Here’s a triple dog dare no fan of the holiday classic "A Christmas Story" can resist: a chance to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary at the place that made it all possible, Hammond, Ind., and maybe win a leg lamp in the process.
The city just across the state line was the hometown of humorist Jean Shepherd, author of a short story that became the basis for the 1983 film. The film follows the exploits of 9-year-old Ralphie, who wants a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas; his "Old Man," who has a penchant for colorful language and changing tires; and his friends, who discover what happens when a human tongue meets a frozen flag pole.
Many of those famous scenes will be on display from the day after Thanksgiving through Jan. 11 at the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau on Kennedy Avenue just south of Interstate 94. The Visitors Bureau spent $75,000 to buy six animated displays commissioned in 2003 by Macy’s for the windows of its New York City store. Higbee’s Department Store, the Old Man’s "major award," the Bumpus hounds and other scenes are included.
In addition, the bureau plans to commemorate the film with a Piggy Eating Contest (in honor of Ralphie’s little brother, Randy, who eats his mashed potatoes face first), a What I Want for Christmas Contest (winner will not get a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun) and an Ugliest Lamp Contest (first prize: a leg lamp, the ugliest lamp of all). Santa will be there, too, sitting atop a mountain complete with a slide to send kids on their way.
Downtown Hammond plans its own pre-Thanksgiving celebration, including store window displays and a Ralphie and Randy look-alike contest (mufflers, mittens and other props will be available for lending) on Nov. 22.
For schedule details, visit lakecountycvb.com and downtownhammond.org.