The Illinois Theatre Center enthralls audiences with a wide range of theatrical performances that range from offbeat musicals to retellings of classic dramas. The Spitfire Grill, a musical adaptation of director Lee David Zlotoff's award-winning film, revisits the tale of a young woman recently released from prison who gets a second lease on life and a studio apartment. Wistful comedy Heroes centers on the lives of three war veterans living in an old folks' home who spend their final days reminiscing about ration-packet picnics. All performances are held in an intimate 179-person theater.
At The Arthouse, mother-and-daughter artisans Heather and Janice Finney flatter artwork with expertly crafted frames and preserve cherished objects in customized memory boxes. More than 100 types of frames entice brush strokes to take up residence between their borders alongside a plethora of color, mat, and glass options. Enhance a 4" x 6" headshot of your child-star hamster with an 8" x 10" frame and a standard 2-inch mat ($69–$195), or buff up an artistic masterpiece in a 32" x 40" frame with a 2-inch mat ($278–$613). Heather and Janice’s specialty shadow boxes ($300+) display valuable photographs and mementos in personalized packages that protect them from light exposure and the enchanted curses of their original owners.
Johansen Farms started more than 85 years ago, when Hans Johansen and his family immigrated to Illinois from Copenhagen. Upon their arrival, the family started to grow and sell flowers and vegetables, slowly transforming their business from a roadside farm stand into a flourishing plant empire.
Today, sunlight filters into Johansen Farms’ 24 greenhouses, illuminating scarlet petals and verdant tendrils as they rise from beds of moist earth. Within these humid growing centers, gardeners cultivate more than 2,000 varieties of plants and flowers, from blooming annuals to hearty grasses. Guests meander at will, stopping to sniff baby flower buds and eye appetizing fruits and veggies.
Hailed as the "granddaddy of Northwest Indiana's haunted attractions" by the Post-Tribune, Reapers Realm Haunted Attractions terrifies guests every Halloween season with multiple haunted sites. Most of its frights lurk within the three floors of a 1920s-era stone mansion. There, fog makes it tricky to see where demented demons lie in wait, and strobe lights illuminate famous movie monsters such as Michael Myers reenacting classic scenes of carnage.
More creepy creatures populate the Reaped Woods, where, in the past, a corn maze has hosted sights nearly as frightening as a scarecrow stuffed with old SAT scantrons. At the aptly named Carnevil, the screams echoing from the rides aren't just screams of delight.
Circle of Stones' expert beadsmiths enlighten stringing scholars on jewelry making amidst a kaleidoscopic collection of imported stones and natural minerals in a variety of two-hour classes. In a selection of beginner-level classes, twosomes can glean skills in basic jewelry techniques, learning how to wire-wrap earrings, the approach for finishing necklace ends, and how to tell the difference between a string of gemstones and a candy necklace. Knotted Necklace classes teach the ways of spacing beads between knots of linen to highlight glittering baubles, while Braided Crystal Bracelet classes merge shimmering Swarovski crystals with miniature seed beads to create eye-catching accoutrements.
Armed with frames spanning the gamut from classical to trendy, Boulevard Fine Art’s picture wranglers enhance and protect artwork through custom framing services. Customers can encase celebrities under glass without the need for strategically poked air holes by framing favorite posters ($40–$60 for 20"x24") or place childhood finger paintings in standard 8"x10" frames ($15+) that preserve prodigious pre-K artifacts. Original paintings find new homes with canvas services, including stretching, framing, and labor ($65–$85 for 24"x30"), upping the artwork ante with unique, hand-finished frames from Italy, Germany, and Peru. With more than 40 years of combined framing experience, the staff helps customers make aesthetically minded decisions or tell when paintings are about to molt.