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Families looking for cost-effective, all-day summer fun for the kids are in luck with the Footloose event Saturday, June 25 at Lakeland Park in Burns Harbor.
Just ask Footloose regular and Wheeler resident Jason Kimberlin, who attends the event each year with his brood for the food, live music and fireworks. “Footloose is not just a race. You can hang out — it’s got a little bit of everything for the whole family. It’s a fun event,” he said.
Son Tyler Kimberlin, 12, enjoys the park’s atmosphere and colorful outfits of the 1980s-themed event. A member of his Union Township Middle School cross-country team, Tyler proudly displays his cassette tape and boom box medals in his room after placing second and first in his age group during the 2014 and 2015 5K run/walk races.
“It’s a really fun course. You get to see nature a lot running around the lake and along the tree line,” Tyler said. “It’s neat to see different people in wigs with their 80s clothes. You are not only running, but supporting a good cause too.”
Hosted by the Burns Harbor Park Department as a fundraiser, all proceeds of the third annual event support the town’s five recreational locations and public amenities. Lakeland Park — located at 1200 Lakeland Park Dr. in Burns Harbor, just off of U.S. 20 tucked behind the Interstate 94 interchange — offers residents and regional visitors swimming, fishing and paddling in the seven-acre Harbor Lake, newly refurbished baseball/softball field, basketball court, playground, running/walking path, gazebo to host weddings and entertainment, five rental shelters and more.
Footloose proceeds also support the Park Department’s all-inclusive programs and events open to all ages in the community. These include: summer Day Camp, Art Camp, Lego Club, Movie Night, Coffee/Cupcake & Canvas, ice cream socials, senior bingo, crochet and hunter’s education classes and more. The majority of all these programs and events are offered at no cost to participants thanks to generous giving through fundraising efforts like Footloose.
Hobart resident Tasha Quiroz was not aware of Lakeland Park until attending her first Footloose two years ago, despite driving past the park each day on her way to and from work. “It’s a very pretty park and I encourage everyone to come out with their kids to have a great time,” she said. “I grew up listening to 80s music so I love the theme and really love the atmosphere.”
Avid runners Joe and Tina Reeves of Portage make Footloose a family day each year with son Pryce, 3, and daughter Paisley, 5. Grandma joined the family last year, and this year Joe’s aunt all the way from Cincinnati will be attending.
Joe said, “I’ve ran a lot of local races, but at Footloose you can really make a day affair out of it. This event makes it pretty easy. There’s a lot for the kids to stay occupied for long periods of time and you don’t have to worry about a bunch of traffic. Plus, you don’t really have to spend tons of money either.”
Joe also recommends Footloose for new runners. “It’s a fast, flat and fun course,” he said. “It’s really good for those first-timers who want to see what a local race is about without getting hurt or feeling overwhelmed. There tons of walkers too.”
Named the biggest first-time event by local media, Footloose brought together 400 to 500 attendees in its first year, despite inclement weather. This year’s upcoming event is expected to gather an even larger crowd from Porter and Lake counties as well as from throughout the Chicagoland region.
Those interested are encouraged to sign up early to beat the event-day rush. Registrants may guarantee their shirt size if registered by Friday, June 10. Afterwards shirt sizes are offered first-come, first-serve. Sign up at: https://runsignup.com/Race/IN/BurnsHarbor/FootLoose5KandKidsFunRun.
Footloose festivities include:• 3:30 p.m. – race day sign-up and packet pickup begins along with DJ and family-friendly activities• 5 p.m. – food and refreshments from area vendors and the Burns Harbor Fire Department open• 5:15 p.m. – FREE 1K kids fun run (ages 3 to 11) kicks-off, sponsored by Bounce ‘N’ Around with each participant receiving a bodacious award• 6 p.m. – Footloose 5K run/walk (ages 8 and up) starts throughout beautiful Lakeland Park and around Harbor Lake o Northwest Indiana crowd-pleasers the Nawty band perform live, sponsored by LiveWorkLeanPlay o Race medals and awards, bounce houses, silent auctions, 50/50 raffle and MORE o Family party tent with adult beverages opens, sponsored by local Running Vines Winery and Leroy’s Hot Stuff• Dusk – fireworks commence, sponsored by Phantom Fireworks
Park admission is free. Cost to participate in the 5K without shirt is $25 and $30 with shirt. Kids run without shirt is free and $10 with shirt. Footloose 5K will be held rain or shine.
For more information call 219.787.8126, Like www.facebook.com/footloose5K or Follow www.twitter.com/burnsharborin.
Financial support for the event is provided by Allegius Credit Union, Kenwal Steel, Wagner’s Ribs, Global Engineering & Land Surveying, Osan & Patton Attorneys at Law, Allstate Insurance Prendergast, Precision Towing, Worthington Industries, Dean’s Tire Pros, Bosak Auto Group and Lakeshore Ford. Footloose 5K organizers are also grateful for the generous grant support from Indiana Dunes Tourism.