Every fall, the Mitchell Persimmon Festival celebrates the city of Mitchell’s most important fruit. This week-long festival in Indiana features a full lineup of family-friendly events, ranging from a queen pageant to a parade. There’s something for everyone — you can get a workout in at the 5K race, enjoy a concert, or take a thrill ride at the festival’s carnival. In between events, you can fill up at the many organized dinners.
Whether you’re in town for a day or the full week, the Mitchell Persimmon Festival has a full schedule of events to keep you busy. The fun kicks off on Saturday, September 19th with a series of yard sales throughout the city. Bring the kids to EMS day at the Mitchell High School, and don’t miss the fun youth pageants at the high school auditorium. The real attraction, however, is the candlelight tour at Mitchell State Park. As you tour the historic village by the glow of candles, you can watch actors in period clothing go about their business and give speeches about life at this remote outpost. Don’t miss the persimmon pudding and the delicious snacks.
In 2020, the Mitchell Persimmon Festival will take place from Saturday, September 19th to Saturday, September 26. The festival will be held throughout Mitchell, Indiana. Most events will happen downtown along 6th Street, 7th Street, 8th Street, and Main Street.
On Sunday, September 20th, families and competitors will flock to the cornhole tournament at the Family Life Center run by the Mitchell Church of Christ. At the same time, you can watch the queen pageant at the high school; later, head outside to watch the road rally. At 7:00 p.m., the opera house comes alive with the lovely singing during the festival’s vesper service.
During the week of the festival, most events start at 4:30 p.m., which gives you plenty of time to explore the local area. Carnival rides operate starting at 5:00 p.m. every weeknight. Beforehand, you can fill up with the organized dinners that happen in the Seventh Street Food Tent. On Monday, dig into lasagna; on Tuesday, the specialty is pork. The rest of the week includes Italian, Mexican, steak, and chicken barbecue. Speaking of food — join the locals on Saturday, September 26th for the popular pancake breakfast.
Weekday evenings also bring a regular lineup of concerts on the Main Street Stage. On Monday, watch the queens being crowned; then, stick around to watch the Persimmon Idol singing competition. Tuesday features the MHS dance team and choir while Wednesday brings a concert by the Indigos. Listen to Gospel Night on Thursday, and get ready to dance during Friday’s performances from The OCD Band and Endless Summer.
The last day of the festival, Saturday, September 26th, is one of the most exciting. The fun starts early as local runners and walkers take to the streets during the Persimmon 5K. If you have kids, the 1-mile fun run is a great option. After the run, work up an appetite at the Persimmon Pudding and Novelty Dessert Contest. Interested in vehicles? You won’t want to miss the Tri-County Antique Tractor and Equipment Show, the Antique and Classic Car Cruise, and the Motorcycle Show. When you’re ready to eat, walk over to the chicken barbecue dinner in the Seventh Street Food Tent — it’s the perfect place to refuel before the carnival rides start running at noon.
Perhaps the most important event of the Mitchell Persimmon Festival is the grand parade. It happens no matter the weather, so it’s a good idea to stake out a good spot next to Main Street well in advance. Pre-parade introductions happen on the Main Street Stage at 1:00 p.m.; after that, you can find out who won the pudding contest. The parade starts at 2:00 p.m., with floats, music, and local groups. Not ready to let the fun come to an end? Head to the Main Street Stage at 4:00 p.m. to watch the Cincinnati Circus, and keep your spot to close out the festival with the Linda Smith Band.
The Mitchell Persimmon Festival doesn’t make any special accommodations for camping and RVing. If you’re thinking about bringing your own RV or trying out an RV rental from RVshare, don’t worry — the surrounding area offers some excellent camping opportunities. Be warned that all of the local campsites require a bit of a drive, so you’ll need to bring a passenger vehicle to get to and from the festival. It is possible to drive your RV into town, but finding adequate parking may be a challenge.
The closest campground to the festival is available at Spring Mill State Park. With 187 electric sites and 36 primitive sites, there’s plenty of space. The on-site dumping station is handy for RVs. Here, you can wake up to views of the forest and spend your days exploring caves, hiking through the trees, and checking out the historic pioneer village. There’s also a nature center that’s popular with families. The best part? This spot is just a 10-minute drive from downtown Mitchell, so it’s easy to get to and from the festival. Make sure to reserve your campsite online in advance.
You can also reserve one of the RV campsites at Wesleyan Camp Grounds, which is 10 minutes south of town. With its large spots, this is an ideal place for big rigs.
Looking to get off the beaten path? Head west to the Martin State Forest Campground. With 26 primitive sites, this is a great way to immerse yourself in the spectacular Indiana wilderness. Bring your fishing gear — three area lakes offer excellent fishing and wildlife viewing. Nearby, check out the Hoosier Woodland Arboretum or explore the forest on the local trail network.
Bringing the family to the Persimmon Festival? Book a campsite at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park at Lake Monroe. With its jumping pillow, waterslides, and pools, it’s a great place to make the most of the early fall heat. You’ll also find a range of family activities such as wagon rides and pedal carts. Every site features free Wi-Fi and full hookups; choose between pull-through and back-in options. This park fills up fast, so book as early as possible.
Your only hotel option in town is the Mitchell Inn Motel. Just outside of town, the Spring Haven Motel offers a few rooms. The nicest option in the area is Spring Mill Inn, which is located inside Spring Mill State Park. About 20 minutes north in Bedford, you’ll find a variety of hotels, including Holiday Inn Express, Quality Inn and Suites, and Super 8. To the south in French Lick, there are plenty of lovely hotels to choose from.
Two major highways bring you right to Mitchell for the festival. If you’re coming from the north or south, hop on Highway 37. From the east or west, get on Highway 60. Both highways pass right along the edge of town, less than a mile from the festival itself.
The festival doesn’t organize special parking during the event; however, it’s relatively easy to find street and lot spots throughout town. If you’re in a passenger vehicle, your best bet is to arrive early to find a spot; the later you arrive, the farther you’ll need to walk. RV parking is virtually nonexistent, but you might be able to park at one of the stores along Highway 37 and walk to the festival.
The Mitchell Persimmon Festival consists of a variety of events that are spread out around town, so you don’t need to worry about getting a ticket for the festival as a whole. Many events, including the parade, are free of charge. Some, including the Persimmon 5K and the Candlelight Tour, require a small entry fee, but there’s no need to book tickets in advance. Tickets for every event, including the dinners and pageants, are easy to buy on-site.
If you’re heading to the Mitchell Persimmon Festival this year, RVshare would love to hear about it! Collect your most memorable stories and photos from the event and email them to [email protected] RVshare will post its favorites on its blog and social media profiles.
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