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CROWN POINT  — It's a few short days away from one of Crown Point’s biggest events of the year. 

Here’s all you need to know to prepare for the 12th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and festivities.

What to do

The holiday weekend will be jam-packed with events, starting with the Leprechaun 5K Run/Walk from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Crown Brewing, 211 S. East St.

The sold-out race, hosted by Crown Brewing, will embark from the brewery at 9 a.m. with registration beginning at 8 a.m. It costs $25 to participate and the entry fee includes a breakfast buffet, collectible pint glass and a glass of beer or pop.

Five dollars of every ticket sale will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The brewpub donated $900 last year to the nonprofit organization, which helps raise funds to help find cures for childhood cancer. This year’s goal is to raise $1,000.

The city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations kick off Sunday with the corned beef and cabbage dinner from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Crown Point Fire Station, at 124 N. East St.

The dinner includes corned beef, cabbage, carrots, roasted red potatoes, bread and butter, dessert and drinks. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $6.50 for kids. A $4 kids hot dog meal also is available.

Those interested in pre-purchasing a dinner can call the Crown Point Special Events office at 219-662-3290.

“There’s a good turnout every year,” said Diana Bosse, special events director for Crown Point. “We’ve never run out of food, so if people don’t want to worry about calling ahead, they don’t have to. We will have plenty.”

St. Patrick’s Day festivities will begin downtown prior to the parade’s start at dusk Sunday.

Food and novelty vendors will be selling concessions, parade novelties, glow sticks and Irish-themed items beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday on the south side of Crown Point's square on Joliet Street between Main and Court streets.

The Hometown Happenings’ St. Pat’s Pre-Parade One Miler will start at 6:45 p.m., before the parade, with a sign-in at 6 p.m.

The noncompetitive run/walk event will take place along the parade route, starting at First United Methodist Hall at 352 S. Main St. Participants are encouraged to dress in their best Irish gear as prizes will be awarded for Best Costume/Most Spirit, Top Overall Male and Female and Top 3 in each age group.

It costs $20 for adults, $15 for kids for those who register and $25 for all ages who register on race day. Those interested can sign up here.

Proceeds of the One Miler race go to support First United Methodist’s Buddy Bags, a program that provides weekend backpacks of food for local kids on the Federal lunch program.

Crown Point’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade officially will kick off at dusk, roughly about 7 p.m. Sunday, Bosse said.  The announcement of the downtown business window decorating winners and performances by the Lake County Pipes and Drums and the Indiana Ballet Theatre start at 6:15 p.m.

The parade steps off no matter the weather on South Main Street, proceeding north on Main to the downtown square. The route continues around the square and ends on Walnut Street.

"This is just another great attraction for Crown Point to really showcase our community, get everyone out of the house and visitors out to Crown Point to see what's going on,” Mayor David Uran said during his recent Tuesday open forum session. "We have a lot of festivities going on. We use St. Patrick's Day to ... really launch our activities with a really fun, free family event." 

Who’s in the parade

The only nighttime St. Patrick's Day Parade in Northwest Indiana will feature a variety of brightly illuminated floats, emergency vehicles and the Lake County Pipes and Drums with Uran leading as grand marshal along with the junior grand marshal Hannah Flewelling, who won this year’s parade logo contest.

Flewelling, along with 30 guests, will ride on ride on Molley the Trolley during the parade. The junior grand marshal, along with second-place contest winner Zofia Bielawski and third-place winner Cecilia Chenore, will act as parade judges and receive VIP tickets for special seating to view the spectacle.

Each of the 32 floats participating in Sunday’s parade will represent an Irish county.

“We will have a large variety of parade participants this year ranging from civic to local businesses to dance groups and nonprofits. Some will be big floats and some groups will be made up of walkers,” Bosse said. “All of the floats will be decorated with a minimum of 500 lights.”

The floats will be participating in a competition of their own during the parade as judges will vote on Best Lighting, Celtic Spirit and Best of Show. Winners will be recognized at the April 1 City Council meeting.

Uran, who does not have the responsibility of judging, said the parade will be short, but full of energy. 

"All 32 floats in the parade really make it a success and a charm of the city," he said.

Where to park

Expect traffic to be heavy through Crown Point on Sunday.  

The downtown square and Joliet Street between Court and Main Streets will be closed starting at 11 a.m. to allow vendors to set up. The downtown square will remain closed after the parade ends until midnight.

Access to Main Street from U.S. 231 will be closed at 2 p.m. South Main Street from Wells to Walnut Streets will be closed from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Barricades will be set up with the Crown Point Police Department and City Public Works Department monitoring downtown throughout the day.

A full list of road closures and no parking areas can be found here.

All municipal lots, which are clearly marked with new signage, are available for free parking. Schools, including Colonel John Wheeler Middle School and St. Mary Catholic Community School, also will have lots open.

Those looking for a good seat to view the parade are advised to get downtown to find a spot about 6 p.m. at the latest, Bosse said.

“We encourage everyone to get to the square early and embrace the whole downtown atmosphere,” she said.

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Allie covers South Lake County municipal government, development and breaking news for The Times. She comes to the Region from Lebanon, Indiana. She is a proud Ball State University graduate.