Mark Your Calendars for the 2014 Johnny Appleseed Festival!

A child clasping a bunch of dried corn husks, a glitter of sunlight on antique glass and the mouthwatering sight of dozens of Dutch ovens bubbling away over open fires – this must be the Johnny Appleseed Festival. It’s on September 20 and 21, this year.

Women in long, calico dresses, men in straw hats, and kids with all sorts of nineteenth-century gadgets will be at this event, which was created to celebrate the life of American frontiersman Johnny Appleseed. This man with a tin pot on his head planted dozens of apple trees throughout Midwestern America, and legend has it that Appleseed spent his final days here, in the Fort Wayne region under the care of local settlers.

In recognition of one of Fort Wayne’s most famous folk figures, the Summit City holds a festival in September, when the apple crop is at its peak. Everything ‘apple’ is here at the festival, along with a ton of other wonderful goods and finds.

Like music? Stroll over to one of several stages set up on the festival grounds. You’ll hear everything from Suzuki violin and cello players to banjo and voice combos. Cloggers kick up their heels to tunes like “Buffalo Gals Won’t You Come Out Tonight” and “Old Joe Clark.” Story tellers gather kids and their families to tell tales about animals and pioneers – with a fair amount of story stretching in the process.

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These are some of the colorful fresh flowers for sale at the Farmer’s Market at the Johnny Appleseed Festival.

But don’t think that this is only a performance-based event. No – if you like to shop, then put on your good shoes and prepare to be outside in the woodsmoke and sunshine for hours. There is a little bit of everything here. Want to find a pot of fresh mums to decorate your doorstep? Check out the Farmer’s Market. You can also purchase fresh vegetables, apples, cut flowers and pumpkins by the dozens.

Or maybe you like hand-crafted goods – well, step up to the rows of artisan booths, where hand-beaded necklaces, painted glass, silverware-turned-jewelry, and cute cabin night lights are all waiting to find a home. Potpourri, soaps made from goat milk, and a plethora of other household products can be found here, too. And don’t forget about the pottery and hand-fashioned metalwork – everything from shining copper to ebony cast iron is there, with the workmen and women present, to tell you how they completed each project.

Historical re-enactors camp out on the banks of the St. Joe River, where they routinely fire their cannons on the hour. For the most part, the re-enactors demonstrate Civil War practices and costumes, but you’ll also find some Revolutionary War and 1812-era costumes. Don’t forget to look for General Lee from the South – his gray uniform stands out strikingly against the dark blue of the many Union troops.

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Calico pioneer dresses at one booth, where customers are welcome to explore and purchase just the right frock.

And then there is the food. For some folks, this is the main draw of the festival. Giant containers of root beer are for sale – check out the keepsake blue and brown glass bottles.  Turkey soup, pork chops, barbecued sandwiches, lemonade, and caramel popcorn are some of the offerings. You have to browse along the rows of tents and perhaps ask the person ahead of you to find out what’s being made. If it smells good, undoubtedly, there will be a line – a long one. But it’s the Johnny Appleseed Festival – and coming to explore the event is free. Why not sample one of the best festivals that Fort Wayne has to offer?

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Mmm – smell the food cooking? These chefs use open fires and Dutch ovens to produce delectable dishes in the pioneer style.



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!)

TekVenture’s Maker Faire is a Creative Delight for Everyone

Question:  What do puppets, rockets, and musical therapy have in common?

Answer:  They all entertained audiences at last year’s Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire!

This year’s Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire will be held on September 13 and 14 in Headwaters Park, downtown, and these forms of entertainment are likely to reappear!  The Maker Fair is supported by TekVenture, a local program that encourages people of all ages to share their invention ideas and engage in experiments.

In my opinion, this Faire is definitely one of the COOLEST attractions to visit the city, and I plan on attending it for several reasons.

As an educator, I think it is necessary to see the natural, coherent blend of science with the arts, math, technology, and even athletics.  At the Maker Faire, local and regional Makers educate and entertain guests with their inventions – from whimsical pieces of art, to functioning, giant puppets, to rocket launches and electric demonstrations.  These remind us – especially kids – that we can make inspiring and useful creations using more than one subject area.

pig plane TekVenture’s Maker Faire is a Creative Delight for Everyone

It’s a pig – it’s a plane – it’s…a pig plane!

As an adult, I myself am mesmerized by new inventions.  The Makers at the Faire captivate and engage both adults and children in their work, such as in demonstrations for using tools, assembling aircraft, and blowing glass.  I appreciate the Faire because it promotes creativity, hands-on techniques, and patience, which I think are great reminders for everyone.

Kids are encouraged to come and explore the Faire.  This is a beneficial experience for them, as some Makers are kids themselves, giving their own demonstrations and teaching others about their techniques.

Lastly, the Maker Faire is an excellent way to support artisans in the local and regional community!  Fort Wayne is filled with many talented minds, and this is one of the best ways to showcase them.

Check out TekVenture’s Maker Faire 2014 yourself and learn something new!

You can view last year’s schedule here to see other activities at the Maker Faire.

Info for Maker Faire 2014:
Saturday – Sunday, September 13 & 14
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Headwaters Park Lincoln Pavilion (map)

Ticket and parking information can be found here.

Amanda Reusser


Amanda Reusser is a 2006 graduate from Taylor University-Upland. She has spent the past 6 years living and teaching Drama, English and ESOL in Florida, Indonesia and Austria. While it was fun and insightful, she is very glad to be back home in Indiana. Amanda loves traveling, trying new foods, and learning cultural dances. She enjoys getting to know new people, teaching teenagers, and being involved with her home church.

“In the Open Air” Cape Ann paintings at University of St Francis exhibit

The University of Saint Francis 2014 art season will open with a bang this year! The year will kick off on September 6 with the “Presidential Gala: Cape Ann Collection Connections.” Guests may explore the exhibit of historic paintings produced en plein air, or “in the open air.”

The Weatherhead Gallery in the Rolland Center for Art and Visual Communications will host a number of famous works by artists well known for their technique. Among the scenes of Cape Ann depicted in the work, there will be some picturing Gloucester and Rockport, Mass. Featured artists include Emile Gruppe, Aldro Hibbard, and Anthony Thieme.

As part of the exhibit, the Goldfish Gallery will display works by contemporary plein air painters of Cape Ann. Continuing the theme, the Artist Spotlight Gallery is hosting paintings inspired by visits to the Cape Ann region; a couple of Indiana artists will have work featured in this exhibit.

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Rolland Art Center

The Presidential Gala will include food, beverages, and live music in a covered outdoor setting in front of the Rolland Center on Leesburg Road. The event is free of charge, but there will be a cash bar on site for those who are 21 years of age and wish to partake.

In conjunction with the opening of the exhibit, artists and collectors Douglas Runyan and Fred Doloresco will be offering a lecture titled, “Cape Ann Collections: a Closer Look.” The lecture, which will take place on Wednesday, September 10, at 7:30 pm, will address the historical context of the Cape Ann plein air paintings as well as their tremendous influence on the art community and on the contemporary plein air art form.

The event promises to be a great night for anyone who loves art. And, if you can’t make the Presidential Gala, you can still see the exhibit on your own. The exhibit will run through October 5, and the gallery is open Mondays-Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am – 5;00 pm, and Sunday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

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.

West Central home & garden tour offers inside view of historic neighborhood

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Grab your walking shoes, and get ready to explore one of Fort Wayne’s most historic neighborhoods!

Fort Wayne is home to many historically rich neighborhoods. Among them, West Central is worth a second look. The good news for you is that annual Home & Garden Tour is right around the corner. Here’s what you can expect from this weekend that celebrates history, arts and horticulture in one of Fort Wayne’s most eclectic neighborhoods.

On Sept. 6 and 7, proud residents in the neighborhood open their doors for a few hours to the public for this annual event. Think tours of gardens, historic homes and other buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries, an arts fest, food, and live music. Several stops are on the itinerary this year, including beautiful homes and gardens. Browse the booths of  local artists at the ArtsFest and select a one-of-a-kind treasure for your home or as a unique gift. You’ll surely be impressed by the amount of local talent.

If you’re hungry there will be a variety of local food trucks and other vendors on hand. There will also be live entertainment during the event. The block party lasts all weekend!

I have gone every year for the past three or four, and I can tell you it’s one of the highlights of the fall. It inspires me to see how old homes have been restored with sometimes new and modern twists. Occasionally you can talk to the residents and learn about their renovation adventures.

I also enjoy hearing some of the history behind the residences.  At one time West Central was where Fort Wayne’s wealthy lived, so there is a backstory or two waiting to be rediscovered. History buffs: rejoice!

Tickets are $15 the day of the tour.  You can buy discounted tickets are local shops in the area. The tour runs from 11 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6 and 7.  For further information, visit the West Central Neighborhood website, or call (260) 385-WEST.


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:

Shindigz National Summer Soccer Festival 2014

With the World Cup long over, if you find yourself looking longingly for a little more soccer action, then you are in luck! The Shindigz National Summer Soccer Festival is back again! The 2014 festival will take place this weekend, August 21 – 23 at the Fort Wayne Sport Club.

This year teams making the journey include the IU Hoosiers, Michigan State, Trine University, Xavier, Marquette, University of Washington, and more. In addition to the collegiate headliners, high school soccer players also get the chance to go head to head with other teams from the around the country. Both mens and womens teams will be playing at all levels.

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2013 Shindigz Soccer Festival

Shindigz started as just a small local dream nearly 14 years ago and has grown into a nationally recognized celebration of the sport. Terry Stefankiewicz was watching the NIT basketball tournament on television and felt it was about time that the sport of soccer had a similar competition for its athletes. Stefankiewicz was fortunate to have played for the legendary Hoosier head coach Jerry Yeagley and called him up for a hand in making his dream a reality. The pieces fell into place as he called other head coaches at national powerhouses like Michigan State and Notre Dame, and they agreed with his sentiment.

The event’s continued success is due in part to the impressive support of the community of Fort Wayne. Sponsors have been generous in their support of the festival and as a result it has grown into a real don’t-miss event! Not only are there the classic soccer games, but the festival has evolved over the years to include games, giveaways, food vendors, a beer tent, and live entertainment. They also offer clinics as part of the event now, which provides young soccer players with a unique experience and chance to play with new faces while learning from the best.

Presale tickets for the games are $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for high school and under. They can be purchased at any Walgreens, Connolly’s Do It Best, or 800 Degree Pizza. At the gate they will be $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for high school and under.

Check out the full schedule and pick the teams you want to see!

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.