“A Christmas Story” came out in movie theaters in 1983. Since then it has been a staple of American Christmas tradition and is almost as iconic as the Coca-Cola Santa Claus. All of us have a memory from when we watched it as children or when we introduced it to our own children. So many of the scenes are classic and still hilarious even 40 years later. What most don’t know, is that the film is based upon a book written by Jean Shepherd. And that the book was based upon his childhood in Hammond.
To celebrate this fact, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, in conjunction with Warner Bros. Consumer Products have, for the last few years, opened a comprehensive exhibit celebrating this timeless movie. The exhibit will open on November 11 and will run until December 30 at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.
The exhibit features seven animated scenes from the movie; Higbee’s Department Store Window, Flick’s Tongue and the Triple Dog Dare, It’s a Major Award, Santa’s Mountain at Higbee’s, the Bumpus Hounds, a Hero’s Dream and a new animated scene this year, the Parker Living Room. The Parker Living Room will be at Cabela’s at 7700 Cabela Drive in Hammond.
In addition to this, there will be several events going on this season starting with photos with Santa. Between November 24 and December 23, children of all ages will have the chance to tell Santa all their Christmas wishes while on top of a replica of Santa's Mountain, which was featured in the movie. Once the photo is taken, kids have the chance to slide down the big red slide. Appointments with Santa on Santa's Mountain are $10 each and include one printed photo. Additional photos can be purchased for $6 when you make your appointment online or during your visit.
Additionally, Santa will make his way to the Indiana Welcome Center on December 7 and December 12 for two very special events. On December 7 from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. is the Holiday's for Heroes event for only first responders, active and retired military and their families. Families can explore the exhibit, visit with Santa, and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. Then, on December 12, Santa returns for the All is Calm event designed for those with autism and other sensory needs. The “A Christmas Story” Comes Home, will also be sensory-friendly and accessible. Times can be scheduled with Santa from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
On Saturday, December 16 and 17, there will be a “Mommy’s Little Piggy” Mashed Potato Eating Contest for four age groups: 4-7, 8-12, 13-17, and 18+. This is to pay tribute to the scene where Mrs. Parker tricks little Randy into eating all his food by showing her “how the piggies eat”. Winners from each age group will be awarded prizes. Make sure to bring canned goods as an entry fee, as these will be donated to the Food Bank of NWI.
Wag Your Tail Wednesdays are a chance for you to get your pet’s picture taken with Santa on his mountain. Bring your pet to see Santa on Wednesdays between November 29 - December 13 from 4-7 p.m. The photos are only $6 and a portion of this is donated to local pet rescues. You can even bring donations for the local pet rescues and Santa’s helpers will be happy to drop them off.
As you can see, there is no shortage of things to see and do this Christmas season at the Welcome Center in Hammond. With so many things going on this holiday season, this one is definitely a Major Event not to be missed. If you do, you may end up using the “the-queen-mother-of-all-dirty-words” yourself. Flick would be proud.