from 8-10 p.m. Oct. 7. Joining him that night is blues guitarist Ryan Frahm. More: 219-865-9896 or

• Acoustic music by Doug Reba is featured on Friday and good time covers by local rockers Cat Man Dog are featured on Saturday. Both performances are from 8-11 p.m. at Up Your Alley (1048 Indianapolis Blvd.) in Schererville. More: 219-440-7657 or

• The Barnyard Jams at County Line Orchard (200 S. County Line Road) in Hobart happen every weekend through Nov. 1 on the outside stage to allow for social distancing. Live music is featured from 2-5 p.m. with the dynamic duo of acoustic tunes, Chris & Lou, on Saturday, followed by The American Street Band on Sunday. More: or 219-947-4477.

• Leroy's features solo entertainer Jimmy White from 8 p.m.-midnight on Friday, followed by rock band Stealin' The Farm on Saturday. More: or 219-926-6211.

• Elements Wine Bar (23 Washington St.) in downtown Valparaiso features its weekly Thursday Open Mic Night this evening hosted by blues guitarist Jack Whittle. Friday's entertainment is The High Street Band from 7-10 p.m.; and frequently booked singer/songwriter Steve Ball returns Saturday to play acoustic from 7-10 p.m. More: 219-242-8708 or

•Congratulations to the winners of the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra's Hoosier Star 2020 competition. Five finalists in each of the two divisions -- "Adult" and "Youth" -- competed in the finals round on Sept. 12 at LaPorte Civic Auditorium. Taking first and second place in the Adult Division, respectively, were Alyse Flores of LaPorte and Alora Tribole of Chesterton. First and second place winners in the Youth Division were, respectively, Julia Larson of Chesterton and Raul Palma of LaPorte. More:

• This Friday afternoon finds NWI vocalist Mandalyn of the regional group NAWTY live in studio on 89.1FM-Lakeshore Public Radio's 1-3 p.m. program, "Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges." While sure to talk about her successful covers band, the focus of the program will be on Mandy's new original recording project and the CD release party. She will perform live in studio, in addition to debuting a couple of recorded tracks from the new EP for the first time on radio. Stream live in real time at

Wondering what your town's trick-or-treat hours are? Here's a list

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