A city for all seasons

Winter, spring, summer and fall — here you'll love them all

photography by Kevin Mullett
photography by Margo Kelly
photography by Danielle Doepke
photography by Christopher Redmond

Each season in Fort Wayne has its signature event, its don’t-miss moment that marks the day that a certain time is here to enjoy and appreciate and share together.

When you’re at one of these events, you’ll find yourself in a happy crowd of thousands, so go ahead and say hi to the folks around you. Theyíre your friends and neighbors, people youíll most likely enjoy spending the time with. They might be neighbors from the region or visitors, too, maybe even first-timers, so share what youíve learned about enjoying these signature events.

That’s what Fort Wayne Magazine’s City Guide is doing here. Sharing the good stuff so more people can join the good vibes here.

Enjoy!

SPRING: Cheer for the home team

Come early April around here, it’s not just the gardeners who are itching to get out into the fresh air. The TinCaps baseball fans are raring to go to that first home game at Parkview Field, too, and we’ll be there in droves – even if we’re cheering in stocking caps and clapping with mittens on.

It’s a cool sound, actually, thousands of mittened hands clapping. Don’t think we haven’t done it for our TinCaps!

In 2017, the first home game will begin at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, April 8, against Bowling Green. And it will wrap up with after-game fireworks!

The first home game is a fun homecoming for fans, who get to catch up with people they may not have seen since the final home game of the 2016 season, and it will be a fun opportunity to enjoy favorite TinCaps cuisine (the Parkview Field food is really good) and to enjoy the between-innings entertainment.

For information on all things TinCaps, go online to tincaps.com, call (260) 482-6400 or visit the ticket office at 1301 Ewing St. at Parkview Field downtown.

SUMMER: A good ol’ time

Fort Wayne’s Three Rivers Festival is the nine days every July where everyone kicks up their heels and is young again, and it will celebrate its 49th year of playing that role July 7-15. Amazing.

But when the parade takes off this year, the magic will be afoot, and we’re sure the theme, “Create Great Memories,” will have been well chosen.

The Three Rivers Festival truly is all things to all people. Art in the Park, the Chalk Walk, the Raft Race, concerts galore, the food vendors we all persist in calling Junk Food Alley, the Bed Race, Bike Night, Children’s Fest, Family Fun Day, International Village, the midway and the glorious fireworks. Plus the best people watching of the year, without a doubt.

You can definitely have that elephant ear or that fried cheese if you want it, by the way. You’ll easily walk the calories off just looking at everything going on.

More good times . . .

Though the Three Rivers Festival leads the way when it comes to festival-style good times, it is far from the only option in Fort Wayne. We recommend you stop by Headwaters Park pretty much any weekend from May through September to join what’s being celebrated there then. Watch the Fort Wayne Magazine calendar of events for precise dates.

Other top options would be: Germanfest: June 4-10; Greekfest: June 22-25; Buskerfest: June 24; Pride Fest: July 21-22.

FALL: A heritage of fun

The real John Chapman would never believe the gathering that happens the third weekend of every September in his name in the park named for him in Fort Wayne. But the Johnny Appleseed Festival is fall’s signature event here, and beyond the crowds and the hustle and bustle is a little thing that might please the man we’ve named it after.

That little thing is children and adults taking some time to connect with the place and its history, which together are their heritage. Sincere thanks go to the people who create and present the heritage children’s games at the festival, and thanks, also, to the organizers who continue to make room for and set requirements for the historically accurate vendors, performers and re-enactors who are also such an important part of the event.

All together, the heritage and the crafts and the commerce make for a fun and very satisfying festival visit. It’s one thousands of people simply Will Not Miss. That’s saying a lot.

More heritage . . .

Fort Wayne appreciates its heritage, and it is easy to discover, whether you’re seeking to learn about our human or natural heritage.

Here’s where to go: The History Center, www.fwhistory center.com, at 302 E. Berry St.; Historic Fort Wayne, oldfortwayne.org, at 1201 Spy Run Ave.; Swinney Homestead, www.settlersinc.org, at 1242 W. Swinney Blvd.; ACRES Land Trust, acreslandtrust.org, located at 1802 Chapman Road in Hunterton; Little Rivers Wetlands Project, www.lrwp.org, located at Eagle Marsh.

WINTER: A year’s reflections

Only a very special signature event encompasses family, friends and fun while giving you opportunities to reflect on the meaning of the season. That special combination of virtues is what’s so wonderful about Fort Wayne’s Holiday Fest.

The big crowd gathers joyfully for the lighting of all the lights downtown the evening before Thanksgiving, flowing from the Aunt Millie’s Bakery building on West Main Street to the Santa Claus light sculpture on the PNC Bank building at Calhoun and Main streets, then down to Wayne and Calhoun Streets for more lights. And more events are underway all over downtown.

There is a big do-it-yourself feel to the evening, which is where the freedom to reflect fits in so easily. That’s a very important part of this season.

More Holiday Fest . . .

Holiday Fest events continue through the holidays, so visit downtownfortwayne.com/holidayfest for details and watch Fort Wayne Magazine’s November events calendar for precise dates and times.

The entire city fills with lights and special events for the season, so it’s easy to fill your calendar with the observances the mean the most to you and your family.

And a winter tip, too . . .

After the holidays, during the coldest, darkest months, we recommend a restorative visit to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St., where the growing plants and blooming flowers will lift your spirits and the wonderful air in the jungle house will revive your winter-weary body, too.

First appeared in the 2017 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine’s City Guide.

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