Whiting knows how to throw a festival, while not on the level on Pierogi Fest just yet, Oktoberfest is a nice family festival. We missed most of the daytime activities this year but arrived in time to watch the bartender olympics in the beer garden and enjoy some tapas at Winey Beach Cafe, one of the restaurants along 119th Street where Oktoberfest is held.
For such a small city, Whiting certainly has a lot of culture activities and a really great sense of community. Since 1994, the city of Whiting has held free symphony concerts in Whiting Park during the summer, held mostly on Saturday evenings in July and August. It's a lovely place to take a picnic dinner, a bottle or two of your favorite wine, a blanket or lawn chairs and listen to music by the Whiting Park Fesitival Orchestra featuring classical, jazz and Broadway show favorites. The final concert of the year is usually held on the Saturday or Sunday of Labor Day (the first Monday in September) weekend featuring patriotic tunes.
We only made it to one concert in 2007, the final one of the year held on the Sunday before Labor Day. The evening was capped off with a rousing rendition of ''The 1812 Overture" followed by a holiday classic, "Stars and Stripes Forever" accompanied by a fireworks display.
The Hammond Marina has been rebuilt this year! Take a walk or a nice bikeride along the Hammond Marina. There's a nice pier and places to fish, too! Swim in Lake Michigan when it's hot - there's also a small beach!
Friday July 27, Saturday July 29 & Saturday July 29, 2007
PIEROGI FESTIVAL -- Whiting, Indiana
Festivities began on Friday, but the highlight of the day was the Int'l Polka Parade featuring Mr. Pierogi himself, the Babushka Ladies, the Lawnmower Brigade, Bagpipe Band and many floats. Our very own Kristi ( Dabs ) was one of the Babushka Ladies.
Saturday's highlight was the creation of the "world's biggest pierogi" weighing in at 78 pounds. Also at the Whiting High School Auditorium there was a free showing of the award winning polka movie "It's Happiness" which we all saw and enjoyed very much. Also the Babushka Ladies held a calendar signing, where they autographed a special calendar featuring 12 different ladies each month. In the evening the Polkaholics entertained the crowds with their wonderful music.
Sunday, the Pierogi Toss and the Pierogi eating contest were held.
The 23,00 square foot WHITING PUBLIC LIBRARY opened at its present location on July 31. 1906. Its two major benefactors were the Standard Oil company which donated the land and steel tycoon, Andrew Carnegie whose donations paid for most of the building.
It has a large Children's Services area downstairs which offers Audio books, Videos, large print books. puzzles, games, preschool story hours, Summer reading club, craft activities and internet access.
Monday to Thursday 9:00 a.. to 8:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Whiting Public Library was built in 1905-6 on land donated by the Standard Oil Company and with $15,000 of the $20,000 in needed funds donated by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie who established over 2,500 libraries in communites across the U.S and around the world. The cornerstone of the building bears the inscription "the gift of Andrew Carnegie - A.D. 1905."
The library opened its doors to the public at its present location on July 31, 1906. The library underwent it's first renovation in 1915 after the collection grew from its original 2,588 volumes to 16,000 volumes. By the 1960s, the library's collection had increased to 52,000 volumes so a second expansion and renovation commenced in 1980 and was completed in 1982. The renovation maintained much of the architecture and spirit of the original Carnegie building.
Located a mere 1/2 hour away from Chicago is the small charming town of Whiting Indiana. On the last full weekend of July, one of the nation's best food festivals is held: Pierogi Fest!
The fest kicks off on Friday at 7 pm with the Pierogi parade, one of the wackiest parades around. If you're lucky (or maybe not so lucky) you can spot this VTer in her babushka costume. In 2004, I finally talked a man into being the first babushka lady but I am always on the lookout for more volunteers, In 2005 VTer Sambarnett received lots of catcalls and pinches in his appearance as a babushka.
On Saturday and Sunday, visitors can participate in Eastern Bloc jeopardy, watch ethnic dancers, not to mention eating tons of pierogis. In 2003, Pierogi Fest went international with vendors from as far away as Canada.
2006 dates are July 28-30 and VTers from Canada, Ohio and Michigan will be coming in. Looking forward to it!
Whiting has a large park on Whilaha Beach. It's fantastic! There's a beautiful trail between green grass, different kinds of trees, bushes and a fish pond. Walk through the park in the day or evening -- it's always a nice walk. It can be romantic - bring your honey. Plan a picnic -- there are picnic tables set up all over, so pick your spot! You can bike ride through the park, or play volleyball, tennis, baseball, or soccer. Bring your kids - there's a playground, too! The beach is also nearby for a walk or summer swimming!
Whiting Park is at the eastern end of Whihala Beach County Park. Whihala may sound like an ancient Indian name, the name actually stands for WHIting, HAmmond and the LAke County Parks Dept.
Much of the park's design is the result of public works projects completed during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
The bridge in the accompanying photo once connected a large man made lagoon with Lake Michigan but it would fill with sand so it was converted to more park land.
Whiting Park hosts free symphony concerts in the summer and Dark in the Park at Halloween time.
Standard Oil (later Amoco and now BP)started constructing homes in 1889 in Whiting due to a housing shortage. Along Ohio Street near the Whiting Public Library are homes built for supervisors and managers employed at the Standard Oil refinery.
This area of town was the first to have running water and wooden sidewalks
Many immigrants who came to Whiting joined social clubs in order to retain some of their native culture. Slovaks who settled in Whiting found a home away from home at The American Slovak Club. In addition to providing entertainment for its members, it also operated as a social agency.
Until the mid-1980s, the building had four stories and held a number of meeting rooms and a dance/banquet hall.
The photo attached was taken from the Temple Court side of the building, the inscription over the door says Slovak Home.
Like so many other companies in the Region the Standard Oil Company, faced with a severe housing shortage, constructed homes for their supervisors and managers. Initially rented to the inhabitants, these lovingly well-tended have aged gracefully since their construction in the late 19th century.
The Whiting Community Center was built in 1923 as a gift from John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil of Indiana to the people of Whiting and a memorial to those who fought in World War I.
The building has two gymnasiums, a 700 seat auditorium, ballroom, banquet halls, an indoor track, handball court, weight room, bowling alley and swimming pool.
One of the architectural highlights of the building, on the 2nd floor, is the Memorial Room, dedicated to the veterans of WWI. The room is decorated with wood, reportedly from the Black Forest of Germany. The inscription above the podium, "Marne, Meus Argonne, Belleau Wood, Chateau Thierry, and St. Mihiel", represents battles fought by American troops during WWI.
Male only nude swimming was common in the US during the 1920s but the Center maintained the practice until the mid 1970s. Women though had to wear suits.
The Standard Oil Company maintained the building for use by the citizens of the community until 1973 when it was given to the City of Whiting.
Constructed in 1894 as the new Plymouth Congregational Church, it was purchased in 1927 by Company F, 113th Engineers of the Indiana National Guard and altered dramatically. The building was further altered through a Works Progress Administration Projecy in 1936.
Today the building houses the offices of the City of Whiting.
The Hoosier Theater was completed in 1924 at a cost of $250,000. The theater was used as both a movie house and a vaudeville stage with live performances by acts such as Amos and Andy and W.C. Fields.
The theater was reopened in 1997, after being impressively restored, and currently shows movies at 7:30 pm and also at 4:30 pm on the weekends. It is worth the $5 admission price just to see the fabulous interior.
The structure is certified as a historic landmark by the State Department of Historic Preservation of the Department of Natural Resources.