Video series shows charms of northeast Indiana

October 7th, 2012

News Coverage:

Video series shows charms of northeast Indiana

By Dave Kurtz

Sunday, October 07, 2012, 12:00am

Our hometowns look like heaven in “Your story. Made here,” a new series of videos promoting northeast Indiana.

The region’s young adults star in the videos. Watch a few, and you’ll never see a gray hair or even a wrinkle. The series aims to convince young people starting their careers that this is a great place to live, work and play.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership produced the videos, and you can watch them at

Among the attractions featured in the videos are the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, Shipshewana, the area’s lakes and the Noble County Community Fair.

In each case, young people explain the appeal of the attractions. So, instead of a car expert, coffeehouse owner Jeremiah Otis of Auburn describes the city’s classic car celebration each Labor Day weekend.

Otis says Auburn reveres its history.

“The people here understand that the automotive industry is a critical part of our past, and they understand the value that it has, and they celebrate that year-round,” Otis says.

Instead of an elder historian, youthful Alyssa Miller narrates a video tour of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, where she works as events and marketing manager.

The cameras captured Otis at his business, Jeremiah’s Brewed Awakenings, which opened downtown this spring.

“I’m a big fan of blazing your own trail, and my plan, my vision here is really about connecting people — it’s not about selling coffee,” Otis says.

Shifting the scene to Shipshewana, Ryan Riegsecker of Riegsecker’s Marketplace explains how 150 businesses work together to attract more than a half-million tourists and shoppers each year.

“Together, we’re a very unique destination where you’re going to see things here that you just not gonna see anywhere else,” Riegsecker says. He describes the town as a “a real-life Disney.”

Annalea’s Boutique owner Leanna Martin welcomes video watchers to her store, where the trendy apparel contrasts with the town’s rustic image.

“I knew that Shipshewana was just a great location as far, as … there’s so many people from all over the world, literally like all over the world, that come here to visit, and I think that’s just so awesome,” Martin says.

Young town council member Nathan Jones also talks about the appeal of Shipshewana, known for its flea market and tempting foods.

Growing up on a lake in Steuben County was a privilege, Jolene Handel of Lake James says in another video.

“It’s like the best party you’ve ever been to,” Handel says.

Tyler Delauder reports on the pleasures of fishing or hanging out at the sandbar on Lake James. Kerry Bray of Lake James calls life at the lake a “mini-vacation” while the camera shows him floating on an inflatable alongside friends.

People who work in the city can escape to the lake, the video suggests.

“I think it’s really great to go out to the lakes and get away from … the hustle and bustle of Fort Wayne and just relax on the lake and be at one with nature,” says Angie Garcia, who recently moved to the region and has taken up kayaking.

Three young women narrate a video about the annual fair in Noble County, titled “Every Community’s Soul.”

“I grew up in Kendallville, and every summer this is something I look forward to. This fair has something for every generation,” Jill Engerman says.

“4-H has just helped me step out of my comfort zone, and it’s really just helped me become the woman I am today,” by teaching responsibility and leadership, says Brianna DeCamp of Kendallville, a 10-year 4-H’er,

Samantha Pranger, a Kendallville native and senior at Purdue University, says 4-H played a big role in her life, too.

“I was pretty shy,” Pranger says. “Getting involved in (4-H), you can meet tons of people, you just make so many friends.”

The viewer comes away with the idea that it would be fun to attend the fair, but even better to live in such a wholesome place.

“Getting involved and making a difference in the community is something I always hold close to my heart,” Engerman says. “I can’t imagine my life without volunteering and coming back home.”