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Dig the Dunes 2023 Recap

...and what's in store for 2024!

Submitted by: Eve Wierzbicki

Kelli, Dawn and Eve taking a break at the Bloody Mary Brawl in February 2023

2023 was a very interesting year for Dig the Dunes. The beginning of the year started with business as usual. We were holding pop-ups at Trail Stop, doing workshops and had some of our usual events planned. However, in April we found out that we did not win the bid for the concession at Portage Lakefront, so after waiting several months, we had to think quick, do a 180 and figure out what our plans would be for the spring and summer! At first we were sad (and we still are sometimes), but we decided to go back to our pre-covid roots and start concentrating on merchandise and planning more events.

The beginning of the year was business as usual with pop-ups at Trail Stop.

Kelli dove head first into the Chesterton European market scene. We scheduled dates, bought a new tent and equipment and loaded up on merchandise. It was such a success! We loved seeing our old customers out and meeting new ones. We added Ryann to the team and she helped Kelli at the markets as well as with some of the events. Dawn also stayed on board and gave us a helping hand when it was needed.

Kelli and her husband Asa became pros at setting up and taking down!

Throughout 2023 our weekly newsletter continued to grow. Eve worked diligently on it every week to bring you all the latest Dig the Dunes news. Due to the growing subscriber list, the newsletter made a great place for advertisements. Partnerships and newsletter sponsorships also grew, allowing us to use that money to update our website, bring you more news and to hire a Donna to highlight many of the area trails complete with a write-up and photos.

Our Saturday afternoon Brew Boats were a big hit!

Summer kicked off many new events. We had a series of live music nights at the pavilion in Michigan City, we partnered up with Harbor Country Adventures for three Brew Boats, we continued our beer runs and worked on reconnecting with all our local business friends. This allowed us to really get going in the fall. In September we brought back Mac & Cheese Fest. Close to 1,000 people attended and tried food from over 15 vendors. In November we had our first large scale Artisan Market at Uptown Social in Michigan City. We teamed up with Treasures by the Tide, had over 30 vendors, live music, food trucks and drinks. We also had our first bus charter to Jasper Pulaski to see the sandhill cranes.

A full busload headed out to Jasper Pulaski with a stop at Four Fathers Brewery

Holiday season took us back to our merchandise sales. Kelli worked diligently on our inventory and updating our website. We did a couple markets and also continued to have our booth at Over Yonder Dunes Gift Shop. Our 2024 calendar was printed and is beautiful as usual (there are still a few left to purchase). We just donated 10% of the proceeds to Save the Dunes.

We had our first Lost Treasures exhibit in 2023. Proceeds went to purchase new toys for kids in need.

As we look ahead to 2024, we are so excited. We've already planned so much! This includes another bus trip, a large scale concert, our artisan market, a chili cook-off, workshops, our famous bloody mary brawl, a couple fitness events, the makers trail and a scavenger hunt. You can see the full list of events on our eventbrite page, right here.

We would like to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. Without you, there would be no Dig the Dunes. Thank you for supporting us with your partnerships and sponsorships, by attending our events, by becoming dunies and by proudly wearing and showing off all our Dig the Dunes merchandise.

Recently, a tourist came up to to me and said, "What is Dig the Dunes?" I told him about everything that we do. Our events, promotion of the dunes area and supporting local businesses. He replied with "well, you are doing an amazing job. We have been seeing your logo everywhere we go!". That told me we must be doing something right. So with that, we will see you for lots more of the same in 2024. Cheers and Happy New Year!

Angie, Eve and Ryann at the Artisan Market. Cheers!


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