Christmas at the Fort

Maybe you’ve seen the high wooden walls of the Old Fort on Spy Run. And perhaps you’ve seen how cozy it looks, with snow gently falling around the brown-and-white exterior. Well, if you’ve ever wanted to explore the Fort in the winter time, this is your chance to mix a little historical fun with Christmas shopping.

Christmas at the Fort is taking place on Saturday, November 29 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. If you’re in downtown Fort Wayne, you can hop on the Holly Trolley and get a lift to the Fort Stop. There will be a warming station, donut bobbing for the kids, and a bake sale, just to get you started.

Inside the fort, each ‘apartment’ will be open, featuring different handmade items for sale. Crafters from all over Indiana, including Lebanon, Peru, Converse, North Manchester, and Huntington, will be there to show you their products and perhaps to demonstrate how their items are made.

This event is completely family friendly, and it comes on the Saturday right after Thanksgiving – so why not make a day of it and bring the whole gang along? While most of the terrain inside the fort is even and paved with crushed rock, there are steps to get up into the ‘stores,’ so you might want to park the stroller outside and bring the kids in.

11christmas16 soldier re enactor helps with crafts Christmas at the Fort

Kids and historical re-enactors work on crafts at the Christmas at the Fort

As you shop, you’ll find everything from woolen hand-spun and hand-stitched items to carved bowls and blacksmith products. Silver jewelry, pottery, leather goods and beeswax items are also for sale. Products offered here are all made with an eye to traditional craftsmanship, so there will be no batteries involved!

11christmas10 demonstrating at the Fort Christmas at the Fort

Why not make some holiday decorations while you’re at the Fort?

Costumed demonstrators may be present at the Fort, too, to lend an air of authenticity to the situation. After all, the fort is a reconstruction from 1815-16 – why not take a step back into time and see what it looked like, too? Children’s activities include an opportunity to don period clothing for a photo opportunity with “General George Washington” alongside his cannon. Children are also welcome to create a s’more treat, toasting their own marshmallow over a cozy fireplace.

11christmas07 A fire and a wreath Christmas at the Fort

What could feel more like Christmas than a warm fire, a pine wreath and candles?

If you’re driving over to the Fort, the address is 1201 Spy Run Ave., and parking is available in the Spy Run lot, or near Lawton Park (across the river.) Admission is free, but donations are accepted.



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!)

Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping!

HTS 300x199 Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping! On Saturday, November 29 you can discover downtown and all of the local shops it has to offer during the Downtown Improvement District’s annual Holly Trolley Shopping Day! Park, shop and ride the FREE trollies from 11am-5pm and check out unique offerings from local businesses both right downtown, and in the Wells Street Corridor.

Participating downtown shops are:

3R Gallery
Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery
Botanical Conservatory
Castle Gallery Fine Art
Cathedral Books & Gifts
Community Center Popup Market
Cottage Flowers
Courtyard Wintergreens and Utopian Coffee Co.
Creative Women of the World
Dunkin Donuts at the Allen County Public Library
Emiley’s Haute Cottage
Fort Wayne Museum of Art Paradigm Gallery
Fort Wayne TinCaps Orchard
Foxy Ladies Art Posse Holiday Gift Market
Historic Fort Wayne
House of Furniture
Indiana Artisan Holiday Marketplace
Pembroke Bakery & Café
Prana Yoga School of Yoga and Health
Saving Grace Vintage
Science Central
Sharon’s Victorian House of Gifts
Stoner’s Funstore
Sunny Schick Camera Shop
The Wood Shack Architectural Antiques
Third World Fair Trade Shoppe
Visit Fort Wayne
Your Virgin Hair Boutique

Wells Corridor participants include:

Big Eyed Fish
Brewers Art Supply, Inc.
C.M. Sloan & Sons Funeral Home
Connolly’s Do It Best
Fort Wayne Guitar Exchange
Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot
G.I. Joes Army Surplus
Great Panes Glass Company
Hyde Brothers Booksellers
Indiana Mexican Bakery
Jay’s Mini Mart Inc.
La Michoana
Linda Lou’s New & Used Furniture
Morings Flowers
Richards Bakery & Big Apple Pizza
Wells Street Variety & Antiques

For those keeping count, that’s 50 (FIFTY) local places you can visit throughout the day! Need a little help mapping your day out with all of these options? Let me give you a few of the places I’m most excited about visiting during HollyTrolley Shopping!

1966952 343662242462613 3021124476205495112 n 300x300 Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping!

Emiley’s Haute Cottage features unique gifts. (photo via Emiley’s Haute Cottage Facebook page)

Emily’s Haute Cottage

Emily’s Haute Cottaqge is one of the cutest shops in downtown Fort Wayne! Offering everything from unique home furniture and decor, to locally made jewelry, Emily’s Haute Cottage is the place to go if you’re looking for something you ‘re sure to not find in a chain store. Voted 1st place in the Fort Wayne Newspaper’s Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Gift Collectibles Shop, this is the perfect spot to hunt for a gift for that person on your Christmas list that has fun and unique taste (or to buy yourself something fabulous).

VC 1 665 522x392 300x225 Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping!

Just a few of the things you’ll find while shopping at Visit Fort Wayne.

Visit Fort Wayne

Obviously, Visit Fort Wayne is a must for this list! Stop by the Visitors Center for gifts that shout your love for Fort Wayne! Whether you’re looking for Fort Wayne branded apparel, or something uniquely Fort Wayne to celebrate our city, there’s a good chance Visit Fort Wayne has it! Want to find something a little more “luxurious”? The Visitors Center carries local favorites Vera Bradley and DeBrand Fine Chocolate too! While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to chat up their knowledgable staff who are always happy to give their recommendations of what to do and see in Fort Wayne!

Store 522x392 300x225 Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping!

Browse Fort Wayne Outfitters.

Fort Wayne Outfitter’s & Bike Depot

Prior to this summer I had never been to Fort Wayne Outfitters. I had heard lots of good things, but never had a reason or opportunity to check it out. Once I did I fell in love with this hidden gem in the Wells Street Corridor! During much warmer weather, Fort Wayne Outfitters is the place to go if you’re looking to really get out and explore Fort Wayne from a different point of view. They offer kayak, canoe, and paddle board rentals for going out on the river, as well as bike rentals to explore our trail system. For your shopping needs, they have a selection of apparel and gear, bikes and boats. This is the perfect place to shop for the outdoorsy person in your life!

hyde 2 Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping!

Hyde Brother’s is filled to the brim with books.

Hyde Brothers Book Sellers

If you have a book lover on your shopping list, chances are they already know about Hyde Brothers Booksellers. It is a truly magical place if reading is your thing. They offer over 150,000 titles, and are one of the largest bookstores in all of Indiana! I’ve spent many afternoons combing the shelves at Hyde Brothers, looking for something unique and interesting, and they never disappoint! You’ll find everything from first-edition leatherbound novels, antique special editions and newer titles currently flying off the shelves.

Now, start mapping out your day! Many of the locations along the Holly Trolley route will be offering special holiday items, one-day sales and refreshments for shoppers. Holly Trolley shopping is also great because with two trolley routes, you won’t have to wait long at any given stop to move along to your next stop! Holly Trolley shopping goes from 11am-5pm and riding the trolley is FREE! For more information, check out Visit Fort Wayne or the Downtown Improvement District. And, don’t miss out on all of the other great Holiday Fest activities going on all season long!



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.

Kick off the holiday season with the Embassy Theatre’s Festival of Trees

FullSizeRender 300x300 Kick off the holiday season with the Embassy Theatres Festival of Trees

Last year’s Festival of Trees was one of my favorites!

There’s something magical about the holiday season. Everyone is a little cheerier, the cold weather feels more festive than troublesome, houses are decked out in twinkling lights, and Christmas trees are put up and decorated for all to see. To top it all off, Fort Wayne goes all out to usher in the holiday season. From the big Holidayfest kickoff at the Night of Lights, to the illuminated displays you’ll find around town all throughout the season, Fort Wayne is doing it right! Out of all of the great events you’ll find throughout Holidayfest, the Embassy Theatre Festival of Trees is by far my favorite, and it will be yours too!

Each year the Embassy Theatre puts on the Festival of Trees – a festival where trees of all shapes and sizes are decorated elaborately in celebration of the holiday season. While the Festival of Trees is a wonderful display of all things wondrous and magical, it also serves a bigger purpose. Since its start in 1984, the Embassy Festival of Trees has served as a community goodwill event that supports the continuous operational and restoration efforts of the Embassy Theatre Foundation, Inc.. Each intricately, and sometimes gloriously over the top, tree is decorated and/or sponsored by a local group or business, adding even more the true community feel of the event.

This is one of Fort Wayne’s favorite holiday festivals, hands down! Year after year, more and more people are discovering the fun and beauty that is the Festival of Trees. Not only are there gaggles of intricately decorated trees all around the Embassy Theatre and Indiana Hotel lobby, but there are also live performances from some of the areas most talented singers, dancers and musicians. I can guarantee that even the most Grinch-like person will be transformed after walking through the magical hallways filled with holiday cheer (and lights and glitter and ribbon!).

The Embassy Theatre Festival of Trees kicks off on downtown Fort Wayne’s Night of Lights on November, 26th, and continues through Wednesday, December 3rd. While the window to attend the festival is limited, it is worth working it into your plans!

The full schedule for the Festival of Trees is as follows:
Night of Lights, Wed., Nov. 26, 6-9 p.m.
Thurs., Nov. 27, 4-8 p.m. (featuring Grande Page Organ music)
Fri.-Sun., Nov. 28- Nov. 30, 12-8 p.m. (youth entertainment on the Embassy stage)
Mon., Dec. 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Senior Day (open to the public, special information for Seniors)
Tues., Dec. 2, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 3, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Tots and Trees (open to the public, special activities for kids)

Don’t miss out! Make the Festival of Trees a new tradition with your family and friends! Admission to the festival is $7 for adults and $3 for children ages 4-12. Children 3 and under are FREE. For ticket information call the Embassy Theatre box office at 800.745.3000, or visit ticketmaster. For more information on the Festival of Trees, and all of the other great Holidayfest events, check out Visit Fort Wayne.



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.

ENJOY the corn in Indiana!

Driving down the country roads coming into Fort Wayne from almost any direction, you’ll run into your fair share of corn fields. The thick green stalks swaying gently in the wind, their leaves rustling crisply – corn fields bring to mind great summer memories, Field of Dreams visions of peaceful farms, and maybe even a ripple of fear if you’ve seen Children of the Corn. Still, corn is a symbol of summer in America and holds a prominent place in many households.

There is still a decent amount of corn season left to take advantage of! So, if you are looking to live it up to the fullest and get your fair share of the corn, check out these fun ways to enjoy corn!

corn2 300x200 ENJOY the corn in Indiana!

1. Corn Mazes

Fort Wayne is home to a number of different corn mazes. This is a great way for the whole family to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. Check out all the great activities like the maze, cornhole tournaments, and corn play pits.

Kuehnert Dairy Farm and Fall Festival
6532 W. Cook Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46818
Weekends through October 26. Fridays 6:00-10:00pm; Saturdays 10:00am-10:00pm; Sundays Noon to 5:00pm on Sunday

Amazing Fall Fun
3150 County Road 43, Waterloo IN, 46793
Weekends through November 2. Fridays 6:00-10:00pm, Saturdays noon-10:00pm, Sundays noon-6:00pm

Ridenour Acres
2935 E 20 N. Angola, IN 46703
Saturday and Sunday: 12:00pm – 6:00pm

2. Buying Corn
There are some fun ways to get your corn in Fort Wayne. The first is at local Farmers Markets. The corn at the these markets is always guaranteed to be at the peak of freshness and it’s locally grown! Also, be sure to check out Cedar Creek Produce. Cedar Creek Produce is a family-run business that offers farm fresh produce year round to our local community.  While you are there, make sure to check out the fun fall activities they have! Either way, picking out corn can be a great activity for the whole family.
3. Corn Feasts!
Of course, there is always the question of what to do with the corn once you get it home. The options are nearly endless, but here’s a few of my favorites.
Grilled Corn-on-the-cob
It may seem pretty simple, but this is a sure winner even the pickiest of eaters will love. Just remove the husks and make sure to get all those pesky hairs, too. Then, coat the corn with a little melted butter, garlic, and salt. After that, grill to perfection; the kernels should just be starting to get a little bit brown. This is the perfect addition to any meal and will leave your guests wanting more.
This is a bit of a different take on the traditional corn bread, but just as good! While the recipe does call for canned corn, you can use fresh sweet corn scrapped off the cob just as easily!
corn1 300x200 ENJOY the corn in Indiana!

Sweet Corn Spoonbread

Perfect for warming the insides on a brisk fall day, this soup will not disappoint. Again, for this one the recipe calls for thawed frozen corn, but it will be even better with fresh corn.
What are your favorite ways to celebrate corn?
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.

How to Make Trick-Or-Treating About More Than Candy

It’s almost Halloween, and kids of all ages are ready to get costumed and trick-or-treat, or head to the Halloween Carnival. This year, as more and more teachers are flipping their classrooms – students listen to lectures at home and do the enrichment in class – why not consider Halloween as a learning activity?

A few spooky ideas for fun learning experiences are below:

  1. Have your child trick-or-treat for a good cause. At home, have them learn about the organization or cause and then collect money on their candy runs.
  2. If you have a younger child, set them up at home with candy bingo. This way they will get excited about counting the candy or identifying its color as they go.
  3. Have your kids research their favorite zoo animal and have them tell you about them while at Wild Zoo Halloween.
  4. Utilize problem solving skills by having your kids plan the trick-or-treat route. Have them plan the shortest path between points and to home or have them make a path that never crosses itself.
  5. If you have a tween or older, have them learn about some of the “haunted” spots nearby. Visit them together and have the tween tell you all the ghost story after the trick-or-treating is done.

Those are just a few ideas on how to make Halloween about more than candy. Do you have any educational ideas for holidays that can be done outside the classroom? If so, leave them in the comments below.



Fort Wayne Trick-Or-Treating Times:

Fort Wayne: 6 pm – 8 pm
Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center: 5 – 7 pm
Leo-Cedarville: 6 pm –8 pm
Grabill: 5 pm – 7 pm
Huntertown: 6 – 8 pm
New Haven: Halloween Carnival at Schnelker Park from 5 pm – 6:30 pm, offers trick-or-treat at downtown businesses from 5 pm – 7 pm, and then regular trick-or-treat hours from 6pm – 8 pm.

tricktreat 300x168 How to Make Trick Or Treating About More Than Candy

Kaila Strong


Kaila is a technology blogger and active online as a writer for over ten years. Her passions include technology, business, travel and much more. She has fond memories of Fort Wayne, spending summers with her grandmother as a child and is also a continued supporter of local businesses in the area.

View Comments

2 Responses to "How to Make Trick-Or-Treating About More Than Candy"

October 22nd, 2014
You are right! We have made the change!
October 22nd, 2014
I believe trick or treat hours are from 6-8pm in Ft. Wayne...that's what the Journal Gazette is reporting.