Monthly Archives: December 2019

I am Blessed to Live in Shipshewana

I love living in Shipshewana, IN and I think the best way to explain it is to tell you about my day this past Saturday. Just 1 good day out of many, but a little snap shot of some of the things I hold dearest.

So I got up pretty early to meet the guys from church for one of the fellows’ birthday. We met at the Blue Gate for breakfast. Walking in the front doors gave me this feeling of pride for my hometown. The Blue Gate family always does it up right, creating the atmosphere and delivering an experience worthy of 5 stars (out of 5 of course). They always put out a great spread on their buffet, and our group enjoyed our time of food and fellowship.

Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery

A little while later, I took 3 of our kids with me to Yoder’s Department store. They wanted to spend some of their Christmas cash from their grandparents. As we walked in, we were greeted by the smell of freshly popped popcorn. My daughter, age 5 who happens to be a seasoned Yoder’s Hardware shopper, excitedly proceeds to inform her older brothers about the free popcorn here. I often find myself wondering which childhood memories will stick, and come up in conversations as the kids get older. I wonder if this might be one of them…. Remember when we would go to Yoder’s and eat popcorn? Saturday was one of our rare “in no hurry” type of days, and we leisurely strolled the aisles browsing the many items on display. I was impressed with the variety of vintage toys, and found my mind going back to my childhood. One of my sons picked out a pocket watch, of all things. As soon as we were all paid up, we got that thing out and put ‘er to use. The rest of the day was spent confirming the time frequently and flaunting his chain of bling. We walked out of Yoder’s to the sound of live music and the sight of some over the hill chaps enjoying the hickory rockers while taking in the sights and sounds around them.

Yoder Department Store
Yoder’s Hardware

Since the weather was mild that day, we decided to play follow the leader while riding our bicycles around town. I’m pretty sure this is a memory that will resurface years down the road. We love cruising the sidewalks around the pond at the Farmstead Inn, through the covered bridge, and around the pond at Menno-Hof. What’s Menno-Hof, the kids asked. A museum I am embarrassed I haven’t taken you guys to, I replied. As we pedal on, I am thinking, this is crazy! I would probably drive for hours to visit a place like this, to help my kids understand their heritage, and here is a world class place right in my back yard. I am thinking, man, what a perfect opportunity for all of us merchants to learn more about our area’s culture. Definitely on my bucket list for this next year.

Menno-Hof Museum

Later that evening, we are heading to the MEC for the show, Noel. As we turn down State Road 5, I about had a fit! Long lines from both North and South waiting to turn in at Lights Of Joy. This warms my heart for a couple of reasons. Of course, I love seeing fellow Merchants be successful, seeing Shipshewana be successful. But what I REALLY love is seeing our little town provide wholesome entertainment and atmosphere to our Visitors. A place where memories are made with those most important. Get off it, my oldest son tells me as I evidently excessively rant and rave about the great turnout that evening.

Majestic Noel

If you have not seen Noel, go. This show is a class act! I was brought to tears a few times during the show as the cast passionately performed a Christmas-themed musical using some beautiful horses. And I’m here to tell you, Jesus was not just a small part of this show, He was what He ought to be… the Star! So one minute I was crying, the next minute I was laughing, and at one point I could not even watch the Elf on the high swing for fear I would fall off my seat (she is one crazy Elf!). As we were walking out, some folks asked us how late Lights Of Joy was open. I don’t know but I can make a call to find out, I replied. I was tickled to be able to prove that this is my hometown, and here in Shipshewana we know each other.

Lights of Joy

Driving home, this family of 8 was discussing the show and singing snatches of some of the catchiest Christmas tunes we had heard. Discussing how there were still quite a few cars driving through Lights Of Joy, and how Dad should still Get Off It already. Making memories. I look around the buggy at my family, feeling blessed beyond measure. There is nothing less than a dull roar coming from the back seat as the kids talk over each other in excitement, and one checks his pocket watch for the time. Smile. I love raising my family here. Shipshewana is my town I think, as we drive past the decked-out-to-the-max shops downtown.

Downtown Shipshewana

Thanks, Father God, I don’t deserve this. But thanks.

Jay Chupp, co-owner of E&S Sales


For me, the holiday’s in Shipshewana are the most wonderful time of the year. This year is no exception. Let me share with you 5 Shipshewana events that absolutely dazzle me and are bound to dazzle you too.


This event is bigger and better than last year. My wife and I took our grand-boys through, over Thanksgiving weekend. They had a great time. They mentioned and talked about each presentation and kept seeing Santa and the Reindeer playing football. They couldn’t wait to get to the BIG castle near the end that they kept seeing as we wound around. Our sons and their wives enjoyed the drive through as well. This was a first rate presentation. The “Lights of Joy” drive through is an appropriate name and is available Thursday through Sundays now through December 29th. To learn more including times and cost go to LIGHTS OF JOY


Our town is made up of over 100 small family owned and operated businesses that offer unique products in a relaxed shopping atmosphere. Not only do I get unique quality gifts but I help families to realize their dreams, give support to their community, and support local schools and charities.

A typical shopping day is a relaxing time as I have breakfast then shop, take a break for coffee and a scone and shop some more. I start my afternoon with lunch then shop some more and then I decide where to spend my time for supper. After supper take the time to walk around town to see the businesses all lite up for Christmas. I find such unique gifts that everyone appreciates. Go to SHIPSHEWANA.COM to browse through all that Shipshewana has to offer.


Kids Day and Santa’s Visit is Saturday, December 7. I know this is a day that your children and grandchildren will absolutely love. We begin in YODER’S RED BARN SHOPPES. Pick up your itinerary, participate in reindeer games and other fun activities. Chat with Elsie the Elf then travel around town to find activities and prizes through out town. These are interactive activities designed just for children but I’m sure that each parent will enjoy as well.

Santa parades through town in a horse-drawn carriage and ends his journey at the FARMSTEAD EXPO BARN. Your children will have time to visit with Santa between 10am to 3pm. Santa will be passing out goodie bags and have fun activities while the children are there. While at the Expo barn enjoy the WINTER WONDERLAND walk through. To learn more go to KIDS DAY AND SANTA’S VISIT


This is a ME day! I love going and picking up Christmas decorating ideas and hand-made Christmas gifts for my family and friends. This event takes place this Saturday, December 7. The indoor event features a pop-up market of antiques, crafts, handmade items, primitive, artisan goods, furniture, salvage, home & garden decor, baked goods, gifts, and more. For more information go to SHIP-CHIC CRAFT AND VINTAGE SHOW


Is a wonderful event to experience. The SHIPSHEWANA ICE FESTIVAL takes place on December 27th & 28th. Many of the retailers will have blocks of ice sitting in front of their stores waiting for that professional ice sculptor to come and reveal what that block is waiting to become. In the past those blocks of ice have become an ice sleigh, an ice piano, and a nativity scene all made of ice. The professional carvers compete where they have 3 hours to reveal their skill and creativity to determine who is the master carver of the festival. It is so amazing to see the combination of fire and ice as they create their sculptures.

A chili cook-off takes place during the lunch hour on Saturday where you can enjoy the various chefs chili recipes and vote on who you think has the best. Not sure they will give away their secret recipe but you can always ask. A great way to warm up and have fun during a cold day. To learn more go to SHIPSHEWANA ICE FESTIVAL

Our guests to Shipshewana talk about how when they reach our town they feel a release of tension and stress. They talk about the relaxing atmosphere and the friendliness of the retailers and residence of our town. Everyone in Shipshewana wants to be sure you have an unforgettable experience.

I most appreciate that Shipshewana is a small town that has retained its values. On Christmas day we take a break to allow you to spend the day with your family. Outside of hotels and gas stations you will find that the retailers and restaurants are closed.

Come home to Shipshewana where you can enjoy our small town values in a relaxing atmosphere while finding that unique gift for someone special.