Annual Fortville Winterfest Returns to Kickoff the Holiday Season

Photography Provided by Michael Durr & Town of Fortville

On December 7, from noon to 7 p.m., downtown Fortville will again host Fortville Winterfest, a one-day free event packed with family-friendly activities. Always held on the first Saturday in December, the kickoff to the holiday season has a nostalgic feel and showcases small-town living at its best. This year’s celebration has the traditions that keep attendees coming back, but will also feature some new activities.

The co-chairs of the 2019 festival are Linda Calhoun and Milda Sterrett, board members of Fortville Action Inc., a nonprofit initiative comprised of local volunteers. Sterrett, a past president, and her husband Bob are founding members of the organization which focuses on strengthening the community spirit of Fortville. The group, which is an Indiana Mainstreet Organization, was formed in 2011 shortly after the first Winterfest held.

“We had lived out in the country for years and then we found an old house on Main Street,” Sterrett says. “When we were fixing it up, we used to sit on the porch and say, ‘We will be able to walk to downtown when we move here,’ but there really wasn’t anything to walk downtown to. We came up with the idea of Winterfest to promote Fortville and had the very first one in 2010. Afterward I thought, ‘Shouldn’t there be some kind of record-keeping?’ So that’s when Fortville Action, Inc. was formed.”

The day will be crammed with happenings between the 1 p.m. start of the parade and the 6 p.m. tree lighting ceremony. As usual, booths for vendors selling food and crafts will be set up on the street. Among the activities is a small ice rink at Main and Mill Street as well as a zip line. A performance stage is set up for local musicians and school choirs. Girls in kindergarten through fifth grade can preregister on the Fortville Action Inc. website to be a Snow Flake Princess and participate in the parade as well as perform a routine.

“We make it affordable for families,” Sterrett says. “Almost everything is free. Kids can make foam shapes that float in the air at the Smile Cloud machine. The Nazarene Church barrel train will give rides up and down Main Street after the parade. We will have a photographer taking pictures by Santa but we don’t charge for the photos. We will just put them up online.”

Fortville Winterfest not only gives kids the chance to hand Santa their wish lists but also the opportunity for families to pick out their Christmas trees. Sambol’s Tree Farm will have a lot set up with trees for purchase. It will be staffed by Fortville Action Inc. volunteers.

“Every year, the festival grows a bit,” Sterrett adds. “New this year is a human snow globe. It’s an inflated giant globe that people enter into. It’s a great place to take pictures. Also, we will have two carriages available this year. There is a $25 charge for a carriage ride, but the cost can be split up between the riders.

“Fortville Action Inc. started as a grassroots organization and it still is. The volunteers make Winterfest possible and give it the old-fashioned Christmas feel it has.”

For more information visit and @fortvilleactioninc on Facebook.

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