Home > Lively Summer Festivals Spell Fun Across Indiana’s Cool North

Lively Summer Festivals Spell Fun Across Indiana’s Cool North

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!

Here’s a “best of the fests” guide to Northern Indiana this summer:


Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, Porter

When: May 16 - 19, 2019

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.

Shipshewana Quilt Festival, Shipshewana

When: June 19-22, 2019

An award-winning 4-day event including: lectures and workshops and internationally recognized quilters.

The 2019 Quilt & Vendor Show will open at 12 noon on June 19. The Quilt Show will once again be juried and limited to approximately 200 quilts. You can look forward to the best of the best!

Many different vendors from around the country will provide you with the newest and best products. Whether you have entered a quilt to be judged or are adding to your collection by shopping the vendors, you are sure to have an enjoyable experience!   A concession stand will operate inside the Quilt & Vendor Show Wednesday, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Thursday through Saturday, 11 am to 3:00 pm.

Activities Stage
This is the place within the show to sit and listen to product presentations and demos from vendors, show sponsors, and others! Check the on-site schedule.

Elkhart Jazz Festival, Elkhart

When: June 21 - 23, 2019

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.

Today, the festival showcases more than 100 performers and draws an audience of 20,000 to our community celebration of America’s classic art form – jazz.

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.

Angola Balloons Aloft, Angola

When: July 12 - 13, 2019

The balloon pilots are some of the country’s finest pilots and will be competing for cash and prizes in this annual invitational.  This annual invitational while they fill the sky with their dazzling display of colorful balloons. Phil Clinger, Competition Director, will be putting together another exciting hot air balloon competition for 2019!



Pierogi Fest, Whiting

When: July 26 - 28, 2019

Taking place in Whiting, Indiana, Pierogi Fest® celebrates Eastern European food and culture with a wacky familial twist.

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.

The Annual Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival, Nappanee

When: August 1 - 4, 2019

Start in the Marketplace surrounding the Amish Acres farm pond, where you’ll find more than 300 artisans and crafters displaying and selling their work. Four stages provide musical entertainment throughout the weekend, offering up a folksy alternative to Lollapalooza, which will be taking place in Chicago at the same time. 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.

Shipshewana Antique Festival, Shipshewana

When: August 3, 2019

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 an antique telephone show, a classic car cruise-in, a swap meet and a steam & gas show.

The Great Lakes Super Boat Grand Prix, Michigan City

When: August 1-4, 2019

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.

Art Beat, South Bend

When: August 17, 2019

An explosion of art in all forms and styles erupts in downtown South Bend during the annual Art Beat celebration, where the beat definitely goes on….and on and on! The community’s ode to all things creative celebrates artists displaying their inspired works, dancers whirling onstage, chefs showing off gastronomic wonders, and plenty of kid fun too. The free event takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, August 17.


Marshall County Blueberry Festival, Plymouth

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.

The Valparaiso Popcorn Festival, Valparaiso

When: September 7, 2019

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.