Resting beneath the southern shore of Lake Michigan, Indiana is a state teeming with natural beauty and rich history. The state's famous limestone forms the backbone of Indiana's diverse natural attractions, including rivers, canyons, gorges, caverns, forests and more. Those who sneeze at the thought of the outdoors needn't avoid Indiana; the state is also home to several dynamic urban centers. Throughout the year, visitors and residents alike can take their pick of an abundance of festivals, attractions, cultural events, musical activities and more.
Beginning in 1852, this state fair has brought in some of the most famous people in the world, and still does. You can't top the Beatles, John Phillip Sousa, Elvis, The Jackson Five and four presidents: JFK, FDR, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. A million people attend annually to see farm animals, ride the rides, eat fair food and catch the free entertainment. It's the 6th oldest fair in the nation for good reason.
Performance and theater arts take over the Massachusetts Avenue Theater District downtown to feature 36 local and visiting thespian groups. Performances of one hour or less are accessible to everyone and include music and dance. Starting mid-August, there are 10 days of performing by artists from around the world.
- Johnny Appleseed and Archer Parks Fort Wayne, IN 46805 in Fort Wayne, IN
What are you doing the third Saturday of September? This festival entertains hordes of people with crafts, antiques and food. Find Johnny Appleseed behind one of the trees in the kids' area. The Farmers' Market has dried herbs, fresh vegetables and fruits, and there are old fashioned food booths as well. There also may be a blacksmith and other traditional demonstration artisans. Live entertainment and a living history area really make history come alive.
- Historic Neighborhood Madison, IN 47250 in Madison, IN
This Southern Indiana juried show for crafts and fine arts is eye-candy-plus. Mediums include: drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, jewelry, weaving, folk art, leather, glass, wood, baskets, fiber, paper, clay and art that you can wear. If that's not enough, try the great food and enjoy the live entertainment. Mark the calendar for the last weekend of September and your viewing pleasure.
- Shipshewana, Ind. in Shipshewana, IN
May through September, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, this huge flea market offers some incredible finds, including fresh flowers and produce and handcrafted furniture. Handmade arts and crafts lure interested buyers and browsers, and there are hundreds of other items to ponder. The Auction Restaurant is on the grounds for hungry shoppers. The flea market has daytime hours, usually 8a-5p.
- West Lafayette, Ind. in West lafayette, IN
Points for originality go to this unique and truly American festival celebrating the annual gathering of the French and Native Americans in the mid-1700s at Fort Ouiatenon. The reenactment of this gathering at the fur-trading post includes authentic food, gunfire and smoke from wood fires; who can resist that? The romantic setting on the banks of the Wabash River southeast of town gives the reenactment a 1700s flavor, and the first weekend of October offers pleasant temperatures. It's a great opportunity to experience something different and historic.