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.
- 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.
November may be an unusual month for a "state fair," but this festival is a nice three-day event on the third weekend and a reminder that summer will return. The Indiana Fair Grounds is the place for live music and great food from all around the world as well as local fair favorites. A specialist crafts market, carnival rides, entertainment and cultural exhibits round out the festival. Start the holiday celebrations off with a bang.
- Downtown Wakarusa, IN 46573 in Wakarusa, IN
Pancake lovers rejoice; the end of April is syrup pouring time downtown. You and 16,000 other visitors can see a sugar camp and tour the museum before heading to the carnival rides. The parade and free popcorn really ice the cake, and there are food vendors galore. Be sure to see the handmade arts and crafts, too, at this 45-year-old annual tradition.
- Downtown Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN 46204 in Indianapolis, IN
On the Saturday before the Memorial-Day-weekend race, this giant parade wends through downtown thrilling 300,000 spectators. It's televised and on the level of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena.
From mid-May through Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, events are scheduled leading up to the legendary Indy 500, auto racing's largest purse. Since 1957, this festival has drawn crowds of half a million people, some attending civic events, kids' festival activities and pre-race races. The 1.5 million TV viewers on top of the 450,000 spectators at the race make this over-a-century-old "greatest race in the world." The big parade caps it off, so come on down.
This juried art fair brings in 270 artists from all over the country for a mid-June weekend. This annual event has run for almost six decades, and showcases fine crafts and fine art in a four-block area along Talbot Street and in the historic Herron-Morton area; it's free to the public.