“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 9 and will run until December 31 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 “A Major Event” and Holiday Market that begins on December 7. Alternatively, you can head over to the market and pick up handmade and specialty gifts, hot cocoa or some gourmet food items. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the market open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Santa will be there as well from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. to take pictures with. There will also be a scavenger hunt, bingo games, cookie decorating and craft making. And of course, free train rides.
But wait, there’s more. Then there’s the “Oh Fuuuudge!” Relay Race on December 14 with two age categories, 4-7 and 8-12. Once again, the entry fee is non-perishable food items to be donated to the Food Bank of NWI. One parent and one child will have to remove a tire and carry the lug nuts on a hubcap through and obstacle course and then put them back on the tire to win. Hopefully without any cursing.
On Saturday, December 21, 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 November 20, 27, December 11 and 18 from 4-7 pm. 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.
Remember when Ralphie wrote the essay to get a Red Ryder BB Gun for class? Got a special gift you want from Santa this year? Then submit an entry to the Write a Theme Contest and win a prize. Entries should be 20 to 250 words long and have to be dropped off at the Welcome Center or mailed to 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond, IN 46323 by December 13.
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.