‘It is a clas­sic ... ’

‘A Christ­mas Story’ ex­hibit ‘comes home’ to In­di­ana Wel­come Cen­ter

Daily Southtown - - WEEKEND - By An­nie Alle­man Post-Tri­bune

If you’re look­ing for that per­fect photo op for your holiday cards, look no fur­ther than the In­di­ana Wel­come Cen­ter in Ham­mond.

That’s where you will find the “‘A Christ­mas Story’ Comes Home” ex­hibit, which con­sists of six an­i­ma­tronic win­dow dis­plays from Macy’s Depart­ment Store in New York fea­tur­ing clas­sic scenes from the movie “A Christ­mas Story.” The win­dow dis­plays de­pict iconic scenes from the movie.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there will be a variety of events and ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the sea­son to cel­e­brate the movie. The dis­play is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 10 to Dec. 31. They close at 3 p.m. Christ­mas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and are closed on Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas Day. Ad­di­tion­ally, they’re open un­til 6 p.m. week­ends Nov. 23-Dec. 23.

The 1983 film “A Christ­mas Story” was writ­ten by Jean Shep­herd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark and was based on Shep­herd’s 1966 book, “In God We Trust, All Oth­ers Pay Cash.” Shep­herd nar­rated the movie, was set in the fic­tional town of Hohman, In­di­ana, a dis­guise for Shep­herd’s home­town of Ham­mond. Hohman is a street in down­town Ham­mond.

Erika Dahl, di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the South Shore Con­ven­tion and Vis­i­tors Author­ity, said this is the 11th year of the ex­hibit.

New this year is a spe­cial needs day on Dec. 7. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m., Santa will come down from his moun­tain and pro­vide a low-sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence for chil­dren with spe­cial needs to visit him, she said.

There will be a holiday mar­ket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 1 in con­junc­tion with the big kick­off event, aptly named A Ma­jor Event. It’s the most pop­u­lar event of the sea­son, she said.

“There’s goody bags, a scav­enger hunt, Flick bingo, train rides, pho­tos with Santa, crafts and a holiday mar­ket for the adults,” Dahl said. “Peo­ple are ex­cited for the hol­i­days to of­fi­cially start. We show the movie as well in our theater at 2 and 4 p.m.”

The holiday mar­ket also runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 2.

Other events in­clude Wag Your Tail Wed­nes­days, where well-be­haved pets can get their pho­tos taken with Santa. Part of the pro­ceeds are do­nated to a lo­cal res­cue, she said. Wag Your Tail Wed­nes­days are from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 21 and 28 and Dec. 12 and 19.

Holiday For Heroes from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 6 is a spe­cial event for fam­i­lies of mil­i­tary, fire, po­lice and emer­gency per­son­nel, she said.

The Oh Fu­u­udge! Re­lay Race is at 10 a.m. Dec. 8.

“The par­ent takes lug nuts off a car tire, put them in a hub­cap and the child has to take it through an ob­sta­cle course and not drop the lug nuts,” she said. “They come back around the par­ent has to put the tire back on with those said lug nuts.”

There will be two age groups: 4-7 and 8-12. En­try fee is a do­na­tion of canned or non-per­ish­able food for the North­west In­di­ana Food Bank. Ad­vance reg­is­tra­tion can be done

on­line, she said.

The Mommy’s Lit­tle Piggy mashed po­tato eat­ing con­test is at 10 a.m. Dec. 15. Age cat­e­gories are 4-7, 8-12, 13-17 and 18 and over. En­try fee is also a food do­na­tion. Kids must eat one plate in fastest time to win; adults

must eat the most plates of mashed pota­toes to win.

“It's ac­tu­ally pretty pop­u­lar,” she said. “It's a fun event. Lots of cheer­ing go­ing on. They can't use their hands to eat the mashed pota­toes.”

And of course, kids can get their pho­tos taken with Santa week­ends Thanks­giv­ing through Christ­mas, she said, plus se­lect Fri­days and Christ­mas Eve. Check the web­site for the full sched­ule.

Af­ter whis­per­ing their Christ­mas de­sires, the kids can then slide down the iconic big red slide. Fans will rec­og­nize it as a replica of the one fea­tured in the movie.

In the scene, Ral­phie Parker asks Santa for a Red Ryder BB gun, and Santa tells him, “You'll shoot your eye out, kid.”

This event is pop­u­lar be­cause fam­i­lies en­joy the nos­tal­gia, she said.

“It is a clas­sic and they've passed it on to the next gen­er­a­tion so their chil­dren can get ex­cited about watch­ing it every year and laugh­ing at the same parts,” she said. “Flick get­ting his tongue stuck to the flag­pole — every year you hear a story about some kid do­ing it. Even though it took place a long time ago, kids still get ex­cited about it and re­late to it.”

Speak­ing of that scene, there's a bronzed Flick statue stuck to a pole out­side the Wel­come Cen­ter that's great for photo ops, she said.


A child takes a trip down the iconic slide at the In­di­ana Wel­come Cen­ter in Ham­mond, part of the “A Christ­mas Story” Comes Home ex­hibit that’s on dis­play Nov. 10-Dec. 31.

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