Wolf Lake Pavilion played host to a very unique Fourth of July Celebration in the City of Hammond on Saturday.
Unique in that not only did the celebration feature family-friendly entertainment like fun music and, of course, fireworks, but in that it also featured a Naturalization Ceremony where immigrants from all over the world were sworn in as United States citizens.
An honor that Marissa McDermott, wife of Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., holds dearly herself.
“I remember this day clearly,” said McDermott, a naturalized citizen herself. “I was in a courtroom in Nassau County, New York being sworn in. That memory of sitting in the courtroom at my Naturalization Ceremony is one of my earliest memories, but it also one of my strongest ones.”
McDermott reminded the people being sworn in, and those in attendance, to appreciate what it means to live in America; a fitting sentiment on Independence Day.
“To this day when I hear the National Anthem of the United States I get choked up,” McDermott added. “I realize just how fortunate we are to be raised in a country where we have so much opportunity.”
After the ceremony, it was time for celebration, as The Bill Porter Orchestra took the stage playing an eclectic and entertaining mix of Americana classics, jazz, and swing music.
For Kirk Garrison, Trumpeter for Bill Porter’s Orchestra, the chance to perform for Hammond was extra special. One, as a member of Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, yes, THAT Lt. Dan, the Dyer resident rarely gets to play in The Region. But even more importantly, as an Air Force Veteran, the chance to do what he loves on a day that he loves meant a lot to him.
“Today is pretty significant,” Garrison said. “My son is also in the Air Force and my daughter is a teacher at Hammond. Usually I am out on the road and don’t get to play here, but I got a day in town and it’s great to be here. The Pavilion is a great place.”
And the crowd enjoyed the orchestra and the evening just as much as the orchestra enjoyed performing.
Dan Petreikis, our friend from Harbor Buick GMC, was there, and was enjoying a beautiful night in Northwest Indiana.
"You couldn't ask for a better night than tonight," said Petreikis. "And this venue is absolutely beautiful. I am glad I made the trip out here."
For Noah Fallquist, a six-year-old, who has attended the celebration every year it’s been at Wolf Lake, the celebration was the icing on the cake of a long and great day in Northwest Indiana.
“I am excited,” said Noah. “I saw Scooby Doo and the Looney Tunes (referring to his earlier trip to the Whiting parade), and I stay up for the fireworks.”
“He loves the orchestra,” added Lisa, Noah’s mom. “That’s what he wants to do now, he wants to walk up to the stage and go see them!”
Eventually, the band tuned down, and Noah and the hundreds of other residents from Hammond and Northwest Indiana made their way to the lake for the fireworks; a perfect end to a perfect day in Hammond and the Fourth of July in Northwest Indiana.