Mark your calendars: Arts in the Parks hosting July and August events

     Arts in the Parks may have had to cancel events originally planned for June — but organizers proudly announce they are going forward with plans for July and August’s events.
     This year marks the 20th anniversary of the non-profit organization, which provides many concert events free to the community. “Our mission is to bring people together, using music and art as a common bond,” said Lisa Smithson, executive director.
     The community has the following to look forward to in July:
     * 7 p.m. July 9: Small Town — A Tribute to John Cougar Mellencamp; 6 p.m. pre-concert hour TBD
     * 7 p.m. July 16: PT & The Cruisers — Blues and Rock; 6 p.m. pre-concert hour, Blue Sky Band
     * 6 p.m. July 23: People & Songs — Songwriters’ Showcase
     * 6 p.m. July 30: 45 RPM — A British Invasion & America’s Response; aerial yoga by Go Aerial Fitness
     August will feature the following:
     * 7 p.m. Aug. 6: Cripple Creek — Stone Lake Beach Party; 6 p.m. pre-concert hour, 350 West
     * 7 p.m. Aug. 13: Me & The Boys — Swing the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s; 6 p.m. pre-concert hour, LPHS Marching Band
     * 7 p.m. Aug. 20: Indika — Reggae at its best; 6 p.m. pre-concert hour, Cumbia Latin Dance
     * 7 p.m. Aug. 27: Tom Milo Big Band — 20-piece Dance Band; 6 p.m. Ballroom Dance Class — Dance Sophisticates
     Arts in the Park has an interesting history. It was first organized in 2000 by Bill and Kitty Wolf, who sought to raise money to extend the city band season by one concert.
     The city band had been around for a long time. In fact, the La Porte City Band was officially founded in 1879. Today, Smithson said, it is the oldest, continuously-operating municipal ban in the United States. In 1912 Fox Park was donated to the city; a year later a band shell was constructed, which marked the beginning of the city band’s legacy of concerts at Fox Park.
     “La Porte was named the ‘Music Center of America’ in 1923 because a higher percentage of La Porteans attended concerts than in any other city polled,” said Smithson. In 1976 a new band shell was built, the Dennis Smith Amphitheater. Thanks to a grant from the city, the La Porte City Band began performing concerts free to the public every Wednesday evening in June and July.
     When Bill and Kitty Wolf set about raising money to extend the concert season, they brought a cooler full of cold drinks, borrowed a popcorn machine, and began selling drinks and popcorn to concert-goers. The La Porte Service League and Tri Kappa Associates joined their effort, offering to help staff the concession stand each week. The idea caught on, additional donations were made and Arts in the Parks was born.
     The summer concert series has now grown to include 10 Wednesday City Band concerts and 13 Thursday evening concerts throughout June, July and August. Smithson said various genres of music take the stage on Thursdays, including country, jazz, pop, bluegrass, swing, Motown, and Christian music. An Art Pavilion was constructed in 2009, and the concert series has now expanded to feature art exhibits, KidsArt, Park & Canvas Night, poetry readings and a PreConcert Hour.
     In addition to the summer concert series, Smithson said Arts in the Park also hosts an annual FoxTrot 5K Run/Walk & Concert for the community in September, and a Jingle Berry Bash in December featuring live Christmas music and karaoke for the community.

Currently, Smithson said Arts in the Park is raising funds and moving forward on an amphitheater expansion project. This expansion will provide permanent restrooms, concession, storage and dressing rooms to the concert site.

     To learn about sponsoring Arts in the Park, visit or email


Arts in the Park, Fox Park.


A scene from last year’s Park & Canvas Night.


A view of the amphitheater expansion project.

One Response to “Mark your calendars: Arts in the Parks hosting July and August events”

  1. Nicole Thode

    May 28. 2020

    How fun!!! Looks like a fabulous line up this summer

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply