‘It is a classic ... ’
‘A Christmas Story’ exhibit ‘comes home’ to Indiana Welcome Center
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.