Parties in Hobart do not get much bigger than the 28th Annual Lakefront Festival, which got underway on Thursday. Community members and festival attendees enjoyed classic fair foods, live bands, a beer garden, and perused a variety of vendors.
Hobart Events are some of the busiest event planners in the Region, and the community calendar is stuffed with projects and activities throughout the year. For both the town and staff, the Lakefront Festival stands out among the crowd as a particularly special occasion.
“This is kind of the flagship Hobart event. It all started with the Dam Duck Race, and it’s grown into this huge experience,” said Nikki Lopez, Hobart Event Director. “I love being out here, I absolutely love my job.”
“I’m from Hobart, my grandparents graduated from Hobart, my whole family did. The fact that I get to provide someplace for people to come and let loose for the last hurrah of the summer is absolutely amazing,” she continued.
The Dam Duck Race is still an integral part of the event 28 years later. It started as a way for the local development commission to fund the restoration of what is now known as Festival Park, but has since turned into a grant pool. It’s now ran by the Hobart Community Foundation and, over the years, thousands of participants have helped raise over $140,000 for causes such as the Humane Society, Hobart Girls Softball, and the Hobart Food Pantry.
“The level of participation is wonderful, just wonderful,” said Leni Vinzant of the Hobart Community Foundation. “I know when Hobart first started their K-9 unit for example, we were instrumental in helping them raise money for that.”
The festival draws crowds from all around the Region, not just Hobart. One part of Lopez’s recipe for success is regularly mixing up the vendors and food stalls that attend. We’re Popp’in Popcorn & Lemonade, now a national brand, got their start in East Chicago and made their first appearance at the Lakefront Festival this year. CEO Kelvin Bride personally manned the stall, and discussed just how critical events like this festival are to a community.
“Events like this are super because they create space for networking and family time,” he said. “That family time is huge, especially for these residents here. They come out and they’ve been very friendly and helpful. We enjoy meeting new people, it’s what we live on and breathe on.”
Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor visited the festival to take in the sights as a spectator.
“On several occasions, people have approached me and said that things like this are why they moved to Hobart,” Snedecor said. “They love the family atmosphere, they love how the city is so close knit. We’re not a big community, but we’re not a small community. It’s a great time.”
The Lakefront Festival runs through Sunday, August 18. Be sure to catch the Annual Dam Duck Tape & Cardboard Regatta on Saturday, August 17, at 3.pm. Racers will brave the lake in vessels made of tape and cardboard. You can also watch the Hobart Community Foundation release the rubber ducks for their Dam Duck Race on Sunday at 3 p.m.