Fort Wayne Pride Fest back for its 18th year

Pride has been celebrated in Fort Wayne for decades, but the festival we know today was born in 1997. Since then, Pride Fest has grown in size and popularity. This year, there is even more to enjoy with a week of events! Pride Fest will host events from July 23 – July 28.

Stop by Snickerz Comedy Club on Wednesday night, July 23,  for Pride night. Headliner Kristen Key is sure to keep the audience in stitches. Best known for being a fan favorite on season four of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Key employs music, scripted comedy, and her spontaneous sense of humor to make each one of her shows unique and staggeringly funny. There will also be a silent auction taking place at the comedy show to benefit Fort Wayne Pride’s year-round youth programming.

Then, on Friday, July 25, the real festivities begin. The Kick-off party will start at 7:00 p.m. at Headwaters Park. Admission is just $3 and that earns you entrance to a night long concert, which includes performances by two local bands and a DJ dance party at the end of the night. There will also be food available, vendors’ booths, and a beer tent on site.

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Make sure not to party too hard, though, because the fun begins again bright and early Saturday, July 26.  Beginning at 11:30 a.m. the Pride March will take over the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The march is open to people of all ages and is free to join; supporters will walk through the streets of downtown and end back at Headwaters in time for the beginning of the festival fun.

Saturday is the day you won’t want to miss. There will be vendors set up from noon – 6:00 p.m., a food and beer tent, a cornhole tournament from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., and a free KidSpace for children under 12 from noon – 5:00 p.m. The KidSpace will include games, prizes, a moonwalk, and crafts. There will be live entertainment all day with a little something for everyone. Check out some of the best local, regional, and national bands/singers. Saturday night will conclude with Fort Wayne’s finest drag show. Many people’s favorite part of the festival, this show is the largest in Fort Wayne and features some of the area’s best kings and queens. It promises to be a great show and a fun and memorable experience.

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The fun doesn’t stop there, either. Come out to the Fort Wayne TinCaps game on Monday, July 28, for Pride Night. Wear Red and look for the Pride section. You can even purchase your tickets during the festival the weekend before.

Come out to any or all of the Pride Fest activities and help to promote tolerance and equality. Check out Fort Wayne Pride’s webpage for more details about their other events and their organization.

Holley Taylor

About

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.

25th Annual Allen County Fair Runs July 22-27

The 25th annual Allen County Fair is set to open Tuesday, July 22 at the Allen County Fairgrounds, 2726 Carroll Road in northwest Fort Wayne.

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The fair runs July 22-27

Home to Allen County 4-H, the Allen County Fair showcases a multitude of animal showings and events throughout the week-long event. That’s in addition to all of the traditional fair fun like food (a full food court!), rides, a parade, fireworks,  live music and Kids’ Day!

Some special events include:

  • Team Pig Wrestling
  • Hot Air Balloon Flight/Glow
  • 4X4 Truck Pull
  • Demolition Derby
  • Mud Bog
  • Donkey Races
  • Youth Talent Contest
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Wrestle a pig. You know you want to!

A bonus to all of the week’s activities, there are also a couple of pre-fair events to check out. First, come and hear Hubie Ashcraft & the Drive as they perform from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, the 19th. Tickets are $10, and food and drinks will be available. Second, the 2014 Miss Allen County Queen Scholarship Pageant is on Sunday, the 20th at Carroll High School. It starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are $5 each (kids under five get in free).

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Hubie Ashcraft and The Drive took home the award for “Best Country Performer” at the 2014 Whatzup Entertainment Magazine Whammy Awards Show.

Click here to access registration forms and more information on all of the different events. And click here for a detailed calendar of events and prices.

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Think you can hold tight to a greased watermelon through the whole obstacle course?

Particulars

July 22-26 (Tuesday-Saturday)
General admission is $5 daily. (Additional cost for some events)
Children 5 and under get in free.

July 27 (Sunday)
Sunday is Discount Day— $2 discount on admission with the donation of a non-perishable food item.
$1 carnival rides

Wendy Sack

About

Born and bred in Alabama, Wendy has lived in Fort Wayne for just over 12 years, calling historic Williams-Woodland Park home. Asked to describe herself, Wendy is quick to throw out the terms grammar geek, voracious reader, Jim Gaffigan nut and Alabama Crimson Tide football fanatic. Often found with a Diet Coke in one hand and a book in the other, Wendy’s true passion is her family. She is a wife, a mother of two and is always looking for new and adventurous things to do in and around Fort Wayne. Wendy finds humor easily in any situation and is a true believer that laughter really does cure anything.

Lutheran Health Network will be the medical sponsor for the 2014 Hotel Fitness Championship

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The 2014 Hotel Fitness Championship begins August 25 at Sycamore Hills Golf Club.

The Western Golf Association, host of the 2014 Hotel Fitness Championship (Aug. 25-31) at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, announces today that Lutheran Health Network (LHN) will be on site at this year’s tournament as the exclusive provider of medical services.

“It’s an honor for us to participate in activities surrounding this tournament,” said Brian Bauer, CEO of Lutheran Health Network. “Not only is the Hotel Fitness Championship important for players striving to reach the highest level of professional golf, it’s also important for Fort Wayne and our surrounding communities. The collective talent of all involved will certainly be on display again this year and we’re pleased to be part of that grouping.”

As the medical services provider, Lutheran Health Network will staff and manage the on-site first aid facility to provide spectators, players, caddies, volunteers and tournament staff immediate care as needed. Additionally, LHN is supporting this year’s Red Coat Dinner, which raises money for the Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House and Evans Scholars Foundation. The 2014 Red Coat Dinner will take place Aug. 26 during tournament week.

“We owe great thanks to Lutheran Health Network, and it’s our pleasure to be working with an organization that’s so important to northeastern Indiana and its residents,” said Bruce Dye, CEO of Hotel Fitness.

The Hotel Fitness Championship is one of four Web.com Tour Finals events that will determine the 50 players who earn cards for the 2014-15 PGA TOUR season under the TOUR’s enhanced qualifying system.

“We are grateful to have Lutheran’s support in numerous facets of tournament week,” said Duke Butler IV, WGA tournament director for the Hotel Fitness Championship. “With its experienced caregivers on-site, our team can breathe easy knowing our guests, participants and staff will receive world-class care as needed.”

Players eligible for the Hotel Fitness Championship include the top-75 money winners on the Web.com Tour at the conclusion of the Regular Season; players who finish 126-200 on the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup points list at the end of the TOUR’s Regular Season; and non-members who earn enough points to place them among 126-200 on the FedExCup points list at the end of the regular season.

To learn more about hospitality, volunteer and ticket options available, visit http://www.hotelfitnesschampionship.com. To learn more about the WGA and the Evans Scholars Foundation, visit www.wgaesf.org. You can also find out more information about the 2014 Hotel Fitness Championship at Visit Fort Wayne.

Katie

About

Katie Robinson joined the Visit Fort Wayne staff in March 2013 as a Marketing Assistant. She recently graduated from Ball State University with a degree in public relations. Katie is a Fort Wayne native and enjoys exploring the city when she can. She is a coffee junkie and is often found with her coffee cup in hand. She enjoys baking, and is especially fond of cupcakes. In her spare time Katie enjoys shopping, curling up with a good book, spending time with friends and family, relaxing with her husband Joseph, and playing with their adorable Shih Tzu, Gidget.

Crafts, Collections, and More at the Allen County Fair

My favorite thing about going to the Allen County Fair is the crafts. As a former 4-Hr, I can predict that now is probably the time when kids are desperately putting the finishing touches on posters, cake decorations, barbecue projects and cooking masterpieces.

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Enormous cabbages and beautiful squash are on display at the county fair.

The Allen County Fair has come a long way since it began in the early 1980s. At first, there was only one building and a number of striped tent tops that  protected all the 4-H exhibits. But, over the past 15 years, a number of buildings have sprung up so that now, all the crafts and hand work projects are inside air-conditioned buildings with smooth cement sidewalks and floors between. What a switch from the days of crushed limestone and raccoons that liked to raid the cake displays!

In the first building  behind the Home Economics center, I really love to check out the collections. Stuffed toys, trading cards, key chains, and pencil collections have been on display before. The sewing displays, too, are so much fun to explore. Formals, pea coats, and a regular forest of simple a-line skirts and aprons are there, as well as the occasional suit or formal gown. The ‘crafts’ section takes up at least two, usually three rows of tables. This is where kids put in handmade needlework, fiber arts, bath tub buddies, gelatin soaps, thrown ceramics and anything else that could be simply designated as a ‘craft project.’

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Beautiful workmanship – and kids made these!

Photography – oh, so many of the pictures are excellent! Black and white close-ups of unique objects, color photos of field trips, salon prints in every hue of mat board – how on earth can the judges choose just one photo for that fluffy Champion ribbon? And if fun giftwrap is your thing, there’s plenty of inspiration piled onto tables behind the photographs. Empty packages are gift wrapped in everything from balloons to netting and, once, an ironing board with mop hair and cleaning supply gloves. That was a really nifty display.

If woodworking and pets are more what you like, stroll through the covered walkway, past the water fountains and 4-H office to the next building. There will usually be a row of fish tanks, a set of small animal displays – don’t tap the glass – and a parakeet or two. The interior decorating of each fish tank is always a treat to see; iridescent pebbles, tiny castles, a bubbling treasure chest, and other unique pieces are all added to create the perfect, tiny ‘world’ for a gold fish or guppy.

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One of the smaller rabbits at the fair – but cute!

And, there’s the woodwork area: really, these pieces are of professional grade. How can a kid make a parquet checkerboard? Or some of those large pieces, like the loveseat/coatrack combination? Or the perfectly smooth nightstand in polished wood? This building also houses the garden and flower arranging displays, and the models. Tiny fighter jets, shiny race cars and entire air force bases might be on display. And the flowers – corsages, bouquets, baskets and planters are set up in green profusion. The mini- and cloverbud-4H projects are set up on two long sets of tables, too: be prepared to see at least a dozen no-bake cookies, handmade pillows, an occasional Lego display and an insect collection. (Don’t worry, everything is fully enclosed so there will be no escapes!)

Nearby are the animal barns. A separate building is kept each for pigs, goats, cows/calves, horses, fowl and rabbits. Some of the turkeys on display are enormous! And they make the real turkey gobble – perhaps the only place you’ll hear that in Fort Wayne. The rabbits are probably the cutest animals there. There are so many varieties – Angora, Dutch, lopshire – you name it. Because the fair is in July, the animals usually have a number of fans aimed every which way, so that all creatures can keep cool – unless it is a chilly day. Then the fans are off and the big, open air windows are closed to keep it cozy. Plenty of food and water dishes are also in evidence, as the kids displaying their animals need to be there every day to care for their livestock.

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4H kids also show animals – here’s a boy practicing with the hogs.

If you’re looking for something fun and creative to view at the Allen County fair, I highly recommend the 4-H displays. Everything is so well-presented that you can’t help but glean a little inspiration from something you see! The Allen County Fair takes place July 22-27. For more information check out Visit Fort Wayne.

Louisa

About

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!)

Local production of “Hairspray” set to impress

In its 16th year, the Fort Wayne Summer Music Theater will be putting on a production of the classic hit, Hairspray. The musical will be held at IPFW’s Williams Theater Thursday, July 10 – Saturday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 13 at 2:00 p.m.

The story itself is not new, and in fact has had quite the journey of its own. It made its debut in 1998 when John Walter’s film production of the same name was released. Later, in 2002 Hairspray became a Broadway musical. The  musical was a smashing hit, winning eight out of its 13 Tony nominations. The 2007 film remake was no different. With a star-studded cast, the film did extremely well at the box-office and became the sixth highest grossing musical after Chicago and Grease. 

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Set in 1962 Baltimore, Hairspray tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a slightly overweight teenager obssessed with the Corny Collins show. Turnblad and her longtime best friend, Penny Pingleton, race home each night to watch the Corny Collins show and are nearly delirious when they discover a spot has opened on the show and auditions will be held. With the help of her friend Seaweed, Tracy manages to make it on the show, though it isn’t a walk in the park. Tensions run high as places on the show suddenly don’t seem so set in stone, and it isn’t long before Tracy makes some enemies. The longer she is on the show, the more Tracy become disillusioned with the way things are running. She decides it’s up to her to make a big change.

Hairspray tackles the racial tensions of 1960s America is a new and exciting way. It’s got love, suspense, drama, and a great soundtrack. Full of wild characters, this musical will have you in stitches.

The Fort Wayne Summer Music Theater’s production will feature students of all ages from all over the city. Founder Kirby Volz will be directing the production. This summer theater program is designed to challenge interested actors and push them to achieve even more.

With a talented cast and crew, this year’s production is sure to be a hit! Don’t miss your chance to see this classic story in living color on stage. Admission is only $15 for adults and $12 for students. Tickets are on sale now, so snag them while you can!

Holley Taylor

About

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.