Posted on April 1, 2022 by Dina Miller
Psssst….our secret is out! Indiana’s Cool North is THE PLACE TO BE if you love to celebrate with pure, old-fashioned enjoyment. And we celebrate just about anything imaginable in wonderful spots where you’re welcomed like an old friend.
Our iconic festivals were never a secret for local visionaries who decided years ago to fete everything from bountiful blueberry crops and legendary popcorn to fine Amish creations and funky art. The events grew, adding music, dancing, food and games in locations that ranged from lush riverside parks to lively downtowns. And the word got out.
Before we knew it, Chicagoans anxious to get out of city, weary toll road travelers looking for a break on long summer drives, and just about anyone else who heard about our tremendously fun festivals, put Northern Indiana at the top of their list.
Whatever your pleasure, we’ve got a festival just made for you. Celebrate good times…c’mon!
When: May 12-15, 2022
The Indiana Dunes Birding Festival is an annual event hosted by the Indiana Audubon Society that showcases the abundance of migratory birds in the Indiana Dunes.
Join in four days of fantastic birding at Indiana’s number one birding attraction. Celebrate the amazing spring migration on Lake Michigan’s southern shore with field trips, presentations, live bird programs, young birder activities, and more.
When: June 16-19, 2022
Downtown Elkhart’s Arts & Entertainment district comes alive with a weekend-long celebration of jazz during the Elkhart Jazz Festival!
Since 1988, jazz legends and fans have gathered each summer for a memorable weekend at the Elkhart Jazz Festival. Combining warm, intimate, small-town hospitality with the excitement of big city jazz, the Elkhart Jazz Festival has become an internationally acclaimed event.
Known as the Band Instrument Capital of the World, Elkhart companies employ nearly 2,000 skilled craftsmen in the production of instruments that turn music into art.
When: June 22-25, 2022
Shipshewana Quilt Festival, held annually in the heart of Amish Country, is the region’s largest event of its kind. The award-winning 4-day event highlights many activities including: lectures and workshops by nationally recognized quilters like Mark Dunn of Moda, Ricky Tims, Rob Appell, Doug Leko, and Jerry Granata; an educational schoolhouse; a shop hop; a Quilt & Vendor Show; and many more activities throughout the county.
A Top 100 Event in North America held every June featuring nationally-known speakers, a Quilt & Vendor Show, shop hop, workshops & more!
When: July 29-31, 2022
Pierogi Fest® is organized annually by the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce and is the pride of Whiting. Drawing almost 300,000 visitors each year, it is the third largest festival in the state of Indiana. Each year, the fest features long running favorites, including the wacky Polka Parade, Mr. Pierogi® and friends, more food vendors than the Taste, specialty and arts and crafts vendors, beer and wine gardens, games, daily entertainment and fun for all ages!
Pierogi Fest® welcomes all to celebrate Eastern European heritage while poking a little fun at the same time. Where else can you see grown women dressed up like their grandmothers (buscias, as they say) in housecoats and babushkas? Or a lawnmower brigade strutting through town with sandals and socks on like their dads did? You’ll also see life-size polish pastries and goodies walking and talking waiting to take a picture with you.
When: August 4-7, 2022
Speed + water + big boat = Are you kidding me?
Let’s forget about the pastoral, acoustic Indiana experience for a second and focus on something really loud, like large boats roaring across Lake Michigan.
The perfect marriage of speed and strength will be on display at the Great Lakes Grand Prix, as some of the largest and most powerful race boats in the world speed across the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan for what is anticipated to be an exciting race. The fun kicks off on Thursday, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Washington Park, and then continues the next day with the First Friday Art Walk & Taste of Michigan City. Saturday offers a parade and block party and the fun culminates on Sunday with the big race.
Where: The Barns at Nappanee
When: August 4-6, 2022
Start in the Marketplace surrounding the Amish Acres farm pond, where you’ll find artisans and crafters displaying and selling their work. Stages provide musical entertainment throughout the weekend, offering up a folksy alternative to Lollapalooza. And don’t forget the food. Homemade baked goods and tantalizing sandwiches will tempt and tame your appetite as you work your way through a true slice of Americana.
When: August 6, 2022
Bring the family and find a treasure at the Shipshewana Antique Festival. Shop quality dealers at this Shipshewana Antique show who set up selling antiques, jewelry, vintage items, collectibles, furniture, up-cycled products, glassware, and toys, and more! There is also delicious food, entertainment and door prizes! Other Antique Festival events include a swap meet and door prizes.
When: Labor Day Weekend
The annual Blueberry Festival is set for Labor Day weekend, and you can be sure that Centennial Park will be the place to be for all things blueberry, including concerts, food, carnival rides, crafts, fireworks and more. The schedule of events offers a summer’s worth of fun, all in one weekend. Go ahead and pay homage to the berry that seems to have made its way off of the pancake and out of the muffin, and into the hearts and stomachs of health-minded individuals everywhere, thanks to its high level of antioxidants. Oh, forget the antioxidants and grab some blueberry ice cream. You’ll have time to work it off walking through the festival.
When: September 10, 2022
Somewhere, Orville Redenbacher is smiling. The Indiana native and Purdue University graduate must be proud to see the Popcorn Festival celebrating another year. And he no doubt gets a kick out of seeing the games, the five-mile run, the Cutest Baby contest, the Hot Wheels race, the food booths, the arts and crafts exhibitors and the parade thrive in this community that has embraced its role in producing the snack that is as American as it gets.