Joe Bonamassa at Fort Wayne’s Embassy Theatre

Hey, guitar fans – get ready to plagiarize new licks on your axe. Blues-rock artist Joe Bonamassa is coming to the Fort at 8:00 p.m. Monday, November 17, 2014.

Joe Bonamassa VFW.0021 Joe Bonamassa at Fort Waynes Embassy Theatre

Look to the Embassy Theatre to lay down the red carpet for the superstar who said, “I’ve really had to push myself to make everything I do better than the last project. I know the fans expect it and I feel like I owe it to the fans to give them an original record after all these years.”

And his latest gorgeous album, “Different Shades of Blue” is worthy of a fall-on-your-knees drum roll. Released September 23, it is his first solo studio album in two years with all original music. Check out “Never Give All of Your Heart,” “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun),” “Trouble Town” and more outstanding songs on the album.

This dude has been playing guitar since toddlerhood. His father bought him his first electric guitar when he was 5 years old, and he opened for BB King when he was only 12. That first gig began his outstanding professional career and currently, he has 12 #1 Billboard Blues albums to his name.

GRAMMY-nominated Bonamassa, who has recorded a plethora of albums since 2000, plays approximately 125 shows a year, and has a collection of guitars – standing at 175 at the time of this writing. When he went on his first Australian tour, almost 30 of his instruments – both acoustic and electric – traveled with him. One of his collector guitars, his first 1959 Les Paul, has been nicknamed “Magellan” because it, “circumnavigated the globe,” said Bonamassa, who has at least 200 amps in his music instrument collection.

Come and experience one of the greatest guitarists of today’s blues /rock world – this is ear candy at its best! Ticket prices are $99, $89, $79 and $69 and tickets are on sale at the Embassy Theater (124 W. Jefferson Blvd, 46802) box office or call 260-424-5665. Or order from or call 1-800-745-3000.



Barb Sieminski is a freelance writer and photographer for several magazines and newspapers. She received her B.A. and M.S. in art and English, from the University of St. Francis. When not chained to the computer, she follows her passion of fishing, believing that all good things come to she who baits . . .

Salomon Fall Harvest Festival

IMG 6767 300x225 Salomon Fall Harvest Festival

Autumn has finally arrived, bringing all the beautiful bounties of the harvest season! What better way to celebrate this time of year than with local fall festivals? The Salomon Fall Harvest Festival is a free, fun-filled weekend ideal for families. Come to Salomon Farm Park October 3-4 to learn about the history and culture of the American farm.

IMG 6765 300x225 Salomon Fall Harvest Festival

From 10 am to 5 pm Friday and Saturday, families can visit with live animals, participate in corn husking and oat/wheat threshing demonstrations, enjoy hayrides and yummy concessions, and see antique farm equipment displays.

IMG 6763 300x225 Salomon Fall Harvest Festival

Saturday’s fun includes a tractor parade and farmers market, where you can shop local goods from area farmers and artisans. And the kids will surely enjoy a step into rural farm life with a chance to make their own butter and milk cows.

This festival is great for families with kids of all ages to enjoy. Bring everyone to the Salomon Harvest Festival for a perfect autumn weekend filled with fall fun activities!

Free admission!

817 West Dupont Road
Friday, October 3, 2014
Saturday, October 4, 2014
10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Learn more here!



Born and raised in Indianapolis, almost nothing could move this downtown girl from her native Circle City—except true love. Deb now calls Fort Wayne home, and lives with her husband and their three amazing children in a cozy north side neighborhood. Armed with a Master’s in English, Deb was an editor for Northern Indiana LAKES Magazine, and a copywriter and proofreader for a local marketing and design firm. An avid reader, nature enthusiast, and amateur gourmet, she also loves to take walks and hikes with her family.

Nothing says romance like a weekend in the Fort

Nothing says romance like a weekend in the Fort.  Why? With so many options for fine dining and art, it’s hard not to fall in love again. Maybe it’s a special anniversary. Or maybe it’s “just because.” Either way, there are plenty of ways to celebrate your love in Fort Wayne. Here are a few of my favorite.

Start with a fine meal. Paula’s on Main has the best seafood I’ve had in this town. You can’t come wrong with splitting an order of their crabcakes as an appetizer. I recommend the fish tacos for the entree. And be sure to ask to sit in Karen’s section. She’ll take care of you. Reservations are recommended on the weekend.

Baker Street always knocks it out of the park. Their menu is impressive, with a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options. You’ll die for their pretzel bread, too!

Josh Serving Sundaes at AR 300x165 Nothing says romance like a weekend in the Fort No great meal is complete without dessert! We suggest popping into one of DeBrand’s stores to share one of their desserts. I recommend the chocolate lover’s cheesecake–a double layer of silky chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust, garnished with chocolate curls and dark chocolate. Yum!

Complement your meal with some art. After you’ve satisfied your palate, it’s time to cater to your artistic side. If you and your partner are Broadway junkies, you’ve come to the right place. You can catch a total of six Broadway productions at our historic Embassy Theatre.

If musicals aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There is plenty else to do to satisfy your artistic itch. The Fort Wayne Civic Theatre never fails to impress.  Presenting a variety of comedies, dramas and Broadway musicals each season, the Civic Theatre showcases outstanding volunteer talent on and off stage.

Any classical music fans out there? The Fort Wayne Philharmonic is a first-class organization. With about 300 performances a year, you’re sure to catch one.

So go ahead…fall in love with each other all over again as you fall in love with our fair city!


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:

Zoo Closing Soon…Or Is it?

As Fall rolls in, virtually everything transforms. From all the kiddos headed back to school to the reemergence of “Pumpkin Spice” flavored everything, Autumn makes it’s presence known quite boldly. While many of us relish this season that is a precursor to the reality of a Midwest Winter, the good people over at Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo are likely to be working harder than ever.

As our famous and beloved zoo here closes up shop very soon, October 12th to be exact, very little changes for the talented and dedicated Zoo Keepers that care for our furry friends. Fort Wayne Children’s zoo is unique in more ways than one. They are one of the few self-sustained zoos nationwide, which means they raise all the funds to keep their doors open to us. This means no tax funding or municipality budget. The fact that it continues to thrive speaks to just how well-loved our zoo is. Another thing that sets our local zoo apart is its seasonal operation. Most zoos are open year-round but as a cost saving measure, The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo closes from mid October until late April. It makes great sense as I cannot imagine a huge crowd showing up to visit Bill the Lion in the middle of a Polar Vortex. Nor would Bill be all too pleased to have to peek his head out under such conditions. Speaking of Bill and company, what does all of this mean for them? When the zoo shuts down this October, what happens next?

My husband said he couldn’t imagine Jelani the Giraffe being sped down a freeway to transport him to a warmer climate. That would be quite a sight to behold. I can just imagine the hashtags Fort Waynians would use on Instagram as they spot Jelani on I-69. I had the pleasure of having an awesome and informative conversation with Cheryl Piropato to get accurate answers. She is the Education & Communications Director of the zoo. It was really enjoyable speaking to her because you could hear such joy in her voice as she answered all my questions about the animals. My first question was,”Where do all the animals get shipped off to once the zoo doors close?” Her answer was complex, so read carefully. “Everybody stays.” What? Well, that sounded simple enough. There is however, one exception to that rule. The ponies. They are owned by a local family in Fort Wayne. The Hooley Family has been operating the pony ride that has brought such glee to our kids for many years. Once the zoo closes, the ponies go home to the Hooleys.

While all the other animals stay on the property, their day-to-day lives vary. The animals spend as much or as little time outdoors as they can tolerate while the temp drops. The lynx is native to Canada so the cold doesn’t pose a problem. Other animals need enclosures built right next to their exhibits. That’s where Bill retreats any time the weather drops below 20 degrees. As for Jelani, he has a barn tall enough to accommodate his incredible height. He has to head indoors as soon as temps drop below 50 degrees. At the rate the September weather is going, he may have some days where he has to go inside before the zoo closes for the season, and I can relate.

Gelani the Giraffe in her barn 178x300 Zoo Closing Soon...Or Is it?

Jelani the Giraffe in his barn.

As a person burdened by a short attention span, I was curious as to how the animals beat the boredom having to spend more time indoors. Cheryl informed me that those hard-working Zoo Keepers I mentioned earlier, provide all sorts of enrichment for them. The time spent indoors allow the Zoo Keepers to have much more quality time with the animals. They focus on training them on everything from moving to different spaces, having their hooves trimmed, and taking their medicine. To keep those brains sharp, there are cool tools the Zoo Keepers use like puzzle feeders that make the animals have to think harder to get their food. The various enrichment activities and training sessions alleviate the boredom.

I was interested to know if the animals ever show signs that they miss the visitors. While the zoo is open, 4-5,000 people are on the property on a daily basis. It has to be a pretty drastic change when this activity comes to a screeching halt. While most of the animals may not mind a bit, those who are more social seem to take notice. The sea lions swim over and show signs of enthusiasm when the occasional person walks by. The orangutans enjoy knowing what personal belongings people are toting around. Cheryl said that she’s observed an orangutan taking great interest in someone removing items from their bag, one by one. I wonder if it’s weird that I would enjoy that too. I mean, you can learn a lot about a person by what’s in their bag so that’s a wise orangutan.

orangutan2 199x300 Zoo Closing Soon...Or Is it?

So, let’s see what’s in that nice bag you’ve got there…

If you had pictured tumbleweed rolling by after October 12th, you may want to guess again. The Admin Office is all abuzz as well. This time is spent planning Zoo programs and events for the upcoming year. The administrators make the magic happen while the Zoo Keepers diligently work at keeping Fort Wayne’s animals healthy, active, and happy.

If you are anything like my family, you get so excited when zoo season is approaching. You’ve still got less than a month to enjoy a few more zoo trips before Jelani retreats to the barn. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is one more reason to visit Fort Wayne. Whatever you do, don’t fret about the animals having to endure Fall and Winter this year. While you’re sipping those pumpkin lattes, the wallabies are going to have a fine time hopping through the beautiful white snow.

The snow flies when the wallabies start hopping 300x158 Zoo Closing Soon...Or Is it?

Do you want to build a snowman?

Before I go, I HAVE to share a quote. I will always leave you with one I enjoy whether it’s relevant or not because quotes are just great!

“When you are a giraffe and you receive criticism from turtles, they are reporting the view from the level they are on.”- T.D. Jakes

Reesha Howard


Reesha Howard is a Chicago native who fell in love with Fort Wayne and decided to make it home. She is a wife and mother of two and is expecting a third. She is passionate about her family, writing and working with children. As the Co-Owner of Game Day Sports Camp and a homeschooling parent she has a hybrid lifestyle of a working/stay-at-home mother. Her hobbies include unique and fun activities & events catered towards families, improving the awareness and support of Small Businesses, and a life of service to others, particularly within the Fort Wayne community.

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1 Response to "Zoo Closing Soon…Or Is it?"

Wendy Sack
Wendy Sack
September 26th, 2014
Reesha, I loved reading this post! It made me literally laugh out loud. I look forward to reading your posts regularly!

Discover Fort Wayne’s kid friendly side

Some cities boost a great nightlife–ideal for adults. The downside is that those with kids scramble for family-friendly activities. Luckily Fort Wayne is not lacking in that department. Come see for yourself why Fort Wayne has been named among the 100 best places to raise a family.Whether you’re coming in for a day, or a whole week, there is plenty to see, taste and do. Here’s a start:

There’s nothing like a day at the zoo on an Indian summer day. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has been consistently ranked one of the best children’s zoos, and it’s easy to see why. The range of animal life is impressive–they have everything from giraffes to wallabies! There is also a good amount of hands-on activities, perfect for curious minds. I recommend you have a picnic before or after in nearby Franke Park. There is plenty of greenspace to enjoy!

If the weather isn’t cooperating, there is plenty of fun (and learning) to be had indoors at one of Fort Wayne’s many quality museums. Inspire budding scientists at Science Central, a museum dedicated to teaching kids about the wonders of sciences. Expect plenty of hands-on activities here.

Do you have a nature lover on your hands? The Botanical Conservatory is a must! They have an impressive permanent exhibit. (Cactuses, anyone?)  Their seasonal exhibits–like endangered butterflies– are not to be missed. If the kids are thirsty there is an on-site cafe.

fwmoa 300x127 Discover Fort Waynes kid friendly sideMaybe you have an aspiring Picasso in the family? Well then the Fort Wayne Museum of Art is a no-brainer.  Their Early Learning Center is designed to expose young minds to the world of art. Remember it’s never too early to inspire!

Maybe your kids have a lot of energy they need to get out of their system. What better place to do that than in the great outdoors? Fort Wayne and Allen County offers over 81 miles of biking, hiking, and even kayaking trails. The network of trails offers safe, fun places to get outdoors with the family – and our trails connect you to our parks, attractions, downtown and more!

Here’s to yours days ahead in Fort Wayne filled with laughter, fun and memories!


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: