Downtown Valparaiso Kicks Off Holiday Season with Valpo Parks Winter Fest & Tree Lighting

Downtown Valparaiso Kicks Off Holiday Season with Valpo Parks Winter Fest & Tree Lighting

Downtown Valparaiso and Central Park Plaza came alive with music and light as a large crowd counted down the lighting of the Christmas Tree at Valpo Parks' annual Winter Festival. The family event wrapped up Small Business Saturday and kicked off the Christmas season for Valpo.

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“It brings the whole spirit of Christmas into the downtown area”, Dan McGuire, Director of Special Projects & Event Operations with Valpo Parks said. “We want people to come out and enjoy the park and the ice rink.”

The event featured a 30 foot tall tree decorated with 19,000 lights which was made possible by 1st Source Bank, The Flower Cart and The Allure Wedding Venue and Event Center. There were also photos with Santa and a figure skating exhibition, sponsored by Symphony of Chesterton. Symphony of Chesterton also handed out over 10,000 candy canes and 25 gallons of hot chocolate throughout the night, with nurses donating their time.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to take some time out of our busy lives to give back to the people that give so much to us.” Sirrena Lagneau-Hynote, Director of Nursing at Symphony of Chesterton.

Matt Vessely, Regional President of First Source Bank said, “We’re very grateful to be able to have the opportunity to be one of the sponsors for the tree. This season, the gathering of people to have a good time is really at the heart of what we believe in at First Source. We’re a community bank and we love to support the community.”

“This tree will serve us at least five years, and our sponsors have helped pay for that. We’re very thankful for that. We’re able to make a really dramatic presentation for our community thanks to them.” John Siebert, Valpo Parks Executive Director said.

Valpo Parks supported small businesses by allowing guests to turn in a receipt for admission the skating rink and skate rental for five dollars. People gathered around the tree, laughing and taking photos. Children excitedly ran to sit on Santa’s lap for photos. Crowds clapped as figure skaters did jumps and turns in the ice rink.

If you missed the tree lighting, don’t worry. You’ll have many opportunities to see it until the first week of January.

For more information on winter events at Central Park Plaza visit  or download the Downtown Valpo app. The Central Park Plaza ice rink is located at 55 Napoleon Street, Valparaiso. To register for ice skating lessons, contact the Ice Rink at 219-548-4888 or the Valpo Parks office at 219-462-5144.