March 31, 2010
Food Fairs and Festivals

Eating is intended to be a social event, a time where people enjoy good fellowship and conversation over a meal and drink. For generations, people have celebrated over food – whether it was to mark harvests like Thanksgiving or holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah; to commemorate significant family events such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals; to bring together neighbors for an annual block party; or for a myriad of other reasons. Food is a socializing experience.

Today, many communities celebrate the fruits of the land with fairs and festivals. These special events, held all across the state of Indiana as well as around the nation, attract thousands of people to eat, listen to music, participate in crafts, learn about agricultural production, and just have fun. This section will highlight monthly the many food fairs and festivals across the state.

For additional information, including a complete listing of the year’s festivals, visit the website of the Indiana State Festivals Association, a nonprofit organization that helps to promote the state’s festivals and events. And, check the Indiana Humanities Council’s calendar

Here’s what’s coming up in April:

Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival, April 16-17
This two-day event, sponsored by the Wakarusa Chamber of Commerce, celebrates maple syrup with a maple sugar camp where visitors can observe the making of maple syrup, maple syrup baking contests, and pancake breakfasts. The days are filled with assorted craft demonstrations, a festival car show, a parade, concerts, and assorted competitions.

Ferdinand Herb and Garden Days, April 17-18
This popular annual event attracts gardeners and shoppers seeking herbs, heirloom plants, and antiques. The festival includes a special dinner by a master gardener (reservations and separate fee), assorted gardening seminars, and plant and garden accessory sales at local merchants.

A Taste of Brown County, Nashville, April 23-24
Located in the historic village of Nashville, A Taste of Brown County allows visitors to sample specialty dishes from more than 30 participating restaurants. There is no admission charge, though visitors require food tickets to sample the restaurants’ offerings. 

Indiana Wine Fair, Story, April 24
The Story Inn, located south of Nashville in Brown County, hosts the annual Indiana Wine Fair. The event, which includes food and live music, features all Indiana wineries. Admission charge. 

Mansfield Village Mushroom Festival, Mansfield, April 24-25
Mansfield Village, located in Parke County, will host its Mushroom Festival, which features a mushroom hunt, mushroom auction, and the biggest mushroom contest. The event includes a car show, oldies concert, shopping, and vendors.

Sassafras Tea Festival and Civil War Living History, Vernon, April 24-25
The Jennings County Historical Society hosts this two-day event, which features homemade pies, hot meals, and free samplings of sassafras teas. The weekend includes Civil War re-enactments. Admission charge.

Redbud Trail Rendezvous, Rochester, April 24-25
The Fulton County Historical Society sponsors this event, which is named for the redbud trees that line the Tippecanoe River. The festival includes re-enactors, craft demonstrations, and foods cooked over wood fires. Admission charge.

Orleans Dogwood Festival, Orleans, April 25-May 2
The Dogwood Capital of Indiana hosts this 42nd annual festival in historic Congress Square in downtown Orleans. The event, which will honor 4-H leaders and participants this year, includes a parade, town-wide yard sales, assorted contests and tournaments, a carnival midway, and various food booths and special meals.

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