Date: Oct 20, 2017

Shipshewana's Hidden Community: The Shipshewana Flea Market!

By Carlie Cripe

As dawn breaks on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning throughout the summer, shoppers shuffle into the aisles of the nearly 700 spaces that fill the Shipshewana Flea Market. It seems almost magical the way vendors fill space after space, like they just appear overnight.


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As a kid growing up in this area, my mom and grandma used to take me to the flea market all the time. It was just assumed that Tuesdays and Wednesdays the flea market would be open, and there would be lots of vendors ready to sell their things.


I never thought about how they got there, where they came from or what their story was… they were just there, like clockwork each week, coming and going with the tide.


For those of you who may be wondering about being a flea market vendor, or for those of you just curious to know some of the behind the scene details of the flea market, here’s a little bit of insight to the hidden community of Shipshewana.


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Friends at the Market:


Shipshewana, of course, is famous for its community. With sprawling cornfields, country landscapes and Amish houses stippling the area, it’s a unique location tucked away in Northeast Indiana. Community is everything here. If someone is in need, everybody pulls together to help them. We are a community where you wave at every person passing you by on the street and greet them at church on Sunday morning. That’s the way it was, is and always will be.


There’s a bustling community within the Shipshewana Flea Market as well. Vendors begin shuffling in on Mondays as they prepare their booth spaces and stock their products. Some vendors stay the night on Monday and Tuesday right on their space or in their vehicle! We have vendors that cook and prepare food directly at their selling location and even share it with us staff in the flea market office!


Some of the permanent vendors have been selling at Shipshewana for years, we’re talking 20 to 30+ years! They have created and shared great friendships with other vendors here at the market. We have a group of ladies, “the breakfast club,” that meets on Tuesday mornings. They are a group of vendors who either meet at a restaurant before the market opens, or bring and share a cooked breakfast they have prepared for each other while they eat together before a long day’s work ahead of them.


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People Far & Wide:


     How far have you driven to come to the flea market?


 Whether you’re a customer or a vendor, chances are there is someone that has driven even farther to come here! Don’t let the hesitation of driving a distance slow you down. We regularly have vendors come from Chicago, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and beyond to be a part of our market. It’s not unusual for people who live in Florida or Texas to relocate up here for the summer and stay on our grounds.


We also get shoppers visiting anywhere from Texas to Canada to California. Some customers even stay in our RV Park all summer long and make Shipshewana their home away from home!   


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What do you love about the Shipshewana Flea Market?


There are two things I love about our flea market:

  1. Reliable permanent vendors
  2. New and unique finds each time

     Dependability is a foundational building block for any successful community. From a shopping perspective, I love having those dependable and reliable vendors I can keep shopping from time and time again. I know their booth number and location within in the market and can find them easily to make it a quick trip. Or, when I have time to leisurely walk through the market, I love finding and supporting those vendors that are trying it for the first time, eagerly supplying unique gifts and handmade merchandise. 


As a vendor, it’s easy to get involved with the market. That’s another thing I love, we are easy to work with. Stop by the office or give us a call. You can set up for both days or one day if you want to just try it out. No long-term commitments that may scare you from giving it a try, and the cost is probably less than what you expect! 


2019 Flea Market Vendor Application


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     The dependability of the flea market reflects the community of Shipshewana itself. Whether you come to shop or you come to sell, just like Shipshewana, the hidden community within the Shipshewana Flea Market is unique and charming; catering to friendships and a sense of belonging as well as bringing together people from far and wide. Come, be a part of our community!



Vendors, looking for more information on the Shipshewana Flea Market?

Click below to see current booth rates!


Find out everything vendors need to know about Shipshewana Flea Market 


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