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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Roosevelt Walton, left, talks to Timm Bilger about the various hot sauces his booth has to offer Saturday during Shipshewana on the Road at the Coliseum.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette D’ette Walton explains the benefits of soothing salts to Alexa Pargeon and Eon Hemstead at the Shipshewana on the Road event at the Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Kristen Zoll shows a ring to Sandy Lane and Alison Miller at the Shipshewana on the Road event at the Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, March 25, 2018 1:00 am

Shipshewana vendors sell wares at Coliseum

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Ben Miller, owner of Ben's Pretzels in Shipshewana, was surprised when customers were already in line at 10 a.m. Saturday to buy his pretzels.

“Usually they start lining up at 11,” Miller said. By midafternoon, the queuing hadn't stopped and the family of four, including wife Elizabeth, 15-year-old Isaiah and Caleb, 12, were working hard to keep the large, soft pretzels coming out of the oven.

This is Miller's second year with Shipshewana on the Road, the group of offseason traveling vendors who keep up a regular weekend schedule from mid-October to the end of April, selling their wares at shows in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

The last stop will be April 27 and 28 in Crown Point, according to the schedule printed by the show's promoter, Greg Fountain of the JDL Corp, based in East Leroy, Michigan. About 70 percent of the summer vendors who participate in the outdoor flea market on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Shipshewana go on the road, he said.

More than 10,000 shoppers are expected to visit the weekend Fort Wayne event at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fountain said.

A new booth this year is Eddie and Bethanne Jackson's Amish Fry Pies. Four dollars for one pie, three for $10, even Fountain succumbed and bought four of them – peach, cherry, raspberry and apple.

Lupe Santos Jr. was looking them over with his father, Lupe Santos Sr., and the temptation was great.

“I like sweets,” Santos Jr. said. He'd already picked up some Poppa's hot sauce and liked what he was seeing at the show.

“We always wanted to go to Shipshewana and it finally came to us,” Santos Jr. said.

According to Fountain, Shipshewana on the Road has been around 25 years but this time was a first for the Santoses, who were impressed enough to plan a visit this summer, they said.

And Santos Jr. finally stepped up to the booth and bought cherry, coconut cream and apple pies for the road.

“It won't make it home,” Santos Sr. joked.

More than 200 vendors sold a wide range of items including clothing, jewelry, crafts, pet supplies, teas, artwork and handbags.

Tina Cuellar of Fort Wayne said she shopped for everything and liked looking at the clothing. She was at the show with her son Auston Young and a family member Tonya Cuellar, who prefers the food when Shipshewana is at the Coliseum.

“I like to see all the different stuff you can try. Usually if I sample it, I'll buy it,” said Tonya Cuellar. The three loved their pretzels from Ben's.

“It's amazing,” Tina Cuellar said.

Today, the show will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $4, and children 12 and younger are free.