March 31, 2004
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, firstname.lastname@example.org
LaPorte County Summer Provence Festival
WESTVILLE Purdue University North Central has taken
the lead in bringing the unique festival, Provence at
Purdue North Central and the Pleasures of LaPorte County,
to the county on July 26 through Aug. 8 and has invited county
businesses and organizations to join the celebration.
The idea for the Provence festival was generated last July,
when more than 175,000 sunflower seeds had bloomed into a
field of gorgeous sunflowers on PNCs more than 305-acre
campus. As visitors came to take photos, look for birds, or
to take in the vast display of nature. PNCs administrative
staff, including Judy Jacobi, marketing director and coordinator
of the Odyssey Sculpture and Arts Program, thought the scene
was reminiscent of artist Vincent Van Goghs painting
of sunflowers from his years in Provence, the sunny southeastern
region of France. Research proved that the region actually
bears many resemblances to LaPorte County and the idea of
expanding the opportunity to all of LaPorte County took root.
We welcome LaPorte County businesses, non-profit groups
and organizations to participate in any creative way that
lends itself to the Provence theme, said Jacobi.
Mary Koselke, manager of Continuing Education, will offer
a variety of not-for-credit classes for children and adults
to provide an out of the ordinary opportunity to learn more
about French customs and culture.
The LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau (LCCVB)
will include descriptions of visitor-friendly events offered
by participating organizations in an expanded quarterly calendar.
Forms are available from David Dabagia, at email@example.com
or by calling 872-5055 or 326-8115. The deadline is May 14.
For information about the LCCVB, contact Jane Daley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support for the festival has come from Michigan City Mayor
Chuck Oberlie and LaPorte Mayor Leigh Morris, and the Michigan
City and LaPorte chambers of commerce.
Many we have spoken with agree that this is a great
opportunity to bring a common theme to our county, which could
present LaPorte County as a beautiful destination for out-of-towners
as well as members of our own communities who love and treasure
the arts, natural beauty, good cuisine, leisure and lifelong
learning, fun, and the healthy experience that this affords
them, Jacobi said.
Some organizations are planning:
- PNC will offer Van Goghs fields which will be five
times larger than last years plantings. The Continuing
Education Department, in collaboration with the Jack and
Shirley Lubeznik Center for the Arts, will offer mini-courses
for adults and children. Also planned are free lunch-time
learning sessions, jazz concert, art shows and stargazing
with a newly acquired telescope - a la Van Goghs famous
work, Starry Night.
- Lubeznik Art Center Education Director Ed Shelton and
Michigan City Boys and Girls Club Director Allan Whitlow
are working on a collaborative work to be created by the
children of the Boys and Girls Club to be displayed during
the two-week festival at PNC.
- A new art gallery opening in Michigan City will feature
a show of Antique Art Deco Electric Fans.
- Friendship Gardens will ready their 90 varieties of roses,
a major part of French perfumes.
- Several Michigan City and LaPorte Bed and Breakfasts
are planning Provence getaways, including French
- Several restaurants are planning special provençal
features on their menus.
- The Michigan City Public Library will host a Rendez-vous
with French Cinema.
- For a list of more than 50 suggestions for ideas to adopt,
go to www.pnc.edu/provence.
We would like to get a critical mass of
businesses and clubs to participate this first year. Individuals
can plant gardens of lavender, sunflowers, among other typical
blooms in gardens or decorative containers in fact,
The News-Dispatch is sponsoring a garden contest with prizes.
Farmers may plant the first several row of their fields with
sunflowers to create a corridor of natural beauty. Merchants
can decorate windows in similar themes, and, if allowed, restaurants
may offer dining al fresco outdoors - with tables and
umbrellas, as is done in Provence. The ideas are almost limitless,
Contact Jacobi at email@example.com , or 872-0527, ext. 5593
or 785-5593. The City of LaPorte liaison is Nancy Porter,
The next planning and information meeting is April 20 at 4:30
p.m. at PNC, Technology Building Room 109. Persons with disabilities
requiring accommodations should contact Jacobi.