Festivals all a-flutter in four-county area

By Emeline Rodenas


People will soon see familiar seasonal items return — pumpkin flavored drinks, comfort food recipes and the pleasant feel of sweater weather.

However, nothing announces the arrival of fall more than fall festivals. Northeast Indiana is lucky to have many festivals from late August to the end of October.

One of my favorites is the Johnny Appleseed Festival, which is held in Fort Wayne the third weekend of September. Nothing beats the historical re-enactions, local vendors selling their homemade goods and the never-ending festival food, which includes a BBQ chicken meal from the Northrop High School band, ham and beans, hot cornbread and dessert in the form of ice cream with a side of cinnamon-flavored apples in syrup.

I attend every year and visit my favorite vendors. I stock up on Honeycrisp and Sweetango apples and local honey.

DeKalb County’s Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival started Aug. 27 and goes through Labor Day. The event offers a variety of activities that include a downtown cruise-in, the 9th annual Auburn Auction, a vintage antique sales, tours of Auburn’s various museums, the Auburn Historic Homes tour, a 5K run and walk, live concerts and a parade.

According to its website, the festival is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate and promote automobile heritage. The ACD Festival serves this mission by producing events that bring together automobile enthusiasts from all over the world for the celebration.

Proceeds from the festival support the long term stability and growth of the festival, and the automobile-related museums of northeast Indiana, including the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, The National Automotive and Truck Museum (NATM), and The National Military History Center.

In Noble County, the Kendallville Apple Festival began in 1985 as the vision of four local organizers. Over the years, the festival has branched out into different areas including a children’s area with games, activities, crafts and rides. A primitive traders’ village, demonstration buildings, Civil War encampment and entertainment on three stages have been added over the years. Today, the festival budget is over $80,000, and the event hosts approximately 70,000 visitors each year.

Amanda Taylor, one of the festival’s coordinators, has been part of the planning for 13 years.

“I can’t imagine not being involved. I love how excited people are about the festival, how many people come to town to enjoy what the festival has to offer,” Taylor said.

“My favorite part of the festival is early in the morning before the festival actually opens, but all the food vendors are getting started and all other vendors are arriving. The buzz and excitement in the air makes the whole year of planning worth it. Each year brings a new memory that I cherish. These are the reasons that I keep coordinating the festival,” Taylor said.

Other small towns and city also hold their own festivals such as the Ligonier Marshmallow Festival and Indian Summer Days in Howe.


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