Celebrate “A Christmas Story” in Hammond

Normally I’m not a fan of folks who start doing the Christmas thing before I have even bought the Thanksgiving turkey, but I’ll make an exception for “A Christmas Story,” the display already open at the Lake County Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.

I love the sweet Christmas movie about 9-year-old Ralphie and his single-minded quest for a Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun despite the adult reaction, “you’ll shoot your eye out.” I just may have to drag out the CD tonight and make the family watch it for the first of what will no dobut be a half-dozen seasonal viewings. It will get them in the mood for piling in the car and heading down to Interstate 80/94 and Kennedy Avenue south for a return visit to the Welcome Center exhibit that we saw last year and loved.

The six animated displays were first seen in the Macy’s windows in New York City in 2003, but had been in storage until the visitors bureau people bought them. The story was written by Hammond native Jean Shepherd.

The exhibit is free and will be open through Jan. 10, 2010. The six scenes include; Higbee’s Department Store Window, It’s a Major Award, Santa’s Mountain at Higbee’s, The Bumpus Hounds, the Parker Living Room and my personal fave, Flick’s Tongue and the Triple Dog Dare.

But there’s more than just exhibits to see. You can climb up to see Santa (and get a photo for $5), then slide down the red slide into a pillow of “snow,” enter the “Mommy’s Little Piggy” Eating Contest, the Write a Theme Contest – What I Want for Christmas, as well as the “Oh Fuuudge!” Tire Changing Relay. Find out more at www.aChristmasStoryComesHome.com.

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