HAMMOND—A sea of emerald greener than the Chicago river made it's way down Kennedy Avenue, hearkening a new annual tradition in Hammond.
On Saturday afternoon, the Hammond St. Patrick's Day Parade gathered scores of floats and leprechauns, big and small, who began their march at Orchard Drive and Kennedy Avenue and continued along Kennedy to 161st Street.
Beyond Ireland's mythical top-hat sporting creatures, other less traditional characters took the parade spotlight.
A hamburger, hot dog, ketchup bottle, fries, slice of bacon and bottle and can of Coke, accompanied by Irish flute music, was a hit among parade-goers.
Anastasia Bocanegra, co-owner of Schoop's Hamburgers in Hammond, said she had collected the plushy food and drink costumes over the years and now has a whole living Schoop's meal assembled. She said the group gets a lot of fun reactions and often people ask to take pictures with them.
“It's always so much fun,” Bocanegra said. “Most of the time when we see the community often it's, 'What can I get you?' But in events like these it's fun to see the community outside of serving and see everyone.”
Celebrating the little known National Panda Day, the Illiana Derby Dames celebrated their beloved mascot, “Panda Monium.” The group of green-clad roller derby players skated around their mascot, who sported a big plushy panda head and team shirt.
“We're really involved with [Hessville Commerce and Community Creative],” Kym Lozano, whose Derby Dame name is Karma Kazi, said. “We love it. We like to get our name out in the local community.”
The Hessville Commerce and Community Creative, or HC3, hosted the first St. Patrick's Day parade on March 17, 2018, adding to other area events such as the Live at the Ville summer festival and Hessville Zombie Bar Crawl.
The parade stretched down a packed strip of local businesses on Kennedy Avenue, lined with children gripping bags of candy and festively-dressed families. Motorbikes and four-wheelers rumbled as they drove in circles in the street accompanied by someone in a T-Rex costume and Hess Elementary School toted a giant red Radio Flyer float.
Leo Pineda, of Hammond, said he recently moved to Hammond with his wife and children from Chicago.
“This is our first time coming to this parade,” Pineda said. “I like that they have this; It brings a family-centered feel and gives us something fun to bring the kids to that's in the neighborhood.”
For Janet Josway, of Hessville, and her family, the parade has become a beloved new tradition.
“We welcome it,” Josway said. “I've been a Hammond resident all of my live and lived in Hessville for 36 years. I love to see new events. It's keeping us going and has brought a new sense of community into Hessville.”
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INDIANAPOLIS — The Bureau of Motor Vehicles has begun issuing Indiana driver's licenses and state identification cards with a third, non-specified gender option for Hoosiers who identify as neither male nor female.
MUNSTER — Three men have been charged in connection with an armed carjacking in Munster last week, the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office said Monday.
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A year before a 25-year-old father was charged in his infant daughter's death, he lost custody of that same child following allegations of abuse.
WESTVILLE — An alleged drug smuggling attempt between a sister and brother at Westville Correctional Facility was thwarted by authorities, police said.
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HOBART — A back-and-forth between Hobart police and Family Express has been ironed out following a blip in an armed robbery investigation.
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Indiana ranked third worst nationally in the release of toxic chemicals per square mile in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available, and the state's steel industry was a big part of the reason why.
VALPARAISO — The two bodies found inside a burned-out car have been confirmed as the two missing Lake County teens believed to have been murdered by Connor Kerner, of Valparaiso, according to county police.
HAMMOND — A Hammond man told police he wanted to prove he's "not gay" when he grabbed a woman's buttocks at a local Family Dollar store on March 2, newly filed court records allege.
GARY — A 55-year-old has been identified as the man found shot to death Monday in the city's Tolleston neighborhood, officials said.
MICHIGAN CITY — A man who was arrested following an armed robbery at SAVE Gas Station is being investigated by police, who believe he may be linked to a string of armed robberies in the area.
CROWN POINT — When a man accused of a double murder wants his milk, and doesn’t get it, expect trouble.
CROWN POINT—A Hammond woman has allegedly threatened to burn her ex-boyfriend alive and kill a pregnant woman, court documents say.
GARY — Investigators have determined the origin of the fire that nearly took the life of a child and killed a 68-year-old man.
VALPARAISO — Three local election officials and the bad blood among them are to blame for the bulk of last fall's Election Day problems and delayed vote count, according to a scathing report by the Indiana secretary of state's office.
MICHIGAN CITY — The owner of Zorn Brew Works in Michigan City, a 19th-century brewery revived in 2015 as a modern craft brewery 77 years after originally closing its doors, has bought back another historic property.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Senate could vote as soon as next week to make 2021 the year Indiana's state superintendent of public instruction is chosen by the governor instead of elected by Hoosier voters.
The death of former Sen. Birch Bayh touched off an outpouring of fond remembrances from the Region’s political leaders, who were universal in their admiration for the legendary Indiana lawmaker.
EAST CHICAGO — A Lake Station man was wounded late Wednesday when more than 10 gunshots were fired at him as he exited his vehicle in the city's Harbor section, police said.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana House voted 69-25 Thursday to permit nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists to deny women medical care based on an ethical, moral or religious objection to abortion.
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Rianne Murphy won boys and girls championships at the Indiana State Wrestling Association Folkstyle State Finals, and her career wouldn't be possible without Sen. Birch Bayh's dedication to women's rights and Title IX.
INDIANAPOLIS — Northwest Indiana library leaders, along with their colleagues throughout the state, appear to have closed the book on a legislative proposal they believe could have unfairly shifted library tax revenue to other local government units.
PORTAGE — William Fekete has been appointed to fill the vacancy on the City Council created with the recent resignation of fellow Republican John Cannon, who was sworn in earlier this month as mayor.
LOWELL — Thursday's storm damage here was caused by a weak tornado, the National Weather Service confirmed Friday.
CROWN POINT — A Gary man faces a murder charge in the high-profile disappearance of an Illinois woman who was reported missing late last month.
The South Shore Line's West Lake Corridor project passed a major milestone Friday when the Federal Transit Administration announced a project rating that moves it a step closer to receiving as much as $440 million in federal funding.