‘Tis the Season – Christmas Concerts at the Embassy Theatre (and you can win tickets!)

Christmas is coming, like it or not. If you need a little help getting in the mood this year, why not check out one of these great Christmas-themed performances coming to Fort Wayne’s Historic Embassy Theatre this December.

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On Friday, December 5 at 8:00 p.m., Mannheim Steamroller returns to the Embassy Theatre for Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis: 30th Anniversary Tour. Celebrating the release of its first Christmas album, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, this concert will feature many of the contemporary versions of Christmas tunes that fans around the world have loved for three decades. As a matter of fact, I’m listening to “Deck the Halls” off that album right now, which reminds me just how much I love synthesizers. And Christmas. It should be a fantastic show.

The next night, Saturday, December 6 at 8:00 p.m., you can catch the Elvis Tribute Artist Christmas Spectacular, featuring Shawn Klush, The Sweet Inspirations, The Blackwood Quartet, and The Fabulous Ambassadors. Listen, as far as I’m concerned, any “best of Christmas music” list has to include

  • “Wonderful Christmastime” – Paul McCartney
  • “Last Christmas” – Wham!
  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Band Aid
  • Any Johnny Mathis Christmas song
  • Any Elvis Presley Christmas song (but really, we all know “Blue Christmas” is the best)

Having a whole night of amazing Elvis tribute artists perform his Christmas best? If that doesn’t put you in this Christmas spirit, you might want to check the size of your heart…

Finally, over the course of the following two weekends, December 12th and 13th and December 19th and 20th, be a part of a Fort Wayne holiday tradition – The Fort Wayne Philharmonic Holiday Pops. Seeing the Phil perform with Ben Folds just last Friday reminded me how great the musicians who play with the Phil are and how lucky we are to have them. Seriously, do yourself a favor and catch one of the six Holiday Pops shows: December 12th and 19th at 7:30 p.m. and December 13th and 20th at 2:00 p.m. (matinee) and 7:30 p.m.

What a great lineup of holiday performances! What a great venue! For more information on any of these shows, check out www.visitfortwayne.com or www.fwembassytheatre.org.
Win tickets to Mannheim Steamroller here.

Win tickets to the Elvis Tribute Artist here.



Apart from spending his college years in West Lafayette, Indiana, and Dayton, Ohio, Mike Flohr is a lifetime resident of the Summit City. Today he divides his time among his wife, Megan, his job as a college librarian, and his many geek obsessions.

Model Train Extravaganza Returns to Science Central, November 28-30

One of Fort Wayne’s most loved holiday events returns this November, now in it’s 15th year! The Festival of Trains takes place November 28 through 30 at Science Central in the heart of downtown. Train enthusiasts of all ages are encouraged to attend this event which features multiple model train displays presented by area train enthusiasts.

sciencecentral Model Train Extravaganza Returns to Science Central, November 28 30Science Central, located at 1950 N. Clinton St., is Northeast Indiana’s “go to” destination for learning about all things science. The museum is located in the city’s former city power and light facility and contains more than 30,000 square feet of hands-on learning – perfect for children and adults. Learn about science, technology, math and engineering!

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Regular admission rates apply for this event which are $8 per person. Children ages 2 and under are admitted free. The Festival of Trains runs during normal hours, 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information visit Science Central online or call the museum at 260.424.2400.


Previously a news reporter at daily newspapers in Indiana and Ohio, Holly Hammersmith now enjoys the lighter side of writing through freelance work. In her spare time, Holly can be found running or practicing yoga. She also enjoys visiting local coffee shops and day-tripping. Holly lives with her husband, dog Lulu and half a dozen houseplants. Find Holly on Twitter @HFHammers and at http://hollyhammersmith.com.

Indiana Artisan Holiday Marketplace Features Locally-Sourced Gifts

Get a jump start on your holiday shopping at this year’s Indiana Artisan Holiday Marketplace, a showcase of local wares, handmade crafts, foods and art. The marketplace takes place November 29 and 30 at the Grand Wayne Convention Center in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

artisanlogo Indiana Artisan Holiday Marketplace Features Locally Sourced Gifts

More than 75 artisans will be features at this event which provides an unique opportunity to purchase artisan foods and one-of-a-kind artwork and artisan – directly from Hoosier vendors! Available food items will include chocolates, candies, noodles and Indiana wines.

The marketplace will also feature live art and craft demonstrations, along with samples of many of those tasty gifting foods. Artisans and their works include: painters, woodworkers, bakers, instrument makers, potters, paper and mixed media artists, jewelry designers, weavers and more!

artisan2 Indiana Artisan Holiday Marketplace Features Locally Sourced Gifts

The Indiana Artisan Holiday Marketplace runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $7 per person. Children ages 14 and under are admitted for free. For more information on the marketplace visit the event online. The Grand Wayne Convention Center is located at 120 W. Wayne St. and within walking distance of several hotels. Use the online Fort Wayne Hotels guide to help you decide where to stay.

Insider Tip: Admission is only $5 for those who show their ticket/stub from the Embassy Theatre’s Festival of Trees. To learn more about this exhibit, which runs November 25 through December 3, visit the Fort Wayne Insider Blog!


Previously a news reporter at daily newspapers in Indiana and Ohio, Holly Hammersmith now enjoys the lighter side of writing through freelance work. In her spare time, Holly can be found running or practicing yoga. She also enjoys visiting local coffee shops and day-tripping. Holly lives with her husband, dog Lulu and half a dozen houseplants. Find Holly on Twitter @HFHammers and at http://hollyhammersmith.com.

National Novel Writing in Fort Wayne

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Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

November has begun and so has National Novel Writing Month, the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. The point of NaNoWriMo is not to produce a perfect book ready for print, but to do a rough draft that can be edited later. The site explains that the nonprofit’s approach to creative writing is “for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.” A deadline, a large goal, and other people in the same boat are great motivators to reach your goal this month. If you are a NaNoWriMo participant visiting Fort Wayne for the Thanksgiving holiday and you want to get away from festivities to rack up your word count, here are some ideal writing spots around town.

First off, there are scheduled write-ins around the city hosted by Fort Wayne NaNoWriMos. These write-ins will motivate you to write your novel by connecting with other writers and providing a study group kind of feel. Some take place at the Main and Pontiac branches of the Allen County Public Library system in Fort Wayne, and some at the Eckhart Public Library in neighboring Auburn, IN. There are also write-ins scheduled at Mocha Lounge in the southwest part of town and Firefly Coffee House on the near northeast side. All of these locations have plenty of room for a group to sit and chat. The hosts of the write-ins make sure there are enough power strips for everyone to plug in their laptop, and the Pontiac branch has extra laptops available for use if needed. The Fort Wayne NaNoWriMos Google calendar shows the dates and times for these write-ins. Check back throughout the month for any new ones scheduled or for schedule changes.

At the coffee shops you can also enjoy tasty treats. Mocha Lounge has a wide range of chai, coffee, and teas. Firefly has delicious smoothies to choose from and art exhibits to gaze at. Fortezza Coffee is another destination to visit. There are no scheduled write-ins there, but it is a downtown coffee shop with delicious coffee and a cozy atmosphere. Not a coffee drinker? Try their matcha tea. For a mix of the familiar and the unique, visit the downtown Starbucks at the corner of West Jefferson and Fairfield. It’s built in an old mechanic shop, and you can sit in what used to be the garage for a sense of being outside while still protected from the elements. Many people in Fort Wayne consider this to be their informal office, so you would be in good company working diligently at your project while enjoying a different sort of scenery.

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If you would rather have complete silence and want a break from the computer screen, you can visit the Silent Reading Room at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library. It’s a space with long tables and comfortable leather chairs where no technology or talking is allowed. It’s a peaceful place to sit and hear the scratch of your pen against paper. Later you can type up your words to add to your word count. Also located at the main branch is the ACPL Genealogy Center with the second largest research collection in the country. If you have extra time on your hands it would be a great place to do research before you edit your current novel or glean inspiration for next year’s novel.

Check the various sites, social media pages, and calendars for holiday hours and any schedule changes. And good luck this November on hitting your word count goal!

Faith Bell


Faith is a Cleveland native who moved to Fort Wayne.

A Music Junkie’s Guide to Fort Wayne

If you eat, sleep and breath music you’ll fall in love with Fort Wayne.  There is plenty to see, hear and do music-wise in this town. Here are a few suggestions to add your to your itinerary:

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Wooden Nickel Music owner Bob Roets (right) will take care of you.

Check out our record stories:

Neat Neat Neat Records & Music caters to the music savvy consumer.   Open since March 1, 2011, the record store carries a variety of albums and genres−“hard to find stuff,” as owner Morrison Agen puts it. Today, Neat Neat Neat Records serves customers with an eclectic mix of 6,000 + records and 2,000 45s in a historic building on the south side of Fort Wayne.  Morrison buys and sells music, everything from jazz, to blues to country to punk.

You can’t go wrong with Wooden Nickel Music either. What is unique about this local enterprise is that each location boasts something different.  For example, the North Clinton store is the place to go for classic rock, new rock, alternative, country, and  some soundtracks, jazz, rap, hip-hop, R&B and soul.  The North Anthony store is the place for vinyl albums. Last, the store in the Village of Time Corners boasts a good selection of vinyl and mainstream CDs.

Check out Sweetwater Sound. 

Prepare to be “wow’ed.” Sweetwater Sound is the mecca for all things audio related. Sweetwater began business 33 years ago in Fort Wayne, and is the country’s most respected dealer in high-technology equipment for musicians, recording studios, and broadcasters – from microphones and digital recording systems to electric guitars to electronic keyboards and electronic drums. The company caters to artists and recording professionals all over the country.  In addition to boosting some awesome gear, the building itself is impressive.  Think modern and eco-friendly. Stay for lunch at their on-site cafeteria.

Catch a live show.

The Brass Rail, located at 1121 Broadway, is a hot spot for local and national musical entertainment-of all musical genres-from metal, to punk, to bluegrass–all under one roof! Be sure to order their signature drink–a PBR!

Here’s to a rockin’ weekend in the Fort!


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: www.lcagg.com.