On Thursday night, the Duneland Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Dunes State Park kicked off the Region’s Fourth of July celebrations with their 9th annual Duneland Fireworks on the Lakefront.
The celebration brought over 10,000 people to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Chesterton where they were welcomed with food vendors from around the Duneland area, a beautiful view amongst Indiana’s hidden gem, and a dazzling display of fireworks.
“This is our 9th year doing the Duneland Fireworks on the Lakefront,” said Maura Durham, President of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce. “Years ago, we had multiple communities doing their own fireworks display, but then about ten years ago, we decided to combine the fireworks into one show and bring in everyone from the Duneland community to enjoy them together.”
The Duneland Chamber of Commerce hosts events like the Fireworks on the Lakefront all year round to bring communities and families together for quality fun and time spent together.
“It’s a real community event,” said Brandt Baughman, Property Manager for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. “Throughout the year, we have a lot of tourists who come to see our beautiful lakeshore from outside the area, which is wonderful. But this event is special because it’s more for the local community.”
The show welcomed people from all over the Duneland area and greeted them with vendors like Ben’s Pretzels, Dairy Queen, Elephant Ears and Funnel Cakes, and many more. As they waited for the fireworks to begin, guests lounged in beach chairs or sprawled out on towels, little kids splashed around in the cool water, and families spent time horsing around and enjoying the beautiful views the lakeshore has to offer.
“This show is such a great way to kick off the Fourth of July holiday,” said Jennifer Marinangeli, Member Engagement Director for the Duneland Chamber of Commerce. “I’m just really looking forward to the food, the music, and the fun.”
Things didn’t go exactly as planned, however. Twice throughout the night, it rained and rained, causing everyone to retreat to their cars or under a nearby shelter. But that didn’t stop a lot of people from splashing around in the puddles, running around in the rain, and then quickly going back to their spots for the perfect view of the fireworks.
Before the fireworks began, Durham got up to give a short speech thanking the Chamber’s sponsors and everyone who had a hand in making the Fireworks on the Lakefront a success. She then handed the microphone to Lydia Tremaine, Miss Duneland 1st Runner-Up, to sing the National Anthem in celebration of why everyone was gathered together.
“I love to sing, so to be able to sing for my country is even better, because I love our country,” Tremaine passionately said. “It’s pretty amazing to be here tonight.”
Treacherous rain and doubt as to whether the fireworks would actually happen plagued the the first few hours of the evening, but when that first firework flew up into the air and exploded into colorful, dazzling light, the crowd of thousands cheered and cheered.
“Everybody is having a good time and it’s such a great atmosphere,” said Tom Kozrowski, who has been coming to the Fireworks on the Lakefront for the past four years. “There is so much more than meets the eye here.”
Rain couldn’t keep people away from celebrating the birth of our country at the 9th Annual Duneland Fireworks on the Lakefront. Families spent quality time together under a beautiful, and sometimes not so beautiful, sky that were light up with every color of the rainbow, the perfect way to kick off Northwest Indiana’s Fourth of July celebrations.
For more information on the programs and events from the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, visit www.dunelandchamber.org.