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Let the fun begin: Festival of the Lakes brings on the shows, food and rides

Let the fun begin: Festival of the Lakes brings on the shows, food and rides

Every year Region fest fans eagerly look forward to Festival of the Lakes, which always features lauded entertainment, pounds of diverse culinary offerings and plenty of rides, attractions and events for all ages.

This season, Festival of the Lakes runs July 13-18 and every night of the event, guests will be treated to entertainment from some of the biggest musical names touring the country this year. The fest takes place at Hammond's Wolf Lake Memorial Park.

Slow motion of the Hard Rock Casino guitar smash

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said people have been looking forward to the fest for all of its activities including the Big name entertainment scheduled to perform. He said Festival of the Lakes has a reputation for bringing known and high quality music acts to the Region and this year is no different. Add to that the fact that most people haven't been to a live show in over a year and people are even more eager to attend.

"I go to concerts a lot. And I haven't been to a concert since the pandemic started," McDermott said.

McDermott added that they've already had record sales for advance packages for the shows. He said there  been more than $500,000 in VIP presales for concert packages so far. 

On the music agenda this year, fans will find concerts by Old Dominion on July 13; Nelly/Busta Rhymes on July 14; Limp Bizkit on July 15; REO Speedwagon on July 16; Sammy Hagar and The Circle on July 17; and Los Tucanes de Tijuana on July 18.

McDermott said many of the acts performing this year were scheduled to be at the fest last year but due to the pandemic, all was put on hold. Each year's fest is planned well ahead of time.

"We start planning the next year's fest the day after the festival," the mayor said with a laugh.

Safety, he added, is always in the forefront of the event.

"Safety of the people is of utmost priority during the fest," McDermott said, adding there'll be a large police presence on the grounds of the event.

In addition to the food vendors, carnival rides and other special events, McDermott said a new feature added this year is a gospel event titled "Morning Praise on the Lake."

"There'll be breakfast and gospel singers," he said, adding admission is only $5.

McDermott said he saw how much people enjoyed gospel music when he was campaigning for Congress a few years ago and visited churches throughout the Region where gospel music played a big part.

Join Tristan DeFord, Jami Rieck, and Nancy Zakutanksky on a shift working for Superior Ambulance in Merrillville.

"I went to churches in East Chicago, Hammond and Gary and the quality of the gospel performances at the churches made a big impression on me," he said.

Another change for Festival of the Lakes this year is that the event has an additional day, starting on Tuesday rather than Wednesday.

For more details on the festival and for information on tickets, visit


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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.

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