Things to Do

Discover Indiana’s Best Festivals and Fairs This Summer

Summer is the season when Indiana comes alive and the air is filled with the sounds from all sorts of festivals and fairs (and happy humans).

Whether you like car shows, carnivals, street fairs or music festivals, you can find a rich array of things to do and people to see, much of which celebrates the state’s culture, heritage and community spirit – whether you’re a local or a visitor. 

It would be impossible to list all of Indiana’s summer fairs and festivals in any great detail, but here is a roundup of some of our top favorites for you to explore with friends, family or even on your own:

The Indiana State Fair

When: Aug. 2 – Aug. 18

Where: Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis

The Indiana State Fair is the state’s premier summer event, offering a mix of agricultural exhibitions, entertainment, food and fun for all ages over 250 acres of land. Some of the highlights include grandstand concerts with live performances from the area’s top emerging artists and bands – but every day of the fair is different. You can take in the Indy 1500 Gun & Blade Show and the Midwest Reptile Show on different days or check out the Indiana Vintage Market. 

There are also livestock shows, educational exhibits, all the classic carny games you know and love – and tons of rides. And talk about food! From BBQ pig wings and “Bratchos” to chocolate glazed popcorn and deep-fried corn on a stick, this is Midwestern fair food at its absolutely most decadent. 

The Three Rivers Festival

When: July 12 – 20

Where: Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne’s Three Rivers Festival is a nine-day celebration that captures the essence of summer as it has been doing since the summer of 1969! Some must-see attractions include a parade featuring floats, local bands and community groups, an “Art in the Park” showcase of regional artisan goods and crafts and tons of music lineups on the Hoosier Lottery festival stage. 

There are also tons of interactive activities and entertainment for the kids (and the young at heart), and the whole shebang wraps up with a spectacular fireworks display to close out the festival.

The Elkhart Jazz Festival

When: June 20 – 23

Where: Elkhart

The 36th Elkhart Jazz Festival is coming to the Summer of ‘24, with more than 100 hours of music and world-class jazz performances. Check out notables like Connie Han Trio, Keb’ Mo’, Bria Skonberg and the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra.

This is a veritable “must-visit” for music lovers with multiple stages, where you can check out both the renowned and well-known jazz musicians and the emerging talents that will one day rule the stage. There are also tons of educational or jam sessions with budding musicians. 

While making your plans, don’t forget to book a room in the historic Hotel Elkhart, where the past and the present weave together in celebration of the whole city’s jazzy past.

The Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival

When: May 31 – June 1

Where: Franklin

Interest in fiber crafts has exploded in the last few years, partly related to the desire to incorporate natural elements into home decor and the desire many people have to connect the past with the present – so the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival is going to be huge.

There’s free parking, free admission and workshops on weaving, crochet, knitting, dying fabric, spinning, wet felting and needle arts (and scholarships available for folks who can’t afford the fees). You can even learn beginner peg loom weaving and macrame! Plus, this is a beautiful opportunity to explore some of the fabulous fiber creations and tools the artisans bring, including pure alpaca wool and handmade jewelry and accessories.

The Marshall County Blueberry Festival

When: Aug. 30 – Sept. 2

Where: Plymouth

The Marshall County Blueberry Festival is Indiana’s largest festival – and one of the most popular, drawing visitors from all over the region throughout Labor Day weekend. Key attractions include blueberry treats and sweets ─ from pies to pancakes, jams and jellies and much, much more. 

You’ll also find tons of carnival rides and games to keep the family occupied, and you can browse the wares of numerous crafters and vendors. If you want a full weekend of fun and live entertainment from the likes of NightShift, Amarillo Sky or Silly Safari, you won’t be disappointed. You can also take in an amateur talent show and maybe spot the “next big thing” coming to the area. 

The Tippecanoe County 4-H Fair

When: July 21 – July 29

Where: Lafayette

The Tippecanoe County 4-H Fair is a community-focused event that offers a classic fair or festival experience – just like the kind you remember from your youth!  See livestock and other projects from local 4-H members, take in live guitar music and all the requisite rides and attractions that will be there. 

You won’t want to miss the hilarity of the Animal Calling contest or the Greased Watermelon contest, because the results are always unpredictable. While you’re there, indulge yourself a little in all the classic fair food favorites, from elephant ears and funnel cakes to corn dogs and deep fried Oreos – because once they’re gone, you’ll have to wait until next year to enjoy them again!

The IndyFringe Theatre Festival

When: August 15 – 25

Where: Indianapolis

For those who appreciate the arts, the IndyFringe Theatre Festival is a dynamic celebration of live performance with 11 full days of fascinating events over 300 performances spanning genres that include comedy, drama, dance and cabaret. 

There are acts coming from all over the United States, Germany and Canada, with this year’s lineup featuring one national premier event, 17 world premieres and 29 regional premiers. Support and enjoy the work of new and innovative performers, relax and socialize while enjoying local craft brews, take in sketch comedy, storytelling, Queer theater, ballet, modern dance and poetry slams – and engage with buskers strategically located all over the grounds.

The Fishers Renaissance Faire

When: October 5 – 6 

Where: Fishers

Who doesn’t love a good Ren Faire? Step back in time at the Fishers Renaissance Faire, a lively celebration of Medieval history and culture. Key attractions include jousting, swordplay between knights in shining armor and actors portraying historical characters. 

You’ll also find tons of utterly unique handmade crafts, clothing, jewelry and Medieval-themed merchandise, as well as dance, henna tattooing, Tarot readings and theatrical performances scattered all around the fairgrounds. And, naturally, there’s food galore – so grab a turkey leg and a hand-shaken lemonade and eat your fill!

Make the most of your summer 2024 by exploring these vibrant events and experiencing the unique charm of the Hoosier State. Mark your calendars and get ready for an unforgettable summer adventure!