If you’re looking for a fun, free holiday event, but want to avoid the crowds of the larger cities nearby, the annual Fortville Winterfest is the place to go. Held on the first Saturday in December and located near Fishers, it’s not too far of a drive for Indy residents and is the perfect way to spend a Saturday kicking off the holiday season with family or friends.
This year was noticeably more well-attended than last year’s Winterfest, and I wasn’t lucky enough to snag as close of a parking spot as last year, but parking at the Hampton Baseball Field lot was about a 5-minute walk from the tail end of the parade route, which wasn’t too bad.
New entertainment options for this year on the way to the parade included a petting zoo and the world’s smallest skating rink.
The parade included the local fire department, boy scouts, school groups, Santa, random people I didn’t recognize and of course the Fortville staple — the martini-drinking pink elephant.
There were many more vendors here this year as well, and I had mixed feelings about it. It’s great that the event is getting better attendance and bringing more business to the area, but more visibility means larger crowds, and the whole reason to go to a small town for an event like this is to avoid the crowds and long lines.
Moving on to the rest of the evening — there was about a two-hour gap between the end of the parade and the tree lighting, which was the perfect time to browse the street vendors, take some photos and check out the cute little shops on Main Street. A few of my favorite shops were Simply More, Store House, and The Gypsy Chicks.
With all of the restaurants being packed with people, heading to Indulge to wait out the time left before the tree lighting was an ideal choice. Indulge appears from the outside to just be an ice cream shop, but the place also has a full menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and baked desserts as well. I went for the white chicken chili with tortilla chips on the side and a slice of moose tracks cheesecake, all of which was delish!
After the meal, it was a mad rush to get over the railroad tracks before an extra-long train would block passage over the tracks where the tree and pre-lighting entertainment was set up. This year, the tree lighting itself was fairly uneventful, with the lighting happening successfully on the first try after a countdown from 10. And besides a long wait for a train to get back over the train tracks to leave, that was it! Another Winterfest down and looking forward to the next holiday event.