top of page

Shipshewana Card Fest: A Heartfelt Journey Through the Heartland of Collectibles

Updated: May 3

Hobby enthusiasts often flock to the big, headline-grabbing shows—the ones that dominate social media feeds and garner rave reviews from collectors nation and some even worldwide. And rightfully so, these landmark events serve as epicenters of excitement, drawing in crowds from far and wide. But amidst the glitz and glamor of these renowned showcases, there exists a hidden gem—a hometown favorite that holds a special place in the hearts of many. I'm talking about Shipshewana Cardfest in Indiana—a beloved gathering that may not boast the grandeur of its larger counterparts but shines brightly with its unique charm and unwavering sense of community.

Shipshewana Card Fest is like my cozy corner in the world of collectibles, a place I hold close to my heart. It's a tale of starting small, stumbling upon unexpected chances, and feeling the magic of finding something special.

I'll never forget the day my husband came to me with the wild idea of setting up shop at a card show. We were long-time collectors, maybe even hoarders, but the idea of flipping the script and becoming dealers ourselves was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. We wanted our debut in the selling game to be something special, a memory to treasure. That's when my husband introduced me to the Shipshewana Card Fest Facebook page, a growing event with a waitlist forming. Taking a leap of faith, I snagged us a spot—a humble table dressed in a basic orange cloth. Little did I realize, that impulsive decision would lead to some of my most cherished moments in the hobby.

Our debut at Shipshewana Card Fest was far from perfect. We were woefully unprepared, but what we lacked in experience, we made up for in enthusiasm. With the support of our friends in the hobby community and plenty of late-night research sessions, we dove headfirst into the experience. Armed with advice, tips, and a healthy dose of trial-and-error, we navigated our way through the challenges. And despite the hiccups along the way, we had the time of our lives, learning and laughing every step of what turned into quite an adventure.

Over the years, Shipshewana Card Fest has grown into more than just a show—it's become a family tradition. From my youngest to my oldest, we all look forward to this gathering with the anticipation of a family reunion. We've made it a tradition to document our journey on TikTok, capturing the excitement leading up to the event and the joy of being there.

One of the most unforgettable moments at Shipshewana Card Fest occurred during a March event, amidst an insane blizzard. Despite blinding winds and snow, enthusiasts were undeterred. Pictures from the trade night capture the scene—hundreds of folks huddled together, trading cards by the soft glow of cell phone lights. It spoke volumes about the spirit of the community. The next day, even with the aftermath of the blizzard still lingering, we witnessed one of the most epic scavenger hunts to date. It was a moment that you could really feel the resilience and sheer passion of everyone involved.

The kids' scavenger hunt at Shipshewana Card Fest is immensely important to me, and it's a project we're deeply committed to. What started as a simple initiative to engage younger collectors has blossomed into a beloved event, one that we fund entirely out of our own pockets. It's a labor of love, made possible not only by our contributions but also by the generous donations from our vendors. Together, we pour our resources into creating something truly special for the children attending the show.

Despite its success and popularity, it's important to note that our scavenger hunt is not sponsored by any major hobby company. We foot the bill ourselves, and while we're grateful for the support of our vendors, we do hope that one of the major players in the industry will recognize the value of investing in this event. We believe it's one of the largest kids' events in the country that isn't backed by a corporate sponsor, and we're proud of the grassroots momentum it has gained.

There's a tendency for the Midwest to be overlooked in the national spotlight, particularly when it comes to hobby events. With the obvious exception of The National. But Shipshewana Card Fest, along with other grassroots card shows in the region, are proof that there's a thriving community of collectors right here in the heartland. We're building something special, something that's capturing the attention and enthusiasm of collectors not just on the coasts, but across the entire country. And while we may not have the backing of big corporations, we're fueled by the passion and dedication of our local community.

Despite its imperfections—a sweltering barn in the summer heat, limited amenities nearby—Shipshewana Card Fest holds a special place in my heart. An exemplification of the passion and dedication of its founder, Brad Beeman, and his family. Their commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment is what sets this event apart. Over the years, Shipshewana Card Fest has grown so significantly that it's clear a larger venue may soon be necessary to accommodate the ever-expanding crowd. Despite this, Brad goes above and beyond to enhance the experience for attendees. He understands the inconvenience of limited options for food and refreshments after hours, so he tirelessly works to bring food trucks to the event, ensuring that everyone has access to delicious fare to fuel their excitement throughout the day. It's just another example of Brad's dedication to making Shipshewana Card Fest a truly exceptional experience for all who attend.

As I reflect on my journey through the world of collectibles, Shipshewana Card Fest stands out as a beacon of authenticity—a reminder of what truly matters in this hobby. It's not about the size of the venue or the sponsorship deals; it's about the shared love for collecting and the connections forged along the way.

As Shipshewana Card Fest approaches this Memorial Day weekend, I find myself filled with excitement and anticipation. It's a journey—a heartfelt journey through the world of collectibles—and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.


bottom of page