The City of La Porte held its annual beloved Sunflower Fair on Saturday, September 16.
The event is 24 years in the making and has come a long way since its start as a small vendor fair. Today, hundreds of vendors were present for people to visit, accompanied by a long itinerary of fun events all day long that every person of any age could enjoy.
“It started much smaller and it has grown throughout the years,” said La Porte Civic Auditorium Events Director Brett Binversie. “Part of the Sunflower Fair is a sunflower judging by the Master Gardeners. We have a rib cook-off that's been going on for many, many years. It's grown from a small vendor fair; this year we'll have over 110 artisan vendors and business booths and will have over 15 food trucks. We have live music and it's a great time.”
Another highly anticipated event during the day is the auto show, which never fails to draw in a fun crowd each year.
“The Black Sheep Car Club is taking over the car show this year,” Binversie said. “Last year they had over 100 cars. It's a great time, and it's located on the last two blocks of Michigan Avenue up to Osborne Street. There’s several different prizes, including Mayor’s Choice, Fire Chiefs' Choice, Sheriff's Choice, etc., and it really draws a great crowd down there.”
Today’s festivities were accompanied by some lively entertainment, such as well-known band the Head Honchos, Trouble Blind, and others as well.
The Sunflower Fair helps showcase the many great amenities, businesses, restaurants, and more that La Porte has to offer, and hopes the people visiting will also take advantage of the opportunity to explore the city to its fullest while they’re there.
“I hope they enjoy themselves, and I hope they support our local businesses. We have some great businesses in the area along Lincolnway in that vicinity. There's so much offered throughout the fair this year - multiple types of artists and vendors. There's people selling everything from epoxy tumblers to license plates to paintings,” Binversie said.
The Sunflower Fair also allows these local businesses to get in on the fun as well and participate as vendors in the event.
“We have Burek Farms here selling produce; Hotspot Cafe is selling bubble tea, the fire department has a fire truck here for the kids to see. We're giving away sunflowers to the first 300 kids that come in through the gardens,” Binversie said. “It's just a great event that lets everyone come out to enjoy their time, whether it's with their family, friends, or co-workers. There's something for everyone - everything from live music to food to entertainment.”
In addition to the community support, a few key players have been the main forces behind making this year’s Sunflower Fair possible for the city to enjoy. This includes title sponsor (and rib cook-off sponsor) American Licorice and supporting sponsor NIPSCO. These two companies have financially contributed to many different factors of the fair, and without their support, none of this would have been possible.
“They help us pay for the infrastructure that goes into this, the security of hiring the entertainment and sound. Their financial contributions have been crucial in making this a success,” Binversie said.
He additionally credits Sunflower Fair Co-Chairs Dawn Zigler and Becky Pressel for being a vital help in the event’s success as well. The duo has put a ton of time and resources into making this year’s fair happen, something the La Porte community is extremely grateful for.
A few local organizations have additionally been a huge help in putting this year’s Sunflower Fair together as well.
“Although this Sunflower Fair is run by committee, this wouldn't be possible without the support of the La Porte Parks and Recreation Department, the La Porte Street Department, the La Porte Police Department, City Hall, and council people donating their time,” Binversie said.