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Indiana Bicentennial Celebration 2016

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Explore County Bicentennial Activities > LaGrange County LaGrange County

LaGrange County Instagram

Q&A with County Coordinator Beth Thornburg

What Legacy Project do you most like to tell people about, and why?

  • We like to talk about the Cook's Bisontennial Celebration.  Celebrating the North American Bison and Indiana’s 200th year with a day of family fun where the food was delicious, the music was great, and the buffalo still roam. It was all at our annual Calf Days BISONtennial Celebration, Saturday, June 18! Attendees could hitch a free wagon ride to see and feed buffalo, educate themselves on the bison’s relation to Indiana history, learn how buffalo hair is spun, watch as smoked bison jerky was made over an open fire, and interact with local entertainment. There were plenty of kids' activities, including pony rides, a petting zoo, a bounce house, and games.

Describe a highlight or most memorable moment related to your county's Bicentennial celebration.

  • During the closing ceremony the soloist couldn't remember the words to the song she was preforming, so the audience started singing, and the song was finished by everyone in attendance.  It became a very emotional experience and made us realize just how lucky we are to live in a community that is supportive of each other.  

How/where are you preserving information and artifacts related to your county's celebration?

  • Area Historical Societys each have a display.  We also have a display at our Visitors Center in Shipshewana.  

Do you have a website and/or social media presence?

  • (Website)
  • Shipshewana Amish Backroads,(Facebook)

Total number of volunteers who participated.

  • 20

Estimated total attendance.

  • 1,200

Estimated dollar amount raised.

  • N/A

Estimated dollar amount spent.

  • $4,000

LaGrange County Legacy Projects

LaGrange County Facts

LaGrange County was named after the home of Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de la Fayette, outside Paris, France.

About the Courthouse: Thomas and Brentwood Toland of T. J. Tolan and Sons of Fort Wayne were the architects who created the gorgeous two-story Georgian and French Second Empire inspired façade in 1879. The bell tower stands roughly 125’ above the ground. LaGrange County CourthouseIt contains the original 1879 Seth Thomas clock and bell, which is still in working condition. Deep walnut and ash counters, the originals, remain in the building and are used on a daily basis. At one time the courthouse utilized a speaking tube system, which is no longer in use but is partially intact. Careful planning 100 years ago created a building which is still functioning efficiently with minimal changes today.

In the heart of LaGrange County is the Midwest’s largest flea market. The Shipshewana Flea Market is an open air market that covers about 100 acres with 900 booths! Shipshewana Flea MarketThis open air market runs from the first week in May through the first Saturday in October, rain or shine. On any given Tuesday or Wednesday one can find antiques, fresh seasonal produce, handmade goods, re-purposed crafts, handcrafted furniture, home décor, vintage items, and even a little bit of those fun, quirky novelties.

LaGrange County and Shipshewana are home to the third-largest Amish communities in the nation. 

This community’s simple way of life is the reason many people visit our area – to observe, learn about, pay tribute to, and purchase items from the Amish. It is common to see buggies and bikes on the roadways as well as kids in pony carts and people walking. 

Amish Buggy

The Amish play a large role in our community with their entrepreneurial spirit and traditions. It is common to see home businesses on the Amish backroads, and it is vital to sustain their way of life.

The Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area stretches across LaGrange County with 266 acres of lakes with 17 miles of free-flowing river and 356 acres of restored open-water wetlands. RaftingThe Wildlife Area includes 11,794 acres of land that provide quality hunting and fishing opportunities. It is possible to reel in a nice bluegill, northern pike, smallmouth bass, trout or yellow perch at any of the lakes.

For those who love to hunt, it is common to see deer, rabbit, squirrel, waterfowl, dove, pheasant, and wild turkeys within the wildlife area. The Pigeon River provides a great scenic canoe/kayak trip, where you’ll see wildlife and enjoy nature’s abundant beauty. With three canoe/kayak rental facilities, everything is provided for you.

The Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail combine the art of gardening and quilting into a one-of-a-kind event. Each Quilt Garden has its own pattern, many of which are original designs. Quilt GardensThese intricate designs can be enjoyed spring to fall. Seven communities, Shipshewana, Bristol, Elkhart, Goshen, Nappanee, Middlebury, and Wakarusa make this Quilt Garden Event something worth exploring.

As one of the largest of its kind in the U.S., you’ll see quilt patterns on barns and buildings that beckon you to a slower pace. The simple splendor will inspire you to breathe deeply and treasure the moment. Immerse yourself in the quiet tranquility of the idyllic Amish countryside. Art and beauty never felt so free.

County Seat: LaGrange
Year Organized: 1832
Square Miles: 379.62

LaGrange County Bicentennial Committee

  • Beth Thornburg, LaGrange County Convention & Visitor Bureau, Coordinator
  • Beth Sherman, LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce, Assistant Coordinator
  • Lora Tormanen, LaGrange Economic Development, Assistant Coordinator
  • JoDee Hooley, LaGrange County CVB, Relay Committee
  • Jordan Mazzoni, LaGrange County CVB, Relay Committee
  • Patti Smith, LaGrange County CVB, Social Media Photography
  • Laura James, LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce, Celebration Committee