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Valparaiso, IN Annual Community Festivals, Events, and Entertainment

Updated on September 5, 2016
randomcreative profile image

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Valparaiso, IN is home to Valparaiso University.
Valparaiso, IN is home to Valparaiso University. | Source

Whether you live in Valparaiso, Indiana as a college student or a full time resident or you are simply visiting, you may be looking for events. The community is filled with annual festivals and entertainment all year round. There are many opportunities within the university as well.

Please note that I verified all event information during August 2015. All dates and locations are subjected to change at any time without notice.

Valparaiso is a 20 minute drive from the Indiana Dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan.
Valparaiso is a 20 minute drive from the Indiana Dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan. | Source
A markerValparaiso, IN -
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Valparaiso is located 54 miles from Chicago, 22 miles from Michigan City, and 55 miles from South Bend.

The following restaurants participate in Eat Up Wine Down each month.

Bon Femme Café
Casa Del Mar
Don Quijote
Good to Go by Lucrezia
Margaritas Restaurant & Bar
Main + Lincoln
Pikk’s Tavern
Sage Restaurant
The Silver Spoon
Tommy B's
Valley Kitchen and Bar

Eat Up Wine Down

On the first Thursday of every month all year round, select downtown Valparaiso restaurants offer $5 specials. Each participating restaurant has selections for some of their most popular dishes and/or drinks that are only $5 each. As all of the restaurants are within walking distance of each other, this is a great way to sample a wide variety of cuisine in a single evening. $5 specials run from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.

The 2015 Valpo Beer Rally
The 2015 Valpo Beer Rally | Source

Spring Events (March, April, May)

  • Chocolate Walk. The annual Chocolate Walk features more than 15 retail locations offering day-only free samples as well as specials and discounts. It's a great opportunity to take your time exploring all that downtown Valpo has to offer while enjoying delicious chocolates along the way. The event takes place in early March. Tickets go quickly so make sure to get yours early.
  • Valpo Beer Rally. The Valpo Beer Rally is intended to celebrate all of the Hop Heroes in the community including Figure Eight Brewing, Four Fathers Brewing, and Ironwood Brewing. The event includes a live brewing demonstration, food for purchase, live music, and of course lots of beer. The Beer Rally takes place in early May. You must be 21 or older to attend, and tickets are limited.

Downtown Valparaiso hosts a variety of events throughout the summer.
Downtown Valparaiso hosts a variety of events throughout the summer. | Source

Summer Events (June, July, August)

  • Central Park Plaza Market. Head over to Central Park Plaza on Tuesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to noon for fresh produce, plants and flowers, and handmade items. It runs from early June through mid October. They feature a demonstration or live music event on Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. Check the web site for a current events schedule and vendor list.
  • Outdoor Movies. Central Park hosts the Valparaiso Outdoor Movie series on Tuesdays from mid-June through late July. The movies start around dusk. Enjoy the movie from a blanket or lawn chair.
  • Summer Rhapsody Music Festival. This is a great opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of classical music with friends and family. Central Park hosts groups on select Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from mid-June through late August. General admission is free. For purchase tickets are available for select seating.

Valparaiso's Popcorn Festival, 2011.
Valparaiso's Popcorn Festival, 2011. | Source

Tip: If you haven't already visited the Central Park Plaza Market, it's not too late to stop by in September or October!

Fall Events (September, October, November)

  • Popcorn Festival. The Popcorn Festival honors Orville Redenbacher who developed his initial popcorn idea in Valparaiso. Typically there are pre-event activities the week before the festival. The festival features a variety of family friendly activities for people of all ages including 30 food booths, more than 200 artisan booths, games, a five mile long Popcorn Panic, and the country's first ever Popcorn Parade. The Popcorn Festival takes place in early September.
  • Valpo Brewfest. Join fellow northwest Indiana beer lovers in late September for one of Indiana's top brewfests. There is limited attendance allowed so make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time. The Brewfest features over 125 brews as well as food and live music.
  • The Great Downtown Tailgate. The downtown tailgate is one of the newest events in Central Park. Bring some of your favorite tailgating supplies to this free event and enjoy a football game on a large movie screen. Participate in events before the game starts. Food and drink are available for purchase. Typically the Downtown Tailgate takes place in early October.
  • Fall Harvest Festival. Head for spooky events in your best costumes. Many downtown Valparaiso businesses welcome trick or treaters throughout the late afternoon. Central Park hosts hayrides and entertainment. Typically the Fall Harvest Festival takes place in late October.

Holly Days in Valparaiso, Indiana

Winter Events (December, January, February)

  • Holly Days. In early December, Central Park features a night of holiday musical performances, ice carving, a Holiday Village Market with local artisans, free rides, and a live nativity complete with animals. Make sure to listen to the carolers and take a look at the downtown restaurants and stores that are offering special treats and deals.
  • Winter Dazzle. Enjoy two days in late February of ice carving competitions, horse-drawn carriage rides, and miniature ice golf. All events are free and centered around Central Park.

Many events take place in the Valparaiso University Union.
Many events take place in the Valparaiso University Union. | Source

Annual Valparaiso University Events

This list of Valparaiso University events is by no means comprehensive. Consult the Campus Calendar for up to date information about upcoming events.

  • Homecoming Festivities. Homecoming is much more than a football game with fellow alumni. There are lectures, exhibits, shopping opportunities, prayer services, meetings, Greek life events, and various sporting events throughout the weekend.
  • Midnight Madness. Kick off the new basketball season with events in the athletic center before a midnight basketball practice.
  • Christ College Freshman Production. The freshman honors college class puts together a production every fall.
  • Christmas Concert and Christmas Vespers. One of the greatest strengths of Valparaiso University is the music department. Both of these events highlight the best that the department has to offer.
  • Jazz Fest. Musicians from all over the region turn out in April for the Midwest's biggest non-competitive jazz event. The festival features jazz greats like Ellis Marsalis Quartet, Bobby Lewis Quintet, and Terrell Stafford as well as Valparaiso University student and faculty groups and Northwest Indiana high school jazz bands. 2015 Jazz Fest date TBD.
  • Sousa Concert. Are you a fan of John Phillip Sousa marches? Make sure to catch the Valparaiso University Community Band's annual Sousa tribute.

Renowned Trombone Player Performs in Valpo


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    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Yes, for sure, Vicki! That's great that you have so many of the same opportunities about your college town. I would love to read about it. :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Looks like a neat town with lots to do! That is generally true in a college town. I live in, one, and some of the sports and fall events you mention remind me of things that happen here. I might have to do a hub about this place! Well done!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's awesome, Sonny! It's a really neat community.

    • sonnyhodgin profile image

      Sonny Hodgin 5 years ago from Indiana

      I lived in Valpo for 4 years. I even wrote a hub of my own on Valpo's law school. I like your hub lot! There should be more hubs on Valpo! It's classic small town Americana.



    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Cyndi! So glad that you got an idea from my article, too. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Great idea for a hub, Rose! The pictures are great, too and you gave me an idea for a hub about Asheville, lol. Thanks so much for sharing all this great information!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      The popcorn festival is one of the most well known festivals in the area. You're right that Valparaiso does have a nice variety of happenings. :)

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The popcorn festival sounds fun! A good variety of activities there by the sounds of it :)

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Mhatter99, neat! Best of luck with that.

      Thank you much, Eddy! I appreciate that.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      So interesting wonderfuly presented and well informed .

      Voting up and sharing.


    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for sharing this. One of my projects was to get the Bay Area masons involved in community activities.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Valparaiso does have some serious cold weather. You'll have to get up this way sometime in the spring or summer when the weather is nicer. You're right about the architecture of university buildings. Thanks for passing on this info!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      I seriously need to move back to a college town. I don't know if I could handle the cold in Valparaiso though. The opening image of the building is beautiful, I love older buildings with glass incorporated in them, there is some neat architecture on various university buildings.

      Sounds like there are a lot of neat festivals, I would not mind attending any of those. Wish I lived closer! Thanks for the info, I'll pass it along to my northern neighbors and family. Cheers, MO