Annual Festivals and Events to Attend in Valparaiso

Long-time residents of Valparaiso, Indiana, know that we have a long history of festivals and events to bring our community together. Whether you are planning to visit the area or have recently moved here, our annual festivals and events can provide fun for the whole family. Here are a few of our favorites:

Popcorn Festival

The Popcorn Festival began in 1979 as a way to pay tribute to Indiana-native Orville Redenbacher and popcorn. Proudly boasting the nation’s first popcorn parade, this family-friendly event is held every year, the Saturday following labor day. The parade features marching bands, floats with popcorn themes, and local organizations.

The streets are lined with craft and food vendors and fine arts booths. Kids can enjoy taking part in the Kid’s Poppin Play Place, too. The event kicks off bright and early at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, and the Popcorn Panic 5-mile run and 5K run/walk begin at 7:20 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. respectively. Attendees can enjoy the Popcorn Parade at 10 a.m. before the main stage entertainment kicks off at noon. 

There are nonstop events leading up to the big day, as well, including the Cutest Baby Contest and Hot Wheels Contest. Lunch and dinner events are also held in the Central Park Plaza throughout the week, hosted by different charities and local businesses.

International Food Bazaar

The International Food Bazaar, organized by Valparaiso University’s International Student Association, is another can’t-miss event for Valparaiso residents and visitors. The event is held on Saturday during homecoming weekend ⁠— typically late September or early October. The event runs from approximately 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the lawn between the Fitness Center and Athletics Recreation Center. At the Food Bazaar, international students prepare traditional foods showcasing their culture. 

World Cultural Festival

Celebrate the long multicultural history of Northwest Indiana at the World Cultural Festival, held annually in late September. Every year, the Valparaiso International Center (VIC) offers a variety of cultural performances, foods from around the world, and amazing global music for all to enjoy. Admission is always free, and food is available for purchase. Come with your family to celebrate the cultural diversity of Northwest Indiana with food, shopping, authentic music, and dancing. Special activities are also available for kids.

Summer Rhapsody Music Festival

If you’re a music lover, the Summer Rhapsody Music Festival is the perfect way to spend your Thursday nights. Featuring evening concerts over the course of six Thursday evenings ⁠— kicking off in July ⁠— the lineup includes a variety of music styles, from country to the 80s and more. When you go, consider bringing along a picnic and blanket or chairs so you can sit back, enjoy some food, and relax in the park. The free event has become a community favorite for friends and family who relish the opportunity to enjoy summer evenings in the park.

Summer Outdoor Movies

The music festival isn’t the only event community event going on throughout the summer in Valparaiso. Enjoy some of your favorite films in the park at Summer Outdoor Movies. Taking place on Tuesday evenings in June, starting at dusk, you and your friends and family can watch some of the biggest hits of the past and present at the Porter Health Amphitheater in Central Park Plaza. Grab some food and a blanket or chair and spend every Tuesday night downtown in the park.

Valparaiso Art Festival

Free and open to the public, the Valparaiso Art Festival showcases the talents of more than 80 artists and artisans from across the nation. This relatively new event is being held annually each summer, typically at the end of June, and showcases the work of artists in a variety of mediums, including paintings, drawings, photography, wood, mixed media, glass jewelry, ceramics, and fiber. This festival is a must for art enthusiasts of all ages, and there are fun activities available specifically for children. In addition to the art displays, guests can enjoy lunch alfresco as well as live music.

Valparaiso Wine Festival

While Valparaiso has its fair share of craft brews to enjoy, some travelers may not know that Valparaiso is a wine destination, too! Also taking place in the summer, Valparaiso Wine Festival in July is a favorite of wine enthusiasts. Open to guests 21 and older, the festival features more than 100 wines for attendees to sample. VIP attendees will have the opportunity to taste the most exclusive wines, vote for their favorite Sangria, and enter the event one hour early.

Chocolate Walk

Does the thought of sampling chocolate and other tasty treats from Valparaiso retailers and restaurants make your mouth water? If so, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the annual Chocolate Walk. Attendees will start their walk at the Valparaiso Events office, where they will receive their map and lanyard, which will not only signify that they’re participating but also serve as a punch card to track how many places they visit.

Follow the map to more than 20 participating retail locations where you will receive a delicious and decadent chocolate sample, or stop at one of the participating restaurants for a sweet treat. Feel free to pop in some of the great shops during your stroll through downtown Valparaiso and enjoy all that the area has to offer.

Holly Days

Get in the spirit of the season at the annual Holly Days celebration, which takes place in downtown Valparaiso each year in early December. Enjoy live entertainment on the  Porter Health Amphitheater Stage, stroll through the decorated streets, and dine at one of the unique restaurants as we kick off the holiday season together. Take in the live nativity scene in the courthouse square, enjoy a ride on the Holiday Express with your kids, or just sit back and enjoy the music of the strolling carolers. 

There is no shortage of fun festivals and events in the Valparaiso area all year long. At Energy Diagnostics, Inc., we have been proud to serve the area since the early 1990s. We help local homeowners verify, test, and rate their home’s energy efficiency. Contact us today to schedule an assessment of your own home.