Everything You Need to Know About the 2015 Valparaiso Popcorn Festival

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: August 30, 2015

The 2015 Popcorn Festival is coming up on September 12, 2015! The Popcorn Festival is one of the largest festivals Northwest Indiana and brings in locals and tourists alike from all over to see the best offerings of downtown Valparaiso. So much takes place leading up to and on the day of the festival, and hundreds of people roll up their sleeves to make this event a success. Valparaiso Events spearheads the festival, and Tina St. Aubin, Executive Director of said company, is very proud and excited to be part of the momentous event.

“It’s a wonderful time to come out and see what we have to offer here in Valpo,” St. Aubin said. “What I love is that everyone here loves Valpo and we love to provide quality events for the citizens and visitors. The Popcorn Fest is the event that showcases Valpo and we can really shine then."

And shine it will. The festival has quite a bit to offer and it's one of the most anticipated events in the regions.

“We have a layout that works so we don’t change it. The festival is so big with so many moving parts that we have a lot of people involved,” St. Aubin said. “With all the organizations that help us we easily have 500 volunteers. Partnering with those organizations that are as passionate about Valpo and the Popcorn Festival as we are is what makes things work.”

The organizations that she speaks of include, but aren’t limited to: the Valparaiso Noon Kiwanis, the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, Washington Township High School, Valparaiso High School Key Club and Student Council et al, boy scout troops, PACT, the city of Valparaiso and the Public Works Department and more.

Not only are the volunteers local businesses, but most of the vendors are as well.

Shuttle Information
(Roundtrip) Adults: $4.00/Children: $2.00/Max: $9.00

Directions to Shuttle Areas
SOUTH Popcorn Shuttle Area - From the West, take I-80/90 or I-94 E to I-65 S to US 30 E approximately 10 miles to Hayes Leonard School.

NORTH Popcorn Shuttle area - From the East, take I-80/90 or I-94 W to St. Rd. 49 S. Turn right onto Vale Park Rd. (400 N). Follow signs.

Parking Garage Information
Porter County Administration Building Parking Garage- $10 per vehicle

Handicap Parking Information
From US 30 E to St. Rd.2, turn north (Washington St.) Proceed to barricade and turn East (South St.) Go over tracks to stop sign at Franklin St. Continue north on Franklin St. to Monroe St. Parking in Bartholomew Funeral Home (must have proper ID)

Bicycle Parking
Valparaiso Pathways Committee will host FREE & non-supervised bicycle parking from 6:00 am – 4:00 pm the day of the festival at Trinity Lutheran Church, located on the corner of Washington & Chicago Streets. Bring your own lock.

V-Line Rides
MillerCoors is returning to Popcorn Fest with FREE RIDES! All V-Line routes will be free all day Saturday September 12!

"There is so much good that comes out of Popcorn Fest. Every food vendor is either a local nonprofit or working with a local nonprofit. Every purchase you make at one of the vedors benefit local nonprotfit organizations such as Hilltop Neighborhood House, local Boy Scout troops, local FOP, the Caring Place, Chicago Street Theatre, the Valparaiso YMCA, and many more! Our arts and craft vendors are mostly local small businesses as well," St. Aubin said. "It all connects and people figure that out and work together and I love it... I hope people get to see how nice and welcoming we are in Valparaiso."

So here’s what’s happening during the Popcorn Fest:

    • Vendor Booths open at 7am and stay open all day until 6:30pm. Get your shot at shopping at local businesses all on one place.
    • Kid’s Poppin Play Place opens at 7am. There will be games, inflatables, and more for the wee ones.
    • Popcorn Panic:  5-mile run and 5K walk throughout Valpo. Race begins at 7:30am at Central Park Plaza in downtown Valpo. Start the morning with a run then spend the rest of the day at the festival. 
    • Lit’l Kernel Puff Race: The wee ones can get in on the running, too! Let them burn off some energy before the parade starts. 

ChicagoLand Popcorn Parade

    begins at 10am. This parade is well over 100 floats long and all floats are decorated in popcorn. Marching bands, theatre groups, fire trucks police cars with sirens and lights ablaze, gymnasts, martial artists, and more will make their way down Morgan Blvd. and Lincolnway much to the delight of spectators. The parade is one of many highlights of the festival. For those in the parade, here's some important and useful information.
  • ChicagoLand Popcorn Food Area and Main Stage Beer Garden open at 11am after the parade concludes. Get ready for food, drinks, crafts, family, fun, and all other things that come with the Popcorn Festival. Click here to see the Entertainment Area Map.
  • Live music begins at 12pm at both the South Shore CVA Main Stage at the Porter Health Amphitheater and Front Porch Music on Lincolnway.
South Shore CVA Main Stage
12:00pm-1:00pm: The Indigos
1:20pm-2:40pm: Max Allen Band
3:00pm-4:30pm: The Crawpuppies
5:00pm-6:30pm: Headline Act -Poi Dog Pondering

Everything closes up shop at 6:30pm so you have plenty of time to see and experience everything that the city of Valparaiso has to offer in its finest festival.

Popcorn Fest fun fact: Nearly 1,000 pounds of popcorn are popped and used on the parade floats alone.

And here’s what’s going on the days leading up to the Popcorn Fest:

Tuesday September 8

  • Daily Lunch: 11:30am-1pm, Semento’s Napoli Cafe
  • Daily Dinner: 4:30pm-7pm Don Quijote Foundation
  • Hot Wheels “Race of Champions”, 5pm

 

Wednesday September 9

  • Daily Lunch: 11:30am-1pm, Pesto’s Italian Restaurant
  • Daily Dinner: 5pm-7pm Valparaiso Band Parent Association
  • Live Entertainment with VHS Jazz Combo, 5pm
  • The Cutest Baby Finals, 6:30p.m. in the Chicagoland Popcorn Area, located at 68 Lafayette St. in downtown Valpo.

Thursday September 10

  • Daily Lunch: 11:30am-1pm, Strongbow Inn
  • Daily Dinner: 4:30pm-7pm, Valparaiso Kiwanis Club
  • 6th Annual Rotary Popcorn Open Golf Outing, 10:30am

Friday September 11

  • Daily Lunch: 11:30am-1pm, Kelsey’s Steak House
  • Daily Dinner: 4:30pm-8pm, NWI School Nutrition Association
  • Live Entertainment with VHS Wind Ensemble and Varsity Singers, 6pm

*Lunches and dinners will be located in the ChicagoLand Popcorn Area under the William E. Urschel Pavilion. Click here to see the lunch and dinner menus for Popcorn Fest Week.

To see the complete schedule and more information, visit the Valparaiso Events website!