Popcorn Festival delights in downtown Valpo

PUBLISHED IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE SEPT 2, 2015

At the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival, many of the floats in the parade are made out of popcorn. (Valparaiso Popcorn Festival / Handout)
At the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival, many of the floats in the parade are made out of popcorn. (Valparaiso Popcorn Festival / Handout)

On Sept. 12, Valparaiso Events will be hosting its 37th annual Popcorn Festival in downtown Valparaiso.

With an average of 60,000 guests, the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival will feature over 250 arts and crafts vendors, more than 30 food vendors, and a lot of fun.

The Valparaiso Popcorn Festival is sponsored by ChicagoLand Popcorn, a local business that has over 250 popcorn flavors including strawberry cheesecake, key lime pie, Snickers, caramel sea salt, spicy taco, dill pickle and Oreo, to name a few.

Tina St. Aubin, executive director of Valparaiso Events, is excited for the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival. “It is a long-standing festival. We love Valpo and the community members. Visitors get a chance to see what a great community we have,” said St. Aubin.

The Valparaiso Popcorn Festival will begin at 7 a.m. when the booths opens. At 7:30 a.m., the Popcorn Panic Run and Walk will kick off, followed by the Lit’l Kernel Puff Race at 8:45 a.m.

At 10 a.m., the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival ChicagoLand Popcorn Parade will kick off.

“A good majority of our floats are made out of popcorn and there’s about 25,000 people who watch the parade,” said St. Aubin.

Musical acts at the Valparaiso Popcorn Fest include The Indigos, Max Allen Band, The Crawpuppies, and Poi Dog Pondering on the South Shore CVA Main Stage, located at the Porter Health Amphitheater at Central Park Plaza. On the Front Porch Music Stage, at the corner of Lincolnway and Michigan Street, guests can enjoy the jamming tunes of students who took a Garage Band 101 course at Front Porch Music, and local musicians.

The Valparaiso Popcorn Festival will draw crowds of nearly 60,000 people on Sept. 12. (Valparaiso Popcorn Festival / handout)
The Valparaiso Popcorn Festival will draw crowds of nearly 60,000 people on Sept. 12. (Valparaiso Popcorn Festival / handout)

The Valparaiso Popcorn Festival brings a lot to the community of northwest Indiana.

“We hope that is showcases Valparaiso: the businesses, the people, and everyone that makes up the community,” said St. Aubin.

At the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival, there will be plenty of food booths, partnered with a local nonprofit. Proceeds will help go toward a good cause.

The Valparaiso Kiwanis Club will be manning the beer garden booth this year. The Kiwanis Club will receive a portion of the beer garden proceeds and donate them to Riley Children’s Hospital.

Admission to the festival is free. Parking at the Porter County Administration Building Parking Garage costs $10 per vehicle. A shuttle from Hayes Leonard School lot and another at 400 N. Vale Park Road is available. A round-trip shuttle pass costs $4 per adult and $2 per child, with a maximum charge of $9 per family.

Beth Casey is a freelance writer.

Valparaiso Popcorn Festival

When: 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sept. 12

\Where: Washington Street and Indiana Avenue, Valparaiso

Price: Parking is $10 per vehicle, shuttles are $2-$4 per person

Details: 219-464-8332 orvalparaisoevents.com

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