With young children at home, you’re probably always looking for new ways to entertain and educate the little ones. Why not bring the whole family to a local festival or event to enjoy fresh food, learn about other cultures, and celebrate holidays? The following annual events in Carmel, Indiana, are all excellent opportunities to enjoy a day or evening outside and learn something new with your kids. Learn what to expect at each event, where it takes place, and when you can visit.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the whole family at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre at Carter Green. Various groups perform music and other art in honor of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his impact on American civil rights. Past performers have been the KJI Institute for the Arts, St. Peters United Church of Christ Choir, Blair Clark, and Indiana African American Authors. Attending this free event is a great way to get out with your children, celebrate the lasting legacy, and learn more about how his work impacted history.

Carmel Farmers Market

If you like fresh produce and good-tasting food, check out the Carmel Farmers Market. When you visit the market, you can support local farmers by purchasing Indiana-grown produce and agricultural products. You can also participate in children’s activities, listen to live music, and enjoy prepared food items, such as Belgian waffles, breakfast sandwiches, and cheeses. This summer market is located at Carmel’s Carter Green and is open every Saturday morning from May through October.

During the winter months, check out the smaller Winter Market, which offers many of the same products and entertainment. Plan a visit to the Winter Market at the Wire Factory on Saturday mornings from November through March.


The Carmel, IN courthouse all lit up during Carmelfest.

Image via Flickr by Serge Melki

Celebrate Independence Day at CarmelFest, located at Carmel Civic Square. The whole family can enjoy this free two-day festival, which features a parade, various vendors, and live entertainment. You can expect to see vendors selling toys, fabrics, and crafts. Hit up the food vendors found on “food row,” located on the east side of the festival grounds, for some yummy treats. Plus, the festival ends with a bang when spectacular fireworks light up the night sky on the evening of July 4th. CarmelFest is an excellent way to celebrate the holiday with the community and your family.

Indianapolis GreekFest

For a little taste of Greek culture, head south to Indianapolis in late August for GreekFest. This three-day festival is free to the public and held at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Bring the kids to learn about the Orthodox faith and experience Greek culture in the local community. 

When you attend, you can expect to enjoy excellent Greek cuisine, tour the cathedral, watch dance performances, and listen to live music. To entertain the little ones, check out the ancient Greece photo booth or the “What’s Your Story?” activity where families can draw a family member on a terracotta-colored paper pot.

Carmel PorchFest

A few Carmel, IN. families sitting on the sidewalk while a local sextet during Porchfest.

Image via Flickr by ChrisDag

Support local musicians by attending Carmel PorchFest. Various performers gather along First and Second avenues between First and Sixth streets in Old Town Carmel to share their music with the community. As you walk down these streets, you get to enjoy a range of music, such as bluegrass, folk, jazz, and rock. PorchFest gets its name from the venue of the festival — your neighbors’ front porches! 

The festival is free to attend, so simply bring a chair or blanket to relax and enjoy these performances with family and neighbors. The festival is held on a Sunday afternoon in late September. 

Carmel Christkindlmarkt

Gather at Carter Green for Carmel Christkindlmarkt, which is a German street market where vendors sell crafts and delicious food in preparation for the holiday season. Craft vendors sell various items that are perfect for gifts, such as handmade German ornaments and holiday decorations, wooden clocks, jewelry, and plush figures. Food vendors sell delicious German-inspired food and drinks, including fried cinnamon doughnuts, hot chocolate, coffee, and various gourmet entrees. 

You can take the whole family to visit Carmel Christkindlmarkt for free, but you may spend some money at the market vendors or at The Ice at Carter Green for an ice skating session and skate rentals. Be sure to visit the Kinderecke to play, color, and make holiday crafts with your little ones. The whole family can enjoy this holiday adventure from the Saturday before Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.

Holiday at Carter Green

Another way to get into the holiday spirit is to visit Holiday at Carter Green. This event marks the start of the holiday season in Carmel, Indiana, and takes place the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The event coincides with the opening day of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt and The Ice at Carter Green. Bring the whole family to Carter Green to see live reindeer and other animals you can pet, experience the holiday lighting ceremony, enjoy a visit from Santa, and much more. The event is free to attend and always has something fun to do for children.

Holiday Walking Path at Clay Terrace

A boy giving Santa his Christmas wish list.

Image via Unsplash by __drz__

Go on a festive walk as a family on the Holiday Walking Path at Clay Terrace. On the walk, enjoy strolling by oversized holiday decorations and the traditional Christmas tree. You can also visit Santa next to Solidcore and Village Clock shop.  The path is free to the public and opens starting the Saturday before Thanksgiving through Christmas Day. 

Who knew there were so many free events and festivals in and near Carmel, Indiana? Your kids will love celebrating holidays with fun crafts and games, and parents will love getting out of the house and trying new foods and drinks. At Crème de la Crème of Carmel, IN, we hope that maybe you’ll start some new family traditions by visiting these annual events. Did we miss any of your family’s go-to festivals and events? Let us know, and we’ll add it to our list.