In Shipshewana, there are places to shop, food to eat, and fun things to do all year round! The winter time is actually a perfect time to visit for a getaway, family time, downtown shopping, or a relaxing weekend with friends. Locals and frequent visitor’s are probably already getting ready for the annual Ice Festival & Chili Cookoff, but did you know there’s a Friday Hot Wing Sauce competition now?
And after January, the winter fun keeps going! Here are some ideas to keep you busy enough to beat those winter blues:
The Parks are Open for Outdoor Fun!
The LaGrange County Parks are all open throughout the winter. Winter activities, walking trails, birding, and seasonal events keep the parks hopping, so make sure you check out their calendar. In 2024 you can experience things like Breakfast with the Birds, the Sap Run & Syrup Stroll 5K Fun Run in March, and the Leap Year Nature Walk.
All the parks have amazing things to offer this time of year, and make sure you check out the Wetlands Observation Deck at Dallas Lake Park; it’s not just people who are out and about in the wintertime!
When the snow is thick on the ground, make sure you visit Bonneyville Mill County Park. It offers cross-country skiers miles of challenging terrain and beautiful scenery, making it one of the most popular cross-country ski areas in the region. You’ll also find some great little sledding hills that are sure to excite the kids, and the kid in you.
Bid at the Shipshewana Antique Auction
The Shipshewana Antique & Miscellaneous Auction is a not-to-be-missed experience. Each Wednesday morning, all year-round, the huge indoor auction space fills up with an astounding variety of objects, antiques, collectibles, (and people!). Always exciting and unique, you’re sure to find something amazing; from one-of-a-kind items, to home decor, to you’re next upcycling project, you’ll find things you just can’t find anywhere else.
Don’t really need anything? Doesn’t matter. There are anywhere from 6 to 10 auctioneers every week, all running auctions at the same time, so going to listen and people-watch is completely legit. Go at 8am to check out the goods. Bidding starts at 9am and can last well into the afternoon. If you’re lucky you may get to see a bidding war for a particularly sought-after piece!
Hungry? The Auction Restaurant is ready to serve you up some diner favorites, home-made comfort food, or Amish pie. You can’t bid on an empty stomach!
Grab your friends and family and head to Pajama Day!
Kick off February with a great time! Grab friends and family and plan to spend a day at the annual Pajama Day Sales! For over 20 years, this beloved tradition has grown and now attracts visitors from all over the Midwest. Shopping all over Shipshewana in your PJs means special one-day-only deals and sales at participating shops, and they open early, so plan accordingly!
This year, there’s a “Best PJs” contest with prizes provided by the Shipshewana Retail Merchants Association, including a return overnight stay! Categories include: Best Group of PJs, Craziest PJ outfit, Cutest Kid PJs and Farthest distance traveled PJs.
Shipshewana inns, hotels, and B & Bs are available to book your reservations so you can roll out of bed and go!
Enjoy or Plan a Crafting Retreat at the Farmstead Inn & Conference Center!
Throughout the year, there are a number of conferences, meetings, retreats, and group gatherings held at the Farmstead Inn & Conference Center. If you’re a crafter, quilter, or scrapper looking for a group or gathering during the winter this is a great option to check into.
Just call and ask for the Conference Coordinator. They can tell you if there are any upcoming bookings that fit your interests and get you all of the details. If you’d like to plan your own retreat, they can help you with that as well.
The Blue Gate can provide Dinner & a Show!
Make a full night of fun at the The Blue Gate Music Hall! Located in the heart of Shipshewana and above the famous Blue Gate Restaurant & Bakery, visitors can enjoy fine shopping, delicious Amish home-style food, and a first-class show. (*Note: The Restaurant and Bakery are closed until Jan. 18th for remodeling.) The Blue Gate Music Hall is a 325 seat theater specializing in the very best of Broadway-style musicals, from Amish Country. They also offer great package deals, with or without a stay at their amazing hotel.
Want some big-name concert performances instead? Just down the road you’ll find the Blue Gate Performing Arts Center. The calendar is packed with good times waiting to happen, so feel free to plan a multi-day stay, because the Blue Gate Garden Inn is literally located right next door to the PAC!
Upcoming shows this winter include Scotty McCreery, Ronnie McDowell, Highway 101, Elle King (SOLD OUT), Wichita Lineman (A Tribute to George Jones), Jordan Davis, Air Supply, Lee Brice, Tesla, Rodney Atkins, the Righteous Brothers, Michael Flatley: Lord of the Dance, Terri Clark & Deana Carter, and John Waite, just to name a few.
Get Your Blood Pumping!
This year you can sign up for the Sap Run & Syrup Stroll 5K Fun Run! It starts Saturday, Mar 9 2024 at 10am and registration information will be coming soon on the park website or Facebook page. Packet pick up is at 9:30 am. The run/stroll begins at 10:00 am for walkers & runners of all ages and ability levels. The 5K run and 1 mile walk will be over handicap accessible limestone trails and the adjoining paved road.
PLUS: The sugar shack will be open for free public tours from 9am – 3pm and maple syrup will be for sale.
Enjoy Maple Syrup Days!
Dress warmly to spend as much time as possible outside and enjoy all Maple Syrup Days has to offer!
- “All You Can Eat” pancakes – Breakfast served 7:00 am – 1:30 pm by the South Milford Lions Club (cash or check please.)
- Sugar Shack tours
- Maple syrup themed children’s stories and shows
- Horse drawn wagon rides into the Sugar Bush
Maple Syrup Days are held the third full weekend in March: March 16 & 17th, 2024 from 7am – 2pm. Parking, event entry and activities are free!