Spanning the Midwest and Great Lakes region, the state of Indiana boasts an eclectic mix of landscapes and culture. From the man-made Tibetan temples and imposing architecture to the natural sand dunes, spooky labyrinths and deep caves, it’s a place of true wonder and intrigue, and attracts large numbers of visitors each year.
Indiana and the state capital of Indianapolis play host to a huge number of annual festivals and fairs, many of which celebrate the region’s rich culture and history. If you’re planning a trip to Indiana during 2020, we’ve dug deep and picked out the best festivals and fairs taking place here across the year.
Festival of Trees
There’s nothing that symbolises the festive season quite like a Christmas tree. Each year the Indiana History Center plays host to magnificent exhibition of almost 100 elaborately designed and decorated trees, all packed into the venue’s grand building, and comprising everything from balloons to tyres to books. Visitors also get the chance to vote for their favourite tree during the event.
LOCATION Indiana History Center DATES 4 January 2020
The Indy 1500 Gun & Knife Show
Founded more than 25 years ago, this large gun & knife show is a quintessentially American trade fair that would raise eyebroews in Europe but to natives is one of the most natural things in the world. Drawing weapons enthusiasts from far and wide, the show offers a vast array of products including shooting supplies, ammunition, reloading equipment, gun cases, pistol & rifle magazines, collector items, custom handmade gun cabinets, and plenty more.
LOCATION Indiana State Fairgrounds DATES 10-12 January 2020
World of Wheels
Petrol heads visiting Indiana in February are in for a treat thanks to the World of Wheels custom car show coming to town. Featuring some of the finest collections and individual automobiles in the US, the Indiana edition of this national road show features a ‘best in show’ competition for car owners, along with celebrity autograph sessions and chop shop demonstrations among other activities.
LOCATION Indiana State Fairgrounds DATES 7-9 February 2020
If you’re a sucker for a cocoa-based treat, then this Chocolate Festival in the historic town of French Lick will come as sweet satisfaction. Held each year for over a decade, the festival invites visitors to sample their way through a tantalising assortment of chocolatey creations, all concocted by the festival’s in-house pastry team. There are also cooking demos, a mixology class and live entertainment.
LOCATION French Lick Resort, French Lick DATES 8 February 2020
Hamilton County Maple Madness
The delectable condiment of maple syrup is much loved around the world, but nowhere more so than in the US of A. In Hamilton County each year, this cherished foodie item is celebrated at Maple Madness, which features a whole host of maple-themed activities and attractions, all of which serve to educate and inform about the oozing treacle that’s sourced from the humble maple tree. There’s also live music and plenty of food on offer.
LOCATION Bray Family Homestead Park, Noblesville DATES 7 March 2020
Jay County Fiber Arts Festival
Live demonstrations, classes, vendors, sheep shearing, entertainment and a dedicated kids’ area are among the regular attractions at this two-day event in Jay County, which is centred around unique fibres of every kind. This year the festival moves to Jay Community Center, where visitors will get to see how fibres are turned into yarn, and join in with a whole host of other fun-packed activities.
LOCATION Jay Community Center, Portland DATES 13-14 March 2020
The iconic LEGO bricks played a major role in many of our childhoods and every year Indiana State Fairgrounds attracts huge numbers of LEGO enthusiasts for this action-packed festival. The event plays host to an array of LEGO-themed activities, including play brick areas, imaginative displays, and the chance to meet and engage with a wide range of talented artists and engineers whose words of wisdom will inspire your next LEGO creations.
LOCATION Indiana State Fairgrounds DATES 21-22 March 2020
Crossroads Acoustic Fest
Music lovers who enjoy pure, unembellished acoustic sounds are in for a treat at this two-night festival featuring a diverse line-up of musicians and intimate performances. In contrast to traditional music festivals, during the performances all audience members are asked to give their full attention to the stage, ensuring a quiet and immersive listening experience for all.
LOCATION Seymour DATES 24-25 April 2020
Indiana Wine Fair
Wine has been produced in Indiana since the early days of European colonisation in the 18th century and today the state is home to several acclaimed wineries. One of the region’s largest and longest running wine events, the Indiana Wine Fair celebrates this heritage by welcoming aficionados of the fermented grape to the small town of Story to sample everything from rieslings to malbecs to cabernets, and more. Open to everyone over the age of 21, the fair is now in its 18th year and continues to attract large numbers of wine lovers from far and wide, keen to immerse themselves in the rich and diverse world of Indiana wines. All attendees receive a Story Inn keepsake wine glass as a memento.
LOCATION Story Inn, Nashville DATES 2 May 2020
Campbellsburg Country Festival
Designed to celebrate the rich history and heritage of the town of Campbellsburg, this popular country festival puts on a range of exhibits showcasing antique farm machinery and other curios and collectibles. There’s also a beauty pageant, a talent show, a 5k run, a car show, a baking contest, and plenty of other fun-filled activities for all the family.
LOCATION Campbellsburg DATES 5-7 June 2020
Featuring over twenty top notch performers across three stages, Middle Waves is one of Fort Wayne’s most eagerly awaited annual music festivals. Held over two days each year, the event offers up an electric line-up of musical acts, along with engaging and interactive art installations, mouth-watering food trucks, a range of beverages, and plenty of kids’ activities too.
LOCATION Electric Works Complex, Fort Wayne DATES 12-13 June 2020
Hancock County Fair
Come and enjoy the thrills and spills of a quintessential agricultural-based county fair in Hancock, offering up live entertainment, exhilarating rides, exhibits, farm animals, livestock shows, tractors and a glut of street food options. The event provides a great opportunity for local community members to display and purchase any number of agri-themed products.
LOCATION Hancock County Fairgrounds, Greenfield DATES 19-26 June 2020
This two-day festival showcases the very best in musical equipment from over 500 manufacturers. As well as the myriad of wares on display, there’s also hands-on demonstrations, workshops and performances, plus the chance to meet industry figures to learn more about the latest trends and innovation in the music equipment sector.
LOCATION Sweetwater HQ, Fort Wayne DATES 26-27 June
Superb local, regional and national talents take to the streets of downtown Fort Wayne to celebrate the long-standing culture of busking. Visitors can look forward to every type of street act, ranging from living statues, chalk artists and aerialists to fire dancers, jugglers and mime artists. Since the entertainment is free to watch, patrons are encouraged to tip the performers to reward their efforts.
LOCATION Downtown Fort Wayne DATES 27 June 2020
Three Rivers Festival
Attracting almost 500,000 visitors each year, the not-for-profit Three Rivers Festival if a family-friendly occasion revolving around food, entertainment and unadulterated fun. Among the regular highlights are a Food Alley, Art in the Park, Bed Race, Three Rivers Festival Parade, Trivia Night, and Children’s Fest. There are also plenty of souvenirs to pick up and take home with you.
LOCATION Three Rivers North, Fort Wayne DATES 10-18 July 2020
Indiana Microbrewers Festival
Indiana’s craft beer scene has been growing by the year and now this burgeoning sector has its own festival in the shape of the Indiana Microbrewers Festival. Providing a platform for microbreweries from Indiana and beyond, the event showcases some of the very best craft beer the region has to offer, helping to increase public awareness and appreciation of this locally produced amber nectar.
LOCATION Military Park DATES 25 July 2020
Tell City Schweizer Fest
First held in 1959 to honour the early Swiss-German settlers who arrived in Tell City, Perry County, and to coincide with the city’s centennial, the Schweizer Fest (translated as “Swiss Festival”) has grown into a hugely well-attended annual affair. The community-wide event plays host to a whole array of free live entertainment and activities for young and old. To give you a flavour of what to expect, there’s a queen pageant, talent show, athletic events, marketplace, craft brews, wine garden, lashings of tasty food, and more.
LOCATION City Hall Park & Main Street, Perry County DATES August 2020
Indiana State Fair
One of America’s biggest state fairs, revellers flock here each year to enjoy the glut of amusement park rides, farm animals, music concerts, and circus acts. Some of the major highlights each year include Super City, a hands-on interactive exhibit that allows kids to feel like a superhero; the Wine Garden, serving up award winning regional tipples; and the Animal Town interactive experience featuring eight species of barnyard animals.
LOCATION Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis DATES 7-23 August 2020
Madison Ribberfest BBQ & Blues
BBQs and Blues come together in perfect harmony for this 2-day event that sees some 50 professional barbecue teams from across the US go head to head in a hotly-contested Cook-Off. Budding pit-masters can also test their talents in an amateurs’ competition and there’s even a chance for the kids to try their hand at barbecuing. All the fire-based action takes place against the backdrop of top class Blues music performed by local and national talents. There’s also pig riding, a 5k run, and a children’s play area.
LOCATION Bicentennial Park, Madison DATES 21-22 August 2020
Taste of the Arts
Fort Wayne’s vibrant arts community come together for this fun-packed festival that is open to all comers of every age and artistic predilection. There are local dancers, musicians, actors and buskers, as well as hands-on kids’ activities and the chance to peruse and purchase art work created by gifted local artists. Plenty of food and drink help keep visitors well refreshed throughout.
LOCATION Venues across Fort Wayne DATES 28-29 August 2020
Indy Jazz Fest
This festival sees venues across Indianapolis play host to the very best in international, local and amateur jazz, blues, gospel, soul and more. Some of the biggest names in music have appeared here down the years, attracting large numbers of jazz fans to popular venues such as the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, The Jazz Kitchen, and Indiana Landmarks Center. As well as the music, there’s also plenty of food and fun to be had.
LOCATION Indianapolis DATES 1 September 2020
Marshall County Blueberry Festival
Celebrating the humble but oh-so-delicious blueberry, visitors can look forward to delectable blueberry treats including pies, ice cream shakes, sundaes and cheesecakes. There’s also a range of activities to enjoy at this free-to-enter four-day event such as a 15k run, arts & crafts, fireworks, a classic car show, hot air balloons, and – perhaps the standout attraction – a Blueberry Festival Parade.
LOCATION Centennial Park, Plymouth DATES 4-7 September 2020
Grabill Country Fair
Crafts, delicious grub, kids’ games and a colourful parade are some of the major highlights of this annual country fair in the friendly town of Grabill. Much of the activity is centred around the town’s long-standing Amish heritage, with traditional Amish attire and craftwork on display. Prizes are awarded for the largest example of food items including gourds, cantaloupe, watermelon, sunflowers and corn stalks.
LOCATION Grabill DATES 10-12 September 2020
Brewed in the Fort
The very best in Indiana craft beers take centre stage at this one-day festival, which raises money for Fort Wayne Trails, an initiative focussed on developing a system of connected trails throughout Allen County. Up to 2,000 beer-lovers descend on the event each year, all tempted by the prospect of sampling a broad selection of locally produced brews while contributing to a worthy regional cause.
LOCATION Headwaters Park East, Fort Wayne DATES 13 September 2020
James Dean Festival
Held each year on the last weekend of September, this festival pays tribute to one of the town of Fairmount’s most iconic former residents – the Hollywood heartthrob James Dean. Featuring a number of events that honour the late famous actor, including the James Dean Run and a four-day long remembrance celebration, the festival is a good natured and upbeat affair that also sees car judging, flame throwing contests, music, trivia, a street fair, vendor booths, rides, and more.
LOCATION Fairmount DATES 25-27 September 2020