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As the leaves begin to change, there’s fall fun for everyone at outdoor festivals and fairs held throughout the Region.


Harriet the Spy, Chicago Street Theatre, 154 W. Chicago St., Valparaiso. 219.464.1636. A favorite children’s book comes to life on stage to tell the story of an 11-year-old aspiring writer named Harriet M. Welsch, whose journal of mean observations about her peers falls into the wrong hands and mayhem ensues.


Rock ‘N Rail Music and Street Festival, Broad Street, downtown Griffith. 219.924.7500. A variety of food vendors, arts and crafts, street vendors, a family beer garden, non-stop live music, a kids’ zone and family entertainment take over downtown Griffith at this annual fest.


Lowell Labor Day Festival, American Legion Canteen Post 101, 108 1/2 E. Commercial Ave., Lowell. 219.696.6016, 219.746.3619, or 219.696.7774. Lowell celebrates with activities all weekend long, including a garage sale, an arts and crafts fair, a beer garden, tournaments, kids activities, a DJ, fireworks and more. The annual parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Monday.

SEPT. 2, 9, 16

Kids Entertainment Night, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Jedi’s Restaurant, 444 W. Ridge Road, Griffith. 219.923.9055. Jedi’s Restaurant hosts a kid-friendly night with characters and face painting, plus kids eat free.


Taste of Duneland, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thomas Park, Second and Broadway, Chesterton. 219.617.1742. Taste food from local eateries and nonprofit groups in the Duneland area, plus live music, a beer and wine garden, and bounce houses for kids.

SEPT. 3-4

Ship and Shores Blues Festival, Washington Park, 115 Lakeshore Drive, Michigan City. Two full days packed with live blues entertainment, craft beers, wines, kids activities and more.


Calumet City Labor Day Parade and Family Fest, 9 a.m. parade, noon-4 p.m. family fest, Memorial Park, 612 Wentworth Ave., Calumet City. 708.868.2530. Calumet City’s Labor Day tradition continues with the annual parade, followed by an all-new family fest.

SEPT. 10

Dunebrook’s Dragon Boat Races, 9 a.m. races begin, Stone Lake Beach, Grangemouth Road, LaPorte. 219.874.0007. At this fundraiser for Dunebrook and its programs, teams compete in an adrenaline-pumping Dragon Boat race, an ancient Chinese sport where 20-30 team members paddle in unison to the drummer’s beat in a long, narrow decorated boat. This all-day event also features child activities and food vendors.

SEPT. 10

Valparaiso Popcorn Festival, Central Park Plaza, downtown Valparaiso. 219.464.8332. Downtown Valparaiso transforms into a popcorn celebration with a parade, arts and crafts booths, food, a 5K, live music and, of course, popcorn.

SEPT. 16-OCT. 2

Into the Woods, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Memorial Opera House, 104 Indiana Ave., Valparaiso. 219.548.9137. The Brothers Grimm hit the stage with an epic fairytale about wishes, family and the choices we make. The South Shore Orchestra performs.

SEPT. 17

Bizarre Bazaar, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Harrison Park, Waltham St. & Hohman Ave., Hammond. 219.512.4298. Join the unexpected, outrageous and whimsically bizarre extravaganza that offers something for everyone.

SEPT. 17

Space Race GLOW 5K Run/2K Walk, 7 p.m., Challenger Learning Center, 2300 173rd St., Hammond. 219.989.3250. This out-of-this-world 5K run/2K walk boasts laser light shows and science experiments that glow. Proceeds benefit Challenger Learning Center.

SEPT. 17

Sunflower Fair, Michigan Avenue, downtown LaPorte. 219.362.3178. One of the largest area festivals features more than 100 craft and nonprofit vendors, food, entertainment, rides and more, plus a rib cook-off, 5K, car show and live entertainment.

SEPT. 17-18

Apples, Apples, Apples, 1-4 p.m., Chellberg Farm, 618 N. Mineral Springs Road, Porter. 219.395.1882. Families are invited to celebrate apples through music, crafts and farming demonstrations and try the old-fashioned apple cider press before enjoying a free sample.

SEPT. 23-25

Wanatah Scarecrow Festival, Wanatah. 219.733.2815. This annual fall festival features arts and crafts, rides for children, a parade, fun runs, music and variety acts, a car show and more.

SEPT. 24

Hooked on Art—Live Street Art Festival, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Thomas Centennial Park, 109 Broadway, Chesterton. 219.728.1638. This community-wide family event celebrates live street art in progress and features interactive family activities and live music.

SEPT. 30-OCT. 2

Westville Pumpkin Festival, Prairie Meadow Park, U.S. 421 and U.S. 2, Westville. 219.879.8280. This true Midwestern-style harvest celebration has food and craft booths, tractor pulls, a parade, a run/walk and live entertainment.