Category Archives: All

How Amazing is the Shipshewana Pajama Day Sale

11 Reasons you should be in Shipshewana for Pajama Day Sale

The Shipshewana Pajama Sale has become a winter tradition for so many Shipshewana enthusiasts and this year’s celebration is sure to take the cake. Each year, we have tons of amazing people who enjoy an overnight stay in one of our beautiful Shipshewana hotels just so they can get out and catch the best deals in town for our Annual Pajama Day event.

Below is a list of 11 Amazing Reasons You Have to Shop in Shipshewana for Our Annual Pajama Day Event!

  • 1.Its like a costume party for shoppers

People watch and get ideas for next year’s annual trip to Shipshewana for this special once-a-year day of fun

2. Unique finds around every corner

Even the locals know where to be on Pajama Sale day! Shipshewana is home to 70+ specialty shops so you’re sure to find something unique for that perfect gift, decorate your home or many other shopping desires you have to fill your list for the year.

  • 3. Straight from bed to bargains without fuss

Don’t spend time fussing over your outfit, hair or other fashion nonsense, just throw off the covers and shop to your heart’s content.

  • 4. Deals and Bargains in nearly every store.

Shipshewana shops pull out all the great deals, but definitely hurry in early as that is when you catch the best bargains and many stores do require you to sport your PJs. (We don’t call it Pajama Day Sale for no reason.)

  • 5. Make New Friends

Meet other unbelievable Shipshewana shopping enthusiasts in their PJ’s while shopping all over town

  • 6. Create a Tradition

This is the 27th Annual event and many of our guests have been coming for years. Start a new tradition with your girlfriends, your daughter, your mother or the entire family.

  • 7. Indulge in Shipshewana treats without having to get out of the stretchy pants, PJ’s already fit that bill 😁
  • 8. Curlers never looked so good!

Come right out of bed, even in your curlers and no judgement… we pinkie promise

  • 9. It’s Fun the Whole Family can enjoy

Bring the whole family, and shop and play the day away. The kids (OK, adults too😊) will love the carousel at the Mercantile or the Music Store, Toy Store or Candy Store… Need we say more. Mom will love the amazing home décor, Dad will even love to indulge in some great tasting treats or man cave items and you never know what our merchants might have in stock each year at this time, because they are usually stocking up on the newest and latest products for the coming shopping season.

  • 10. Picture perfect setting for an unbelievable shopping experience
  • 11. It’s an excuse for a slumber party for all ages

Get your room early because they tend to book up quickly. This is the perfect opportunity to take part in a slumber party and stay up and laugh the night away with friends just like when you were in grade school.

What are you waiting for, if this list doesn’t convince you we don’t know what will? Join us in Shipshewana and see why shopping in your jammies will become a favorite before you know it.

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.

Make Memories in Shipshewana

Can you believe it is November 7. Only 7 weeks to Christmas.

Here in Shipshewana we have finally started to feel the cold with temperatures this morning at 29 degrees along with a beautiful dusting of snow.

This is the time of year we all look with wonder and anticipation. Those of us who love the cold and snow are anticipating the first blizzard while the others are anticipating the time they migrate south to enjoy warmer weather. We can all find common ground, however, with the wonder, joy, and fun that comes with the anticipation of Christmas.

Christmas in Shipshewana is the most special place you can experience and make Christmas memories. The Countdown to Christmas starts this Saturday, November 9, with the lighting of Shipshewana. The day includes so many fun activities to experience from the indoor flea market, the Lights of Joy, the downtown festivities with food and games, and ending the day with the largest light parade yet. There will be over 40 floats all lite up in the night sky while all of the stores have their lights and decorations burning bright.

The parade ends at the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery where you can witness the real reason we celebrate Christmas with a live nativity story and lighting of the large Christmas Tree.

Over the next several months, leading up to Christmas, there will a Chocolate Walk for charity November 16, Small Business Saturday November 30, Wananight out December 3, Kids Day with Santa December 7, and the season ending with the Ice Festival December 27-28. WOW. so much to be a part of while Making Memories in Shipshewana.

All of us in Shipshewana pray that you come and experience Shipshewana, the love of the babe in the manger, and the love that we have for you.

Come and Make Memories in Shipshewana.

Shipshewana Stories

1st in a Series of Travel Journals by Shipshewana Visitors

Shipshewana is full of traditions and visitors love creating memories here. We recently asked you to share some of your Shipshewana stories through photos and we can’t wait to share them all so you can discover how others are experiencing making family traditions in Indiana’s Amish Country.

Check out Rebecca’s story and learn how you can create your very own Traditions in Shipshewana year-round.

Rebecca’s Winning Photo Submission

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca (Cedar Springs, MI)

Rebecca has been coming to Shipshewana, IN with her family from Cedar Springs, MI for over 35 years, way before anyone even knew what Shipshewana was so she says. She remembers staying at the old Davis Hotel before it became the Davis Mercantile. One fond recollection of that visit she shared was “the doors weren’t locked and you just knew this was a town that you could feel safe in.”

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca (Cedar Springs, MI)

While a lot more people now frequent the area, and well let’s be honest, most of us do lock our doors… Shipshewana is still a wonderful place to visit and here are some of the reasons Rebecca keeps coming year-after-year, even bringing her grown children and grandchildren now too!

Why do you keep coming back to visit Shipshewana?

Photo Courtesy of

“One thing we really like and one reason we keep coming back is because the people in the area are just wonderful and they always treat you like you’re their friend. You can trust them. It’s just a very restful place and you feel like you’re at home.”

What events do you like to attend in Shipshewana?


Photo Courtesy of Rebecca (Cedar Springs, MI)

“We like going to the Haiti Benefit Auction. There are always doughnuts there and the kids… and we all… just love going to that.”

Special Events

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca (Cedar Springs, MI)

“We met a man who towards the end of July, has a “get-together” on his farm (Old Fashion Farming Days)with all the antique farm equipment and he tells us all about it. It’s just things like that. It seems like every time we come, there’s some new connection and you feel like you’ve known these people your whole life.”

Family Friendly

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca (Cedar Springs, MI)

“You can get together in the little gathering areas with different members of the family. It’s just very family friendly. We use the pool and the basketball courts. You just feel comfortable there.”

Biking the Backroads

What else do you love about Shipshewana?

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca (Cedar Springs, MI)

“We always go biking, even with the group.”

“I like finding the little places that nobody knows about, the backroads places, and biking the backroads. You can see the countryside so much more when you’re doing that.”

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca (Cedar Springs, MI)

“After hours and on Sundays, we enjoy the bike rides and when we have the grandkids, we always use the Pumpkinvine trail since it is a bit safer for the entire family to use together.”

“Of course, the shopping is a must-do, we always visit E & S Sales, Eash Sales and I just can’t get the fabric selections back home I can get here in the Shipshewana quilt shops.”

What final piece of advice would you give to a new Shipshewana Traveler?

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca (Cedar Springs, MI)

Plan your trip around activities. Shipshewana has something going on almost every week now it seems like. There are special activities that can really be fun for the kids. You just become part of the community while you’re there which I think is really the best part!”

For more amazing trip planning ideas, check out all the year-round events and festivals and craft your very own Shipshewana Tradition with us soon!

6 “Must See” Makers in Shipshewana

Are you a Maker?  Do you admire Makers?  Appreciate Quality Handcrafted items?

Shipshewana is blessed to be home of a number of gifted and talented Creators/Makers.  Here are just 6 you’ve got to see when you visit Shipshewana.

Kathy McClanahan’s Oil Paintings

Watch and visit with Kathy while she paints on just about anything you can think of including slate, canvas, windows, milk cans, and more.  Let Kathy customize a piece that provides the special memory of your visit to Shipshewana.    Located on the Board Walk in the heart of Shipshewana’s historic downtown at 140 N Harrison Street.

Cherry Pickers

What is a Cherry Picker?  A Cherry Picker reclaims old houses and barns and use the reclaimed wood to create amazing customized furniture.  Mark and Stephanie will help develop that idea that you didn’t think could be done and make it a reality. Their store front, a combination salvage yard and showroom of phenomenal handcrafted pieces is a destination that Makers love to visit.  Come and see their work in downtown Shipshewana at 160 N Morton Street.

2 Chicks and a Chair

Are there really 2 chicks with a chair?  You decide.  A unique shop where they take vintage furnishings and make them new again.  Are you looking for a unique, one of a kind, repurposed piece?   Discover a live edge slab made into a sofa table, end table, coffee tables, dining table and more with a variety of bases. Experience their work at 155 N Harrison Street.

Lambright Country Chimes

Making wind chimes is a labor of love for Orley Lambright.  Lambright chimes come in over 40 unique sizes and sounds.  Handcrafted in Shipshewana and shipped all over the country.  Visitors and tour groups are welcome to visit and watch the chimes being made and hear the story about a mistake turned into the chime making business.  Visit them at 8340 W US Highway 20.

Countryside Creations

Sit a spell on a beautiful handcrafted bench or choose from several other unique pieces.   Adorn your garden with a one-of a-kind plant hanger, flower pot holder, or trellis.  There is such a wide selection to choose from, you are sure to find something that you will like, but just in case you don’t, just ask and see what they can do to create something special for you.   Special orders are welcome.   They are located 2.5 miles north of Shipshewana at 5010 N SR 5.

Silver Star Leather

Located in the country side north of town.  A family owned and run business based from their home.  Loren Yoder, his family, and the other Amish craftsman handcraft and sell belts, wallets, and purses, all made from various leathers to ostrich.  Have a special piece you need; a holster, dog collar, knife sheath, or whatever you dream of talk with Loren to get that unique piece.  You will come back again and again to buy your leather goods. Located at 6875 N 800 W

SO, when visiting Shipshewana look for these Makers or seek out others throughout the Shipshewana area.

Yoder Popcorn Fun Fact

by Joanna King

What does Yoder popcorn and mint gum have in common? As it turns out…they have quite a history.

Did you know?

What started out as an accident soon became one of the most iconic names in chewing gum history… and it all started here in LaGrange County.

South of Shipshewana just before you get to Topeka, there’s a family business that raises and sells popcorn. Before there was popcorn in the 1930’s, the Yoder family raised mint in the 1910’s. This was a cash crop for many farmers in LaGrange County.

Photo of a mint plant
Mint was a cash crop for many LaGrange County farmers.

Here’s the rest of the story…

The year was 1936 when Tobias Yoder and his son Rufus who had been raising mint, started planting popcorn for their family enjoyment. They shared their popcorn with neighbors and family. It didn’t take long for word to get out that Yoder Popcorn was excellent popcorn.

Yoder Popcorn Entrance Sign
Yoder Popcorn located at 7680 W 200 S, Topeka, IN

Soon the Yoder’s were selling popcorn and mint. Years earlier Mr William Wrigley would come to the farm to buy the mint oil. One day, just before Mr Wrigley arrived it was discovered that the Yoders had inadvertently mixed the spearmint and peppermint oil. Tobias was nearly in a panic as mint was a cash crop and the family depended on the income from selling mint oil. Upon hearing about the mixup, Mr Wrigley’s response was “Well, I guess we are going to make a new kind of gum!” In 1914, Wrigleys Doublemint gum was introduced to the world.

Photo of Yoder Popcorn Store
Yoder Popcorn Store

Yoder Popcorn Today

Today, you can visit the Yoder Popcorn farm and store and purchase many different varieties of popcorn and popcorn oils.

Photo of a bag of Yoder's Tiny Tender Popcorn
Yoder’s Tiny Tender Popcorn

My favorite popcorn

Take it from me… Yoder’s Tiny Tender is my favorite and second to none. I pop mine with Peanut Oil, and finish it with sea salt and Lawry’s seasoning salt. Just YUM!

Learn About the Birds and Bees in Shipshewana

by Laurie Sherck

It seems that people are quite interested in the birds and the bees when they come to Shipshewana. I wanted to find out for myself the curiosity surrounding this interest, so I took a quick drive out into the Shipshewana countryside to talk with the experts themselves.  

Green Meadow Houses and Feeders

Green Meadow Houses and Feeders located in Shipshewana Amish Country.

My first stop took me to Green Meadow Houses and Feeders, located at 0725 N 840 W, Shipshewana. There I spoke with owner, Myron Hochstetler.   Myron’s father, John, never dreamed that his childhood interest in birds would eventually lead to a generational family business of building bird houses and feeders.   What started as a simple request to build a couple of birdhouses has led to a family operated business that makes approximately 60 units of bird houses and feeders a day that are sold locally, and shipped all around the United States.

Locally Designed and Hand-Made

Watch the making of bird houses and feeders at Green Meadow Houses and Feeders

John’s love and interest for birds has been passed down to his son, Myron who now owns the business. Myron has inherited his father’s love for birds. It was interesting to watch the bird feeders and houses being crafted, hear about how the business got started and to glean all sorts of bird facts from Myron and his father, John.    All of Green Meadow’s feeders are made out of long-lasting eco-friendly polywood.

Ask the Experts  

The Oriole Feeder is a popular seller. Feed Orioles with grape jelly and orange slices!

Myron shared with me all sorts of tips & tricks on what I can do attract the type of feathered friends I most enjoy.   Perhaps it’s songbirds like finches, chickadees, nuthatchers, or purple finches that you want to attract. Maybe you want Blue Birds, Gold Finches, Blue Jays, Cardinals or Woodpeckers to visit your back yard.  You name it. The Hochstetlers know exactly what type of feeder you need, the type of food to put in the feeder and the season that you are most likely see certain birds.    Put out your feeder with the right kind of food to attract the bird you want—and Waalaa…just watch what happens!

Select your Favorite

A large selection of bird houses and feeders to choose from.

The Hochstetlers have expanded their bird house production to include bat houses and butterfly houses.     Here’s something new I learned:  Place a Blue Bird house up in early April and Blue Birds will build nests up to 4 times a year.   I also found out, to control the insect population, put up a bat house. Bats feast on insects. And, did you know butterflies use butterfly houses to take shelter during the rain to protect their wings?

Plan Your Visit to Green Meadow Houses and Feeders

Green Meadow’s Shipshewana Flea Market location is booth 419

The more I talked with Myron, the more I appreciated and loved the idea of a bird feeder in my back yard.   His enthusiasm for bird watching is contagious.    Green Meadow bird feeders and bird houses are sold at various locations around Shipshewana, including booth #419 at the Shipshewana Flea Market.  However, if you have time, it’s a special treat to head to the location where the feeders and houses are actually made and talk with the bird experts themselves.

“B” Honey & Candles

“B” Honey & Candles located in Shipshewana Amish Country

My next stop lead me across US 20 and down another country road to B Honey & Candles, located at 2260N 1000W, Shipshewana.    Perry & Rosetta Bontrager own and operate this family owned business.    Perry chuckled when I asked him what made him decide to raise bees.   He smiled and shared that his interest in bees began with a “show & tell” project in 3rd grade.  He caught some bees, placed them in a jar with flowers, took it to school and shared what he knew about bees.   That was the “seed” that sparked his interest. Therefore, it didn’t take him long to say yes to a business opportunity to purchase his new wife’s family beehives nearly 35 years ago.  As the saying goes, the rest is history!.

Nature’s Natural Sweetener

Pure Honey

Today the Bontragers gather honey from approximately 50 different bee hives. Their products are sold around the Shipshewana area and shipped all over the U.S.    The amount of honey produced per year varies greatly depending on the weather. Perry told me they can harvest over 100 lbs of honey per hive in a good year.   Summer months are the busiest when it comes to producing honey.  The worker bees only live about 3 weeks in the summer. They literally “work themselves” to death gathering the nectar that makes the honey and then using their wings to fan the nectar in the honeycomb that causes evaporation creating sweet liquid honey.  “That’s likely where we got the term “busy as a bee’”, smiles Perry.   

That’s just Pure Beeswax

Handcrafted 100% Pure Beeswax Candles

The Bontragers operate a small family shop on their property where patrons can purchase the pure honey direct.   Honey production slows down in the fall and winter months, and that is when the Bontragers concentrate on making their all natural honey products.  They make pure beeswax candles, honey soap, chapstick & lotions and other all-natural products right there on “the home place”.   They also sell honey combs, beeswax, pollen and make and sell Apple Cider vinegar ( an all natural vinegar that take about 10 months to process).  

Visit the Farm

Small Store located at “B” Honey & Candles

I’m so glad I took the time to visit with Perry & Rosetta at “B” Honey & Candles.  It was a very interesting and informative visit, and gave me a new appreciation for Honey and Honey products.    If you visit Shipshewana in the fall you may find The Bontragers selling their honey and hand-made items at the Fall Crafter’s Fair in Shipshewana, and occasionally at other small fairs and markets. If you miss those opportunities, feel free to visit their little shop on the farm. 

So there you have it.  I certainly found out why people come to Shipshewana to learn about the Birds and the Bees.   The journey was fun and interesting, but don’t just take my word for it, come to Shipshewana and travel the backroads and discover all that awaits you.   

Laurie Sherck, Director of Shipshewana Retail Merchants, is a wife of 43 years, mother of 4, grandmother of 12 and loves to tell people why Shipshewana is so special…. Just ask her!

Shipshewana Spring Bucket List

by Laurie Sherck

Ready to say good-bye to grey skies and begin to celebrate Spring? I thought so! A road trip to Shipshewana just may be the ticket! Welcome and celebrate Spring with a few ideas of things to do from this Shipshewana Spring Bucket List.   

Ride Bike

Pumpkinvine Trail
Enjoy Amish Country by bike on the Pumpkinvine Trail
  • Pedal the Pumpkinvine Trail.  The ride passes through small towns, past Amish country schools and meanders past scenic farms.   Every third Saturday in June, around 1,000 people join in the annual Pumpkinvine Bike ride

Take a Horse and Buggy Ride

Buggy Rides & Tours
Tour the Amish Countryside in a horse and buggy
  • Buggy drivers have the best stories.  Rides and tours are available around Shipshewana and through the countryside. You can’t help but fall in love with the Amish country scenes. Even though I’m a local, it’s still one of my most favorite things to do. Check out all of the possibilities here.

Take in a Rodeo

Bull Fest at The MEC May 24th & 25th
Bull Fest will be at The MEC May 24th & 25th, 2019
  • The PBR Bull Fest is taking place at The MEC on May 24th & 25th. Top bull riders from across the nation are coming to Shipshewana!  If you can’t make it to Shipshewana those dates, there are some awesome equestrian events scheduled throughout the year.  I’m super excited about the upcoming Shipshewana’s Majestic Frontier!

Visit A Flea Market

Visit the Shipshewana Flea Market
You’ve never experienced shopping like this at the Shipshewana Flea Market
  • Shipshewana is home to the Shipshewana Flea Market, the midwest’s largest flea market filled to the brim with aisles and aisles of everything you can imagine!  The flea market is open every Tuesday and Wednesday, May through September and they will be open Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. This year they’ve added a couple of week-end markets as well (June 14th & 15th and Aug. 16th-17th).  I plan weekly trips to the Flea Market just to visit the awesome produce aisle.

Watch a Musical

A Simple Sanctuary at The Blue Gate Theatre
A scene from A Simple Sanctuary now showing at The Blue Gate Theatre
  • Blue Gate Theatre has a brand new musical this year- A Simple Sanctuary. Part suspense, part romance, A Simple Sanctuary is a compelling story of love tested, the cost of freedom, and the solace found in true community. The musical is based on the best-selling books by Beverly Lewis.  If you’ve never been to a musical at the Blue Gate Theatre, you’re in for a treat.   The theatre is elegant and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.  Blue Gate Theatre also hosts a wide variety of shows throughout the year at the Shipshewana Event Center, soon to be the New Blue Gate Performing Arts Center.

Plant some flowers

Flower gardens
Stop to admire the Flower gardens in Shipshewana

Visit a zoo

Dutch Creek Animal Farm Park in Shipshewana
Feed & pet the animals at Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park
  • Dutch Creek Animal Farm Park opened May 1st.  Feed, touch and pet a wide variety of animals from farm animals to exotic while on a guided horse drawn safari style wagon ride.  My grandkids look forward to this every year!  They are open Mon-Saturday, and will be open Memorial Day.  This farm is Amish owned and will be closed May 30th  to observe Ascension Day.

Go on a Picnic. 

Going on a picnic at the park
  • LaGrange County is home to some gorgeous lakes and beautiful town and county parks.  A family favorite is to pack a picnic lunch, head to one of the area parks for a hike, and some good ole’ R & R.

Visit a museum

Menno-Hof in the Springtime
  • Menno-Hof is the best place to start your pursuit of learning the ins and outs of Shipshewana.  This interactive museum allows you to take a fascinating hands-on journey through the unique history of Amish and Mennonite Cultures. Here’s a little favorite part is the tornado room.

Take a canoe trip

Kayaker on Fawn River
Meander down the Fawn River
  • If you enjoy the great outdoors, you’ll enjoy a leisurely paddle down the Fawn River with T & L Country Canoes. Breathe in the beauty of the serene scenes along the Fawn River.

For more ideas to add to your Shipshewana Spring Bucket list, check out the things to do at   Plan your visit to Shipshewana and order your Visitor’s Guide here.

Laurie Sherck, Director of Shipshewana Retail Merchants, is a wife of 43 years, mother of 4, grandmother of 12 and loves to tell people why Shipshewana is so special…. Just ask her!

New Blue Gate Performing Arts Center Announced

Shipshewana, IN- (March 14, 2019) This week, Blue Gate Theatre announced the construction of a new 1500+ seat, $3 million dollar theater space at the Blue Gate Performing Arts Center. The new theatre is set to break ground before May and will be completed by January 2020.  The rapid expansion of the Blue Gate’s Concert Schedule, limitations of the current space and improving customer experience all played key roles in the decision to build. 

Lobby rendering of Blue Gate Performing Arts Center

The number of visitors discovering the Blue Gate and Shipshewana has continually been growing since its founding in 1984, with the combined businesses hosting over a half million people in 2018. A large part of those steady increases can be accredited to the Entertainment Division whose constant effort to increase and improve their offerings has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors and led to an estimated $16.6 million-dollar economic impact for the new theatre. 

Rendering of new Theatre

The customers of the Blue Gate, known for its hospitality, were of course a key factor to the decision according to vice-president and co-owner Phil Heyerly, “What we really wanted to make sure we got right, above all else, is the customer experience. The new theatre will reduce the distance from the stage to the most distant seat by a third creating a much more intimate space, increase the number of patrons that can attend each concert and all while greatly improving the view from each seat.”

1500 + seating capability

The new space will also feature an increased staging area, allowing for the larger production shows many national touring acts often use.  “There are many performers who require the area above a stage and the mechanicals to support the lights and sound they travel with be a certain size or be configurable to their needs. Our current space fails to accommodate many of the more production-intensive shows, but the new space will solve many of these restrictions.” said Ryan Riegsecker, president and co-owner.

The project was also recently helped along with an economic development grant from the Town of Shipshewana and LaGrange EDC totaling $377,000 over 10 years. Town Manager Bob Shanahan stated the project, “is a good solid use of available funds… and this project will improve the community’s quality of place and create increased economic activity.”

Formerly known as Shipshewana Event Center

The Blue Gate Performing Arts Center was formerly known as the Shipshewana Event Center/Hudson Car Museum and is located at 760 S Van Buren St, Shipshewana, IN. Blue Gate Theatre, is a division of the Blue Gate Hospitality group. Sister organizations include the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery, Blue Gate Musicals, Blue Gate Garden Inn and Shipshewana Furniture Company.