Posted on March 26, 2023 by Dina Miller
From the early morning sounds of the fair waking up – animals stirring in the stalls, carnival workers checking the rides, and concessionaires heating up their fryers – to the giant boom of fireworks at the end of the evening, it’s an American icon that draws people back year after year. Not only is Indiana the crossroads of the nation, but the heart of the Midwest, where county fairs have meant endless fun and family time for generations.
A number of counties that make up Indiana’s Cool North hosts a county fair with its own special flair. But they all have one thing in common – the ability to draw thousands of people each year for a week or more of pure Americana. You can spend days taking in a huge array of events, from 4-Hers showing their prized animals to local talent shows, thrilling rides, fabulous food, big-name entertainers, rodeos, and tractor pulls, but still not cover everything there is to do.
So mark your calendar, load up the family, touch the Heartland’s roots, and perhaps start a tradition of your own that will carry on in years to come. Welcome to Northern Indiana’s very cool fairs! Here’s what’s in store, with links to complete descriptions of each fair:
Where: St. Joseph County Fairgrounds, South Bend
When: June 30 - July 8, 2023
Evenings at the St Joseph County Fair feature daily nights of entertainment with a host of talent, the Fair Queen Contest, and, of course, four nights of the big fireworks show. Don’t miss the daily shows and the 4-H animal judging and projects.
Where: LaPorte County Fairgrounds, LaPorte
When: July 8-15, 2023
LaPorte County Fair is Indiana’s oldest county fair and this year will celebrate 177 years with Lainey Wilson, Demolition Derby’s, a Truck and Tractor Show, 4-H exhibits and animals, fairway rides, fantastic food and more! Step back in time at Pioneerland.
Where: LaGrange County 4-H Fairgrounds, LaGrange
When: July 8-15, 2023
The LaGrange County Fair gets off to a great start with grandstand events. The whole family will love the daily shows. Be prepared for different thrills with rodeo competition, monster truck show and extreme supercross racing.
Where: Porter County Expo Center and Fairgrounds, Valparaiso
When: July 20-29, 2023
The yearly lineup of grandstand talent at the Porter County Fair is so impressive that it easily matches some much larger state fairs across the country. And for fairgoers who love to watch exciting action, this year’s fair will feature Rodeo Bull Riding for fast-paced competition, theTractor Pull, and Demolition Derby.
Where: Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, Goshen
When: July 21-29, 2023
It’s hard to imagine nine days filled with more activity, shows, competitions, rides, food and just pure fun than you’ll find at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair in Goshen. No wonder this annual extravaganza ranks as one of the largest county fairs in the nation.
Naturally, the Elkhart County Fair is filled with non-stop entertainment, including five nights of shows on the Grandstand stage, tractor pull, rodeo and demolition derby round out the 9 days of Grandstand entertainment. This IS the 4-H Fair and it’s both exciting and heartwarming to watch all the judging that goes along with it as 4-Hers show their livestock, poultry and more.
Where: Lake County Fairgrounds, Crown Point
When: August 4-13, 2023
The Lake County Fair still sticks to its agricultural roots while adding a modern twist. The fair hosts exciting grandstand events, horse shows, farm animals and thousands of exhibits promoting the diverse talents of Lake County.
The fair also provides a carnival area with more than 30 rides, a free petting zoo, live entertainment and motorsports, a free fireworks show, contests and a delicious variety of food from hundreds of concessions.