Discover Fort Wayne during Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown

bat 300x112 Discover Fort Wayne during Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown
I love Fort Wayne. Having lived here my whole life (minus a few years away at college), I have had ample time to get out and explore my hometown. A lot of this stems from being someone who refuses to be bored, and who enjoys getting out and about to find new things to do and places to go. Living my teenage years on the north side of town (so close to the country and farms that my high school still had “Drive Your Tractor to School Day” sponsored by the FFA) I heard so many people say there was nothing to do in Fort Wayne – and I REFUSED to be one of them. My friends and I were adventurous, and often drive all over town finding things to do. We’d go to the zoo, go see different local bands play, check out the museums downtown and walk around aimlessly exploring Fort Wayne. That sense of wanting to go out and explore my city hasn’t left me, but there are so many people that can get stuck in a rut and aren’t aware of the amazing attractions we are so lucky to have! That’s why whether you’re a visitor in town looking for something fun to do, or a local who hasn’t a had a chance to visit all that Fort Wayne has to offer, you shouldn’t miss Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown!

Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown is a great event put on by Visit Fort Wayne. The goal is to get people that live in Fort Wayne out and about to places they haven’t visited in awhile, or aren’t even aware of! There are twelve attractions that you can tour around , and the best part is that it is FREE! The attractions open during this year’s even are: The African-American Historical Museum, Lincoln Tower, the Allen County Courthouse, Science Central, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Cathedral Museum, the Botanical Conservatory, The History Center, Parkview Field, the Embassy Theatre, The Old Fort and the Visitors Center. While the list of places to go and see may seem a little overwhelming, pick 2 or 3 you’re really excited about and focus on visiting those!

I’ve had the chance to both work and participate during Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown, so I’ve got some favorites. And while I’ve been to many of the attractions you’ll find on September 7th, the following four would be my top picks!

EmbassyTheatre SteveVorderm 1118 522x392 300x225 Discover Fort Wayne during Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown

The Embassy Theatre is a beautiful, and historic, theatre – and you can check it out during BAT!

Embassy Theatre
The Embassy Theatre is truly a gem in downtown Fort Wayne. The theatre was built in 1928 and is one of Indiana’s largest historical theaters. Anyone who has walked inside knows that the Embassy is a beautiful piece of history that has withstood the test of time over and over again! While many have sat in the theatre’s seats for a Broadway production, a headlining concert, Philharmonic performances and many other great events, Be a Tourist is one of the few times where you can tour around the Embassy behind the scenes!

IMG 0610 300x300 Discover Fort Wayne during Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown

Take in the beautiful architecture at the Allen County Courthouse.

Allen County Courthouse
Take a tour of the Allen County Courthouse and you won’t be disappointed! While many either run in and out of the courthouse, or haven’t had a reason to go inside, Be a Tourist is the perfect time to check out this National Historic Landmark. Not only is the Allen County Courthouse a great part of Fort Wayne’s history, it is also an important piece of architectural history.  Having been restored, the Allen County Courthouse boasts beautful examples of art glass, murals and intricately patterned tile floors. It is often regarded as one of the finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture.

pinwheel 300x300 Discover Fort Wayne during Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown

Celebrate Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown at the Visitors Center! Look for the giant pinwheel!

Visitors Center
You may be thinking “Why would I ever go to the Visitors Center if I live in Fort Wayne?”, and long ago I thought so too. But, the Visitors Center offers so much more than you could expect! The staff is extremely knowledgeable about all things Fort Wayne, as well as fun and friendly to boot! You’ll also find a variety of things to do and buy. There is information for tons of attractions, restaurants, parks and even more. – many of which are off the beaten path and you may not even be aware of! You can even find Fort Wayne souvenirs and locally made products such as coffee, DeBrand Fine Chocolate and Vera Bradley.

BAT3 300x225 Discover Fort Wayne during Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown

Don’t miss the great views from the top of the Lincoln Tower. It is a BAT favorite!

Lincoln Tower
This is by far one of the most popular stops during the afternoon of BAT, and for good reason! This is one of the only days of the year that the Lincoln Tower observation deck is open to the public, with gorgeous views of the entire city. I would recommend making this your very first or last stop of the day because the line can get a little long, but is more manageable with a little planning. And, even with the thousands of people lining up to ride to the top, the line is fast moving and well worth the wait!

While you’re out and about I would also suggest stopping at one of downtown Fort Wayne’s yummy eateries for a bite before, during or after your stops! Grab a slice, a sip or a snack at Pint and Slice, Dash-In and many other great places. For more ideas of where to dine downtown, take a look at our downtown dining map.

No matter which attractions you decide to check out during Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown, you will have a great day discovering our wonderful city! Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown is Sunday, September 7 from 12-5pm. You can find passports for the event are Fort Wayne area Kroger and Old National Bank locations! Or, you can download your BAT passport here.




Katie Robinson simply loves Fort Wayne! Born and raised in the Summit City, she returned following graduating from Ball State University with a degree in Public Relations in May of 2013. A former Visit Fort Wayner, Katie currently works for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority as the Marketing and Customer Service Specialist. In her spare time you can find her baking cupcakes, Zumba-ing her heart out and relaxing with her husband, Joe, and their adorable Shih Tzu, Gidget.

Sesame Street Live – Make a New Friend in Fort Wayne!

“How do they do it?”

To see Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and – especially – Oscar the Grouch up on stage, well, that was something. Yes, I knew that these were puppets dancing and singing in front of the thronged masses. But I was still intrigued. These characters sounded so real – how did it happen? And could I see more of it?

Fast forward to the present. Sesame Street Live is coming back to Fort Wayne with its new show, “Make a New Friend.” In this presentation, Grover’s friend, Chamki, will be visiting from the country of India. Popular Sesame characters like Abby Cadabby and Elmo will also be there, to see how everyone can become friends through shared cultural habits.

What I truly enjoy about these events at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum is the atmosphere. Suddenly, the whole place is a wonderland filled with souvenirs, popcorn, excited kids, happy parents, and flashing cameras. The wide hallways are clean and easy to navigate, and ushers are everywhere to help.

Stands filled with stuffed toys, t-shirts, coloring books, hats, magic wands, and all sorts of other memorabilia are crowded. Kids with parents in tow hike up to the table and point out what they want. The clerks are harried but cheerful, making sure they reach down just the right toy. The program books hawked in the entrances are kind of expensive, so if you’re willing to just watch and go with the flow, you can still enjoy the show for a little less money.

The salty tang of stadium food mixes with the sweet whiff of cotton candy, which is sold in the stadium seats during breaks. Every so often, usually before and after the Sesame show, vendors walk among the aisles with snacks and souvenirs. Blinking LED’s dance from the seats and aisles as kids and vendors wave souvenirs.

The Coliseum, which can seat 13,000 people, is shaped like a giant oval. The center stage, for special events like Sesame Street or Disney on Ice, is divided in half, so the audience only sits around part of the arena. Through the shimmering drapes come the characters, and any seat is a good one if you want to see all the action. Exits are handy, if you need to answer the phone or take someone out for a quick cleanup. And before the show, if you want to find some activity sheets for your kids with $3 discounts on tickets for you, click on the Coliseum’s info page here.

Sesame Street Live: Make a New Friend looks like it will be a lot of fun. Show dates for Fort Wayne are August 27 and 28, and tickets are available either at the Coliseum or online, through Ticketmaster. Why not come out to Fort Wayne’s own Sesame Street and experience the fun?

GroupPullOutPoster LR 300x181 Sesame Street Live – Make a New Friend in Fort Wayne!

Favorite Sesame Street Characters will be onstage at Fort Wayne’s Coliseum on August 27-28.

AbbyElmoStreet LR 300x212 Sesame Street Live – Make a New Friend in Fort Wayne!

Elmo and Abby Cadabby will be in Fort Wayne, too!



Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)

Experience the best of Fort Wayne’s arts scene at Taste of the Arts

dancers1 300x199 Experience the best of Fort Waynes arts scene at Taste of the Arts

A belly dancing troupe has performed in years past.

It’s not everyday you get to experience some of the tastes, sights and sounds of Fort Wayne’s restaurant and arts scene.  This is what you can expect August 23 at the 6th annual 2014 Taste of the Arts at the Arts United Center. This free festival downtown is suited for all ages, and provides an opportunity for the community to sample the different kinds of fine art, dance, theatre, music and more that Northeast Indiana has to offer. Come hungry for food and entertainment. Here’s what you can look forward to, in a nutshell:

Fare from 30+ restaurants: Craving pizza? How about hot dogs? Or cupcakes? Chances are at least one vendor will have something to suit your taste. Insider’s Note: We recommend not eating lunch before so you have room to sample and not feel stuffed.

Art Fair: This is my favorite part. Fort Wayne has a wealth of talented artists, and this event underlines that. You can find everything from handmade jewelry, to pottery, to oil paintings.  Insider’s Note: A lot of vendors accept card payments, but it’s never a bad idea to have plenty of cash on hand. I also appreciate the fact that most of the art is affordable. You’re sure to find a souvenir to take home, without spending a small fortune.

Arts activities: Local arts organizations will be present, to educate and entertain the public. For example, the Fort Wayne History Center will offer a portable jail for “selfies.”

Live entertainment: Think bands, dancers and actors. Most acts perform on the hour, so be sure to check out the schedule.

And now for the best part? Proceeds from this event go directly toward Arts United’s Art Education Grants to advance the local arts scene. Admission is free, however food and beverage tickets are required to purchase food. For more information, visit the Taste of the Arts website  or Visit Fort Wayne.


Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website:

Summer of Glass II at the Museum of Art

There is saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to the glass exhibits at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, nothing could be further from the truth. This year’s Summer of Glass II exhibits are worth every penny of a visit. The museum is hosting the 42nd Annual international Glass Invitational Award Winners exhibit as well as Peter Bremers: Inward Journey installation through August 31.

Dutch artist Peter Bremers gleans inspiration from the world around him. Many of the pieces on display were inspired by his travels to Antarctica, Africa, New Zeeland, and Asia. It is easy to see the influences of nature in his kiln cast glass work. Pieces like “Icebergs and Paraphernalia 202 and 251″ share many qualities with ice. The sheer scale of the work is impressive; Bremers is a master of color and has a miraculous attention to detail. The pieces range in shape and form, from simple oval or square shapes, to intricate spiked creations.

“Tip of the Iceberg” is an oval shaped bowl with vibrant teals and stark whites. It seems as if it could be water frozen in movement and time. The textures in the piece become clearer the closer you get and it is beautiful and unique from every angle. Walk around the pieces to watch the light reflect and the colors change.

Tip of the Iceberg 12 dim. 22x15x7 inch 300x196 Summer of Glass II at the Museum of Art

Peters Bremers “Tip of the Iceberg”

The second room of the exhibit is home to glass sculptures that seem to mirror the colors of the American Southwest. As you move from one side to the other of “Avalanche,” for instance, the colors fade from a dusty orange to red and brown and back to orange.

Bremers’ work stresses our relationship with nature, something he feels has become corrupted in our world. He explains he felt “a sense of insignificance in the face of the savage energy of the oceans and of delight at the sight of yet another majestic sunrise over a landscape of drifting icebergs.” This feeling is communicated excellently in his work, which leaves audiences with a similar feeling.

The closer you get to the pieces, more and more details become visible. Bubbles, a hidden warp or contour, a new shade, or a rough or beveled area reveal themselves. Bremers tells us, “reflections of my inner travels mirroring my outer travels come alive in these sculptures.”

Moving from the cool blues of icebergs through the warm oranges of the American Southwest, you come to the International Glass Invitational Award Winners exhibit. Featuring 26 of the best international glass artists, this exhibit offers a unique look at the evolving practice of glass art.

taylor Inertia web 230x300 Summer of Glass II at the Museum of Art

Taylor’s “Inertia”

There are so many unique and eye-catching pieces in this exhibit that walking in is a bit of a sensory overload. Once you stop at each piece, though, it is easy to see why they were awarded a spot in this exhibit. Pieces on display are from American, Japanese, Danish, Swedish artists and more! Some of the pieces bring in other mediums as well like wax, steel, and clay. These thought-provoking sculptures play with shape form and medium. They push the limits of glass art and display a creativity and inventiveness that makes them truly remarkable.

One particularly striking piece, titled “Demeters Walk,” is a hot sculpted glass piece by American artist martin Blank. The warm golden yellows and creams glisten and catch the eye. The attention to detail in both the human form and the wheat stalks is staggering and for a moment, it is easy to forget that you are looking at a sculpture made of glass.

Both exhibits are well worth the price of admission. I could have spent an entire day just walking back and forth, seeing new elements on each look. If you leaving feeling so inspired, check out Visit Fort Wayne for a list of area glass studios and sign up to learn the art yourself!

Holley Taylor


Holley is a student at Albion College in Michigan studying English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and History. She is excited to be back in her hometown this summer working as a Marketing Intern for Visit Fort Wayne. Holley enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

Art comes alive at these Fort Wayne destinations

If you’re anything like me, you can’t pass up the opportunity to take in art–in all forms. Well lucky for you, Fort Wayne has a vibrant arts  and entertainment scene. Why not plan an art lover’s weekend away? Here are a few ideas to make it happen:

Depending on time you get it on Friday evening, you could check out the FREE  Friday Nites Live Concert from June through early September beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Jefferson Pointe. Catch local bands up close and personal in an outdoor setting. It’s family friendly, too. Any movie buffs out there? Carmike Cinema also calls Jefferson Pointe home.

Hugry? You gotta eat! If you’re looking for an upscale dinner, Eddie Merlot’s is the place to go. Finish it off with some chocolate from the world renowned DeBrand’s.

photo2 300x224 Art comes alive at these Fort Wayne destinations

Don’t miss the Summer of Glass exhibit at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art!

Continue your adventure Saturday by heading downtown.  Just off Main St., Fort Wayne Museum of Art, boasts a great collection of art and special exhibitions.  Insider’s Tip: If you are a member of another museum, be sure to check to see if you have reciprocal membership in Fort Wayne. Can’t get enough art? Check out more local art, head over to Orchard GalleryArtlink, or one of these other local galleries.

Of course nature is the best work of art.  Head to the Fort Wayne Botanical Conservatory to see their exhibit.

As day turns into night, let your hair down a bit at the Rock at the free concert series at Rock the Plaza at 6 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library through the end of August. Or if you prefer a more low-key activity, you can’t go wrong with the Cinema Center. Here you can take in an independent, foreign, documentary, classic, or specialty film at Cinema Center.

Welcome to Fort Wayne: where you can let your artsy side shine!


Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website: