One of my favorite annual events in Hendricks County, Indiana, takes place over Labor Day Weekend each year: North Salem Old Fashion Days. I can't wait for Sept. 3-5 to get here because Old Fashion Days always has so much to offer my entire family. I love the town of North Salem, and my favorite restaurant is there.
Over the course of three days, tiny North Salem draws thousands of visitors for its celebration of everything historic that makes the town so charming and interesting. You can't walk through the heart of North Salem without feeling the history jumping from its buildings. Old Fashion Days provides the perfect opportunity for your whole family to experience this fantastic town.
I can't possibly capture everything that's going on during Old Fashion Days in one blog post, so I'll hit the high points and trust that you'll experience it all for yourself.
Old Fashion Days Parade
The Old Fashion Days parade is not to be missed. Incredibly, this little town of just over 500 people hosts the largest parade in Hendricks County!
The parade begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, but you'll want to get to North Salem earlier than that to claim your spot. More than 100 classic cars, antique tractors, emergency vehicles and other entries will parade through town. Bring some sort of receptacle to hold candy, too, because they make it rain up in North Salem.
You'll be able to enjoy a second parade on Monday, Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. during the Pet Parade. Do you have an especially cute pet? Register at the Community Building at 9 a.m. and then take a stroll through town with your favorite companion. You and your pet just might win an award!
Horse and Truck Pulls
Watching stuff get pulled around is always fun at festivals, and this festival doesn't disappoint.
On Saturday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m., the heavyweight horses will get after it at Machinery Field during the always popular Horse Pull.
Then on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 3 p.m., the heavyweight trucks will fire up their engines and see how far they can pull sleds during the Truck Pull.
Both events feature a whole lot of horsepower, excitement and good clean family fun.
5K, 10K and Bike Ride
How about getting some exercise on the morning of Monday, Sept. 5 while enjoying scenic Hendricks County? North Salem Old Fashion Days offers a 5K run/walk, a 10K run and a bike ride to support the B&O Trail.
For the 5K and 10K, you can register online by Aug. 24 for $30 per person by clicking here, or you can register on the morning of the event for $35. Prizes will be awarded!
The casual, non-competitive Old Fashion Days Bicycle Ride offers an 11-mile course and a 34-mile course, the longer of which takes riders past a favorite spot of mine -- McCloud Nature Park.
Registration is $35 for ages over 18 and $30 for ages 13-18. Kids 12 and under are free. For more information, including how to register online, click here.
The runs and walk start at 8 a.m. Check-in for the bike ride begins at 7:15 a.m., and the ride commences at 8:30 a.m.
Free Visitor Guide!
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One of the most entertaining spectacles at North Salem Old Fashion Days is the iconic Bed Race, which will take place on Monday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m.
Hilariously unhinged teams, often dressed in wild outfits, race down Pearl Street on beds -- yes, beds -- at break-neck speeds. Because, what else would you use a bed for?
You know what? If you and your family and friends are teetering on the edge of the crazy cliff and are looking for a memorable experience full of laughs, register yourselves for the Bed Race at noon.
The beds are provided by the festival, so have some fun with it without having to drag your king-sized mattress to North Salem!
Shopping and Food
There are always a ton of craft and food vendors at North Salem Old Fashion Days, so bring your shopping shoes and your eating pants.
This is a juried festival where no commercial items are allowed, and you'll find all sorts of unique items there to meet your shopping needs.
Local businesses will also be open during Old Fashion Days, so be sure to stop in and take a look. I suggest wandering inside Garden Gate Gift & Flower Shop and seeing all the items owner Terri Solomon sells. (Click here to read more about this hidden gem.)
My favorite restaurant in Hendricks County is in North Salem -- Perillo's Pizzeria. If you prefer eating your pizza at a leisurely pace on your own schedule while you're in town, make sure you visit Perillo's during Old Fashion Days for truly authentic Italian food. Be prepared for a wait if you actually want to sit down, though they usually sell pizza by the slice out front during festival weekend only as well.
Here are several reasons why you'll love Perillo's. Additionally, Perillo's is hosting a pizza-eating contest during Old Fashion Days on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 9 p.m.
Save room for dessert because there is also a pie contest on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 11:30 a.m. After cash awards are handed out to the top 3 pies, all of the pies entered in the contest will be auctioned off to the public!
Throw in a cornhole tournament, live entertainment, a car show, a kids' entertainment area and more, and you've got yourself a fun Labor Day weekend event!
North Salem Old Fashion Days
- Sept. 3-5 (Labor Day weekend)
- Vendor booth and merchant hours: Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Monday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- North Salem, Ind.
- Facebook page