Tag Archives: Chesterton

Camping in the Dunes

Wizard of Oz Festival
I'm smiling, but guiltily, because I'm eating the last of the ribs. Kristin has a blue-checked gingham bow in her hair.

During our drive to the Dunes, I was kept busy searching the internet for things to do and places to eat lunch. Most of the restaurants with good reviews were either too far out of our way or closed; but I did find that the town of Chesterton was having a Wizard of Oz festival.

Kristin and I spent some time speculating on why Chesterton had a Wizard of Oz festival. Perhaps Frank Baum was born there? The home of a Munchkin? A retired movie star had relatives there? We gave up on the guessing and found this history of the festival. I know there are a lot of advantages to collecting, but I didn’t know you could use a collection to start a festival.

Since we had almost reached our destination and it was still early, we decided that a stop in Chesterton would be fun. We were curious and a festival always has food booths.

Wizard of Oz festival
Chesterton's Wizard of Oz festival program.

Chesterton is small and parking was scarce, but we found a family near the center of things willing to offer their yard for $5.00. That seemed reasonable since the Subaru was packed to the gills and it was less worrisome to park it in a private driveway than on a public street.

After finding our way past the trains (long and noisy) into the Chesterton downtown, we discovered a big bonus. Most of the top-rated restaurants in the area had booths at the festival. What was to prevent us from sampling a little something from all of them?

After grabbing the obligatory lemon shake-ups (why don’t we ever make these at home?), we proceeded to walk from one end to the other ogling everything from jewelry to collectibles to fair knick-knacks plus a spattering of Tin Men, Dorothys and Wicked Witches willing to pose and even sign autographs. I’m thinking of adding a parade of little girls in blue-checked gingham dresses, ruby-red slippers and braids to my bucket list and then crossing it off, because who knew?

Wizard of Oz Festival
Even the Wicked Witch of the West gives autographs.

Walking was a nice change of pace after riding in the car, but by the time we came back to the start we were foot weary and stomach empty. We looked at and sampled a lot of different foods, but the best was the short ribs from Wagner’s Ribs. They were so good I am contemplating a two-hour drive just to eat those ribs one more time. After that we were beginning to feel a little stuffed, but there were still the baked goods from Tonya’s Patisserie. Negotiating a quick compromise between our eyes and our stomachs, we had a pumpkin pie tart and cinnamon rolls packed to go. (They were good, even cold, but I am a severe judge of desserts. I grew up eating my mother’s homemade cream puffs fresh from the oven and my standards are high.)

Short ribs and Kristin
I'm taking the photo but she is saving some ribs for me.

With our desserts and the whirligig we bought for our campsite safely tucked away, it was time to leave and continue our adventure in the Dunes Country.