Date: Sep 12, 2016
The Worst Advice We've Heard About the Shipshewana Flea Market
When it comes to shopping the Shipshewana Flea Market, some suggestions aren't so great. For folks who have never visited before, here is a list of some of the worst advice we've ever heard...and we've heard a lot. From when to shop, to how to plan your trip, these snippets will give you a better idea on how to make the most of your trip to this huge flea market in Indiana.
Bad advice: Try to see everything in one day.
While it can be thrilling to try to conquer the flea market's nearly 900 booths in one day, getting up early and walking all day until 5pm may not be the best idea, unless you're, like, a super hero. Plus, with so many vendors to visit, you are sure to miss some really awesome ones if you are rushing around through the aisles. You'll also want to visit some of the other area attractions while you're in Shipshewana, and you don't want to be too exhausted.
Do this instead: Stay overnight. Spend a couple of days perusing and getting to know the flea market and the surrounding area. Arrive on a Tuesday, shop the flea market, stay overnight at the Farmstead Inn right across the street, then on Wednesday, bid at the Antique Auction and shop some more. You'll be well rested and you'll be able to say you saw it all.
Bad advice: Don't visit if the weather looks uncertain.
The flea market is open rain or shine. Yes, RAIN or shine. I realize that when the weather forcast shows rain showers or hot temperatures, walking around the outdoor market doesn't sound so great. However, if you come prepared for the weather, (ponchos and umbrellas for rain, water and hats for sun), you'll find that shopping is a lot easier when it's a lot less crowded. Besides, most vendors are in small buildings or under tents, so there is plenty of shelter if it starts to downpour!
Do this instead: Check the weather before you come, but do know that the weather can change at any moment! Plan to come anyways, come prepared, and shop without feeling crowded or rushed!
Bad advice: If you find something you like, wait until later to go back and buy it.
So you've found the perfect lawn ornament, but you think you might go shop around just a little more and see what other vendors have. You do, promising yourself you'll return a little later to purchase the piece. But you don't find any other lawn ornament like it, and now you've forgotten which booth the original one was in, and besides, you're tired from walking all over the market! What's more, you didn't pick up a business card at that booth, so you have no way of contacting them once you get home. This is a sad, sad scenario that unfortunately happens all the time!
Do this instead: Like it? Buy it. Then and there. Products go quickly at the market, and you don't want someone else to snag your find. Also, vendors come and go from week to week, so they may not be there when you come back on your next visit. Ask for business cards at your favorite booths so you remember where they were in case you wish to purchase from them again.
Bad advice: Just wing it.
Although it is nice to be flexible on which booths you shop in, winging it when it comes to planning your trip is something you shouldn't mess with.
Do this instead: Plan your visit and search vendors beforehand by downloading the Shipshewana Trading Place mobile app, or by taking a look at our frequently asked questions. That way, you can park your car and hit the ground running.
Bad advice: Shop in a group.
The logistics of shopping the flea market booths with a large group can turn a beautiful day into a sour one. Trying to accommodate everyone's tastes, styles and wants while trying not to lose grandma in the flea market aisles would be stressful!
Do this instead: We suggest splitting up your group and having a designated meeting spot. There are several pavilions and benches (flea market map) that would make a good spot to plan to meet in a couple of hours. That way, everyone can see only the booths they want to see. Be sure everyone has a cell phone, so you can contact them and know their location. It's better to shop with one or two other people who have the same shopping tastes as you than a group of five or ten.
Bad advice: Don't visit on a holiday extended market.
Some people stay away from the flea market on our extended dates because of how busy it can be (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Fall Extravaganza), but these special hours are when you'll see the flea market in all its glory. In fact, some vendors only set up during these special markets - so it's you're only chance to catch their unique items!
Do this instead: Plan to attend on the extneded markets, but come early...like right at 8:00 am when it opens. Or, if you can't stand crowds, shop the Tuesday and Wednesday following the extended market. Those days typically have almost the same amount of vendors and it's a lot less packed with shoppers.
Bad advice: Only shop during the flea market's mid-season.
The Shipshewana Flea Market is open from the first week of May through the first Saturday in October. It may seem like you'll get the most out of your trip during mid-season (June-August) because the most vendors are set up, but in reality, there are a ton of extra advantages if you come in May or September. One being cooler weather. Another being that we waive the $3 general parking fee in May until Memorial Day. In September, lots of vendors are having extra discounts and deals to close out the season.
Do this instead: Shop the market each month! May and September are great months to shop...the temperature outside is typically less hot, and you'll get some great deals!