That’s one day down, and four more to go. On Wednesday night the City of Hammond officially open the gates to Wolf Lake Park for the first day of their weekend and a half festival - the Festival of the Lakes. The five day event brings together the Northwest Indiana community to come and enjoy a wide arrange of activities and concerts each night. To kick it off Alien Ant Farm, Hoobastank, and P.O.D. took the stage and festival goers enjoyed an evening full of music, carnival rides, and delicious food.
This is hardly the start for the Festival of the Lakes, but it might be the start of the festival becoming something huge. Hammond is familiar with a music festival being in August, with the August Fest that was started years before Festival of the Lakes, but each year the Festival of the Lakes continues to grow. For 2015 the festival has brought in bigger headliners than before (Boston and 2 Chainz are just two, for example), there’s a steady increase in more food vendors, and the carnival ride section of the Modern Midways always brings in more kids and their families than ever. All of this is very evident to the mayor of Hammond - Mayor Tom McDermott, Jr. Even so that he’s making huge predictions.
“I predict over 100,000 people this year will be at the Pavilion alone,” Mayor McDermott stated in a recent interview he did with Ideas in Motion Media CEO Chris Mahlmann. “Saturday’s going to be a big, big night but so is Friday. This is a pretty cool party we hold here in Hammond.”
LeAnne Munoz, Special Events Coordinator for the City of Hammond, said that even though the festival is growing there’s still potential for more people to attend Festival of the Lakes.
“I think what’s really important is that it’s only $25 dollars to park, and that’s per car - so you can literally split the fee 15 ways if that’s how many you can get in a vehicle,” Munoz stated. “After that attending is absolutely free. Bring a couple chairs and blankets if you’re on the grass and enjoy all that there is here. There’s a lot of new things were bringing to the table, and we want everyone to be able to experience that.”
There’s plenty of time to get out and see what the festival has to offer. Over the next four days there will be a 5k run/walk, an all-day kids day, a fishing derby, a road and bike show, golf outing, special person’s day, senior day and a polka fest. Each of the music nights are themed as well - there’s alternative night, classic rock, rap, country, and Latin night. That list might wear some people out, but it also gives plenty of out-of-towners to pick a night to experience something unique.
Though the drive to bring more out of town people in to experience the Festival of the Lakes is a huge goal for the city, there are still Hammond residents who attend year after year and are the heart of what the festival strives on. Jennifer Noogin, Betsy Gardner, and Tracy Gereg are all Hammond residents and have made the festival a summer highlight each year. All three said that the event is a great and special thing for Hammond to host, and they’re glad it’s here for them to enjoy.
“It’s really nice to have this. We’ve been coming for several years and it’s a great thing for the city to showcase,” Noogin explained. “We come for the music, like for tonight’s bands and Boston, but the improvements they’ve done here at Wolf Lake are fantastic and it’s always a nice night.”
As Wednesday night went on the sun slowly set, the bands switched on and off stage, the rides keep whirling and the food kept cooking, but it was clear that the Festival of the Lakes had a rocking kick off to their 2015 season. There are still plenty of opportunities to get down to Wolf Lake Park, and if Wednesday’s any example for the rest of the weekend there’s no reason not to make it your place to go on a beautiful July night.
To see more about Festival of the Lakes in detail head over to our Festival of the Lakes 2015 guide.