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072312FESTIVAL Festival of the Lakes

Summer festivals provide fun for the whole family.

Each summer, Northwest Indiana comes to life with fairs and festivals that guarantee fun for all ages. From music festivals and county fairs to the mega-popular celebration of the Region's favorite dumpling, there's plenty of activities everyone in the family will enjoy.

THROUGH SEPT 21 Little Diggers, 11am, Bellaboo's Play and Discovery Center at Three Rivers County Park, 2800 Colorado St, Lake Station. 219.963.2070. mybellaboos.com. Little ones can plant, shower, and love Bellaboo's flower and vegetable garden and participate in a day of garden songs, worm digs and eco-friendly information.

THROUGH OCT 25 Chesterton's European Market, Broadway & 3rd St, Chesterton. 219.926.5513. chestertonseuropeanmarket.com. This European Market offers a quality shopping experience, live entertainment and a festive community environment. The artists, chefs, merchants and farmers come from Indiana, Michigan and Illinois to offer visitors an extraordinary collection of products and services.

JUL 3-6 Cedar Lake Summerfest, 2-11:30pm Thu, 10am-11:30pm Fri, 7am-11:30pm Sat, 7am-9pm Sun, Cedar Lake Town Complex, 7408 Constitution Ave, Cedar Lake. 219.794.4122. cedarlakesummerfest.com. Activities, food and fun await visitors to this 33rd annual holiday celebration featuring live entertainment, fireworks, midway games, amusement rides, a bingo tent, a beer garden, a car show, crafts and more.

JUL 4 Family 4th Fest, 7am-11pm, Hawthorne Park, 500 Ackerman Dr, Porter. 219.617.1742. dunebig.com. This holiday festival offers fun for the whole family with a pancake breakfast a parade, a turtle derby, a patriotic poster contest, kids' games, a brick toss competition, kiddie rides, bounce houses, Leroy's Hot Stuff Beer Garden, live music, karaoke and fireworks at dusk.

JUL 6 Lightning Bug Music Festival, 1pm, Sunset Hill Farm County Park, 775 Meridian Rd, Valparaiso. lightningbugmusicfestival.org. Rolling Stonebaker hosts this first-time music festival to raise summer camp funds for the Dunes Learning Center. The family-friendly event features national and local acts including The Wood Brothers, Buckwheat Zydeco, Special Consensus and Chester Brown. Additional activities include classic camp activities for kids and parents, a food truck rally showcasing the region's top mobile food outfits.

JUL 6-12 LaPorte County Fair, LaPorte County Fairgrounds, 2581 W State Rd 2, LaPorte. 219.362.2647. laportecountyfair.org. This yearly fair features horse racing, stage shows, carnival attractions and Pioneer Land, a recent addition to the grounds.

JUL 12 Bark in the Park, 9am-3pm, Thomas Centennial Park, 2nd & Broadway, Chesterton. 219.617.1742. dunebig.com. Pooches and dog lovers alike will enjoy this pet-friendly day in the park featuring more than 35 booths—including local shelters, regional pet rescues, specialized pet services and pet merchandise and treats. Activities include a 5K run/one-mile stroll, training and obedience demonstrations and more.

JUL 12 Planetarium Showing, 2-6:15pm, Challenger Learning Center, Purdue University Campus, 2300 173rd St, Hammond. 219.989.3250. clcnwi.com. The Challenger Learning Center presents two showings of South Shore Skies and Dawn of the Space Age, followed by Laser Spirit, a laser light show set to a mix of Patriotic songs—including hits from John Williams, Madonna, the Beatles and more.

JUL 16-20 Festival of the Lakes, Wolf Lake Memorial Park, 2324 Calumet Ave, Hammond. 219.853.6378. festival.gohammond.com. Five nights of fun await with musical performances by Big & Rich, Sublime featuring Rome, and the Under the Sun Tour featuring Sugar Ray, Blues Traveler and Uncle Kracker. The festival also includes a festival with rides, live entertainment, the Polka Party, a fishing derby, vendors, games and more.

JUL 17-26 Porter County Fair, noon-close, Porter County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, 217 E Division Rd, Valparaiso. 219.462.0321. portercountyfair.com. This annual fair promises a great combination of fun rides, delicious food, 4-H exhibits and activities, and entertainment including the demolition derby, bull riding and musical performances by Hunter Hayes, Willie Robertson and Justin Moore.

JUL 25-27 Pierogi Fest, 119th St, Whiting. 219.659.0292. pierogifest.net. Drawing almost 200,000 visitors each year, this festival both celebrates and pokes a little fun at Whiting's heritage. Tons of food vendors line the street and attendees can enjoy the Pierogi Parade, games, a beer garden, musical entertainment and fun for all ages.

JUL 31-AUG 9 The Wizard of Oz, 7pm, Main Square Gazebo, 3001 Ridge Rd, Highland. facebook.com/highlandparks. This family-favorite classic is presented by the HPRD Performing Arts Group. Attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs or blankets and bug spray. The concession stand will be open.

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