If you are looking for a special place to host an event, you may want to consider the unique setting of the La Porte Civic Auditorium. Built in 1930, the historic structure was presented as a gift to the City of La Porte from local businessman and philanthropist Maurice Fox in honor of his parents.
“The Civic Auditorium holds a special place in the heart of many La Porte residents,” said Brett Binversie, director of La Porte Civic Auditorium and City Events. “The facility was donated by the Fox family to the City in 1930 and was built by the local and still active Larson-Danielson Company.”
When the facility first opened in 1930, it was one of the premier facilities in the Midwest with more than 1 million people coming through its doors during its first decade. Through the years, the Civic has hosted boxing matches, featured entertainers such as Bob Hope, and musical artists including Kenny Rogers, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Clint Black and others. With close proximity to Chicago and the Rumely Historic Apartments within walking distance, the Civic Auditorium draws visitors from across the Midwest.
“The ability of the Civic to be transformed to accommodate any theme is one of its unique qualities,” Binversie said. “We have hosted galas, proms, health clinics, concerts, circuses, weddings, baby showers, birthday parties and quinceañeras. We also have assisted during times of need such as providing space for COVID testing and blood drives and for community fundraisers, including food collections and back-to-school giveaways.”
A two-story facility, the main floor gymnasium boasts 45-foot-high ceilings, a formal stage and more than 7,600 square feet of space that features a majestic atmosphere for weddings, dances, stage productions and more. An additional 10,500 square feet on the lower level offers individual meeting rooms and banquet space for smaller, more intimate occasions.
“The Civic is the ultimate blank canvas,” Binversie said. “We can host high end fundraisers, basketball tourneys, conferences, markets, concerts, comedians and so much more. With a little imagination and work, anything is possible here. I am proud of the service we offer to each and every guest/customer, and we do our best to make each event special and a success.”
For many, a La Porte High School prom is one of the first times that they attend an event at the Civic. For others, their families have had multiple generations host a wedding reception at the historic facility.
“For me, the most memorable event would be the 2022 National Interscholastic Basketball Conference and seeing the Civic Auditorium on national TV (ESPN 2),” Binversie said. “The tournament was televised across the country to 82 million homes. Then, afterwards, seeing the comments about this ‘basketball palace’ on Twitter from national personalities such as Doug Gottlieb and other sports reporters; I’ll never forget it.”
The popular venue is often booked for events up to 18 months prior to an event date.
“For large events, such as weddings and fundraisers, we recommend planners contact us 12 months prior to the occasion,” Binversie said. “The best resource is our online calendar at laportecivicauditorium.com. Over the past few years, however, the Civic calendar has been filling quicker, and we often are booked out at least six months up to a year in advance.”
It is important to note that from June 11 to August 25, 2023, dates are not available at the Civic due to upcoming renovations.
“We will be replacing all of our balcony seating, which is currently original to the building from 1929, with updated seating which will be wider, padded and have cup holders as well. We are trying to enhance the guest experience at the facility,” Binversie said. “Completion of the seat renovations will also give us an opportunity to widen the aisles, add handrails and lighting, and become more ADA compliant in the balcony area.”
“In addition, we will be removing our boilers from 1967 and upgrading our heating process to a more efficient and cost-effective system,” Binversie said. “We also will be adding air conditioning to the main level in the auditorium, enhancing comfort year-round in the facility.”
While the Civic does not currently offer in-house food catering service, they are happy to recommend several caterers in the area who are experienced in working events at the facility. The venue does have a liquor license and offers bar catering service. There is a full kitchen with dishwasher available for rent as well as rental service for flatware, plates, etc.
To reserve a date for an upcoming event, a security deposit is required equal to half the rental price for the facility/room.
La Porte Civic Auditorium is located at 1001 Ridge Street, La Porte, IN. For sponsorship opportunities, booking and more information, visit www.laportecivicauditorium.com or call 219-362-2325.