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Oct 19, 2023

Snicker if you must, because that's an understandable reaction to an annual tradition in Northwest Indiana. At the Pierogi Drop every New Year's Eve in the city of Whiting, a 10-foot tall version of the dumpling associated with Polish cuisine is dropped into a boiling cooking pot at the stroke of midnight. And in the summer, the Pierogi Fest in Whiting sometimes draws more than 350,000 enthusiasts.

Also in Lake County, a historic former courthouse in Crown Point was known for decades as a "marriage mill". Hollywood celebrities like silent movie star Rudolph Valentino, sports icons such as Muhammad Ali and Joe DiMaggio and other notables trekked to Crown Point for speedy weddings. No waiting periods, residency requirements or blood tests were required then. Now known as the Old Lake County Courthouse, the former "marriage mill" structure, which was built in 1878, is a tourist destination that houses a museum and distinctive retailers, including antique shops as well as merchants who sell vinyl records and vintage clothes.

The clothes won't be needed at two rival clubs, one of which dates to the 1930s in the city of Roselawn. The Sun Aura Club (which has had several names during its colorful history) and the Ponderosa Sun Club are nudist colonies. A third such club also flourishes in Northwest Indiana: The Lake O' The Woods Nudist Colony can be found in Valparaiso.