Cheap Trick “Live at TRF”

cheaptrick Cheap Trick Live at TRFOne of the great traditions of the Three Rivers Festival is the music. Every year the TRF draws local, regional, and national acts to its stages, and this year is no exception. Cheap Trick, one of my favorite – and one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest – bands, is kicking off this year’s festivities with an all-ages show at Headwaters Park in downtown Fort Wayne on July 11, 2014.

Like most people my age, I’d guess, I discovered Cheap Trick in 1988 when I first heard “The Flame.” I grabbed the album (well, cassette) that spawned the single, Lap of Luxury, soon thereafter and played that thing into the ground. That led me to earlier hits like “Dream Police,” “I Want You to Want Me,” and “Surrender,” which I’m sure I’d heard before, just without really knowing the band or being a fan. I’ve been lucky enough to see them twice already – once when they opened for Stone Temple Pilots in West Lafayette, IN, and once in Dayton, OH – and both times they put on a fantastic show. A lot of acts haven’t aged well but continue to play, but don’t count Cheap Trick among them. They’ve still got it.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 day-of-show and can be purchased at the Three Rivers Festival office, the Embassy Theatre box office, or online at If you’re a fan of the band or just a fan of live music, this is a show you don’t want to miss!



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.

Annual Chalk Walk Display Opens at Three Rivers Festival July 12 & 13

A Three Rivers Festival favorite, the Chalk Walk, returns once again this year to the Three Rivers Festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana on July 12 and 13. This outdoor art display typically draws 22,000 viewers annually. Some come and watch as artists create their works. Others wait until the second day when most of the art has been drawn and admire the finished works in their entirety. Whichever you choose, a visit to the Chalk Walk needs to be on your summer bucket list.

chalk walk1 Annual Chalk Walk Display Opens at Three Rivers Festival July 12 & 13
This event derives its roots from the Italian tradition of street painting. Artists reserve their space prior to the event and use pastels, chalk and in some cases liquid chalk paints to create their works of art. The only catch here is unfortunately these works are short-lived. Be sure to take a look before the next rain comes this summer and washes them away.

chalkwalk21 Annual Chalk Walk Display Opens at Three Rivers Festival July 12 & 13
The Chalk Walk display is located right outside the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, located in the heart of downtown at 321 Main Street.  The Chalk Walk also contains a contest component. Prizes will be awarded following a vote by a panel of judges. Artists are creating works that align with the following categories:

  • Trompe l’oeil – French for “fool the eye”
  • FWMoA’s 30th Anniversary in Downtown Fort Wayne
  • The Golden Age of American Bicycles
  • Depictions of FWMoA Outdoor Sculpture
  • Best Use of a Street Blemish (only for those with cracks and manhole covers in their square)
  • People’s Choice (voted by the attending public)

Insider Tip: The Chalk Walk is only one small part of this annual city-wide festival since 1969. Three Rivers Festival is a wonderful way to spend your summer vacation. Plan a weekend or week-long trip to Fort Wayne today. Travel and planning tips are available on!


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

Three Rivers Festival done right!

As a longtime Fort Wayne local, growing up in the Summit City, I’ve been to my fair share of Three Rivers Festivals. Just around the corner, July 11th-15th, it is not too early to start planning your plan of attack. Over the years I’ve learned some of the do’s and dont’s of festival going – some of them the hard way – and I’ve decided to share my knowledge with you! Some of these things may seem obvious, but their importance cannot be overstated; all of the pieces fit together perfectly to combine for one awesome festival experience you will want to duplicate for years to come.

321%20Photo%20by%20Kim%20Hartman%20for%20I%20Du%20Creative%20GroupWEB 522x392 Three Rivers Festival done right!

1. “My mind on my money” – Even though we live in a day and age where checks and cash are starting to seem superfluous, paper money is very much the currency of the Three Rivers Festival. It is important to come equipped with enough cash to sustain you through the whole night. My personal strategy for this includes making a mental list of the items I may want to buy once I arrive. How many food items will I realistically want to eat (it’s Junk Food Alley, so I will want to eat everything), and how many items will I allow myself to buy? Moderation is key. I like to bring enough money that I have some wiggle room, but not so much that I will be able to devour an entire truck’s worth of food.

There are also games to consider. How many game tickets am I going to use – the word use is important. It is always better to buy too few tickets and have to go up for more, then to buy more than you need and end up with leftovers. Parking is also something to consider when packing a purse for the night. Some lots around the festival grounds charge a few dollars to park for the night, so it’s not a bad idea to allot a few extra dollars to that.

There are ATMs on site at Junk Food Alley in case you run out of funds. Still, I like to go in with the mindset that I’m allowed to spend only what I have on hand; that makes my decisions easier and helps me avoid those annoying foreign ATM fees.

2. Buddy Up! A lot of the festival activities are easier and more enjoyable with a buddy. Traveling with a buddy provides you with a few securities. For one, partnering up on food items will allow you to save some money while still getting your share of fair food. My sister and I are longtime festival buddies, and we work well together. We like the same foods and have it down to a tried and true system – a corn dog each as a sort of main course, then a heaping plate of spiral spuds (smothered in ketchup of course) and an elephant ear both to split. Sometimes we even get one large drink (with free or $1 refills) to share. We both leave satisfied and with some cash to spare.

Buddying up also makes the rides more fun. Just in case there is a ride where people sit two to a seat, you’ve got a riding partner, no worries. And with two people, one person is able to go to the bathroom while the other waits with the stuff (prizes, food, bags, etc.) and then visa versa.

jfaheadline11 Three Rivers Festival done right!

3.   The Double Back – This shopping technique is perfect for anyone who is on a budget or as indecisive as me. Essentially, it is just a foolproof way to make sure you are getting what you really want. It’s easy; just do a once-over cursory look at all the food options first. Don’t buy anything on the first walk around, just take a good look at the options and remember which ones sounded most appetizing. Then, after you’ve completed the first go-around, you are ready to bring out the wallet and start the feasting. This technique allows you to see everything all at once first, and then prioritize what you MUST have.

The same technique can be applied to  the festival games as well!

4. Come prepared! Okay, so this one seems like common sense, but really there is a lot to overlook when packing for the festival. Depending on the time of day you chose to go, sun screen or bug spray is a must. Most of the festival is in open field area, so there isn’t too much shade from the sun. Another good thing to bring along is water bottles. It’s a small thing, but it can be a great way to save some money – then you avoid buying multiple drinks, or buying any at all. For the 21 and over crowd, an ID. This seems simple too, but often times I will only bring cash and nothing else from my wallet to avoid having the temptation of using the ATM, but this also means my ID sometimes gets overlooked. While it won’t by any means ruin your festival experience, it will prohibit you from entering the beer tent.

chalk1 Three Rivers Festival done right!

Artists work on their squares at the Chalk Walk.

Also dress for the weather, but wear proper shoes. It can get pretty hot in Fort Wayne in the summer, so plan accordingly. Still, the festival can be a lot of walking, so more than anything you want to be comfortable.

In addition, it  can be useful if you are coming with children who are going to play the games to bring a bag to store their loot. Most of the games offer prizes, and carrying all that around can become difficult quickly.

5. Plan Ahead! I can’t say it enough. There is so much to do at the festival that it can be hard to fit everything you want to do in in one day. My sister and I like to split our events up. We always go to the chalk walk earlier in the morning, before the sun is beating down in full force. Depending on our stamina, we can usually combine this with a perusal of the art fair. But that is pretty much enough for us for one day, or at least for the morning. Junk Food Alley is usually tackled in the evening and the food serves as our dinner.

Some of the events are day long events in and of themselves; the kick-off parade (July 12th) features over 150 floats and will take much of the afternoon. Further, some of the events are spread out across the city, like Children’s Fest (July 18th and 19th) which is held at the IPFW campus. There are lots of ways to do it, but no matter what you chose, be sure you consider the amount of walking and the duration of time you’d like to spend in one outing.


No matter what way you do it, the Three Rivers Festival is not an event to miss. It is always a fun time and definitely promises a weekend to remember! And if you are making it  a weekend and looking for other things to fill the time, check out Visit Fort Wayne for all the hookups.

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.

Sweetwater Rock Camp jams out

sweetwater1 300x225 Sweetwater Rock Camp jams out

Each “camper” attending rock camp is matched up with bandmates and a first-class instructor.

The gritty sounds of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” pour out of one of the conference room and into the hallway. I’m surprised when we enter the room and it isn’t seasoned musicians playing, but young kids, ages 12-18. They are working on one of their cover songs, part of Sweetwater Sound’s Summer Rock Camp.

This week-long camp affords children the opportunity to nurture and enhance their musical talents. The students,who come from all over Fort Wayne and the surrounding areas, are put into bands the first day, giving them the opportunity to meet other budding musicians. The bands work with professional musicians all week to developing a set for Friday’s concert.

sweetwater2 300x300 Sweetwater Rock Camp jams out

Each band will come up with a unique name, as well as work on cover art for their very own album – year’s past are displayed in the hall of the Academy of Music.

Not only will the bands perform three covers, but they will also debut an original song, design a CD cover, and record their song at the on-site recording studio. The students form real bonds with their band-mates that even sometimes turn out lasting past the camp, says director of the academy Kevin Christenson.

The camp offers students a chance to focus on their music and develop their skills further. For a week, they are allowed to be real rock stars and take on the responsibilities associated with that title. And, with access to all the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities that Sweetwater offers, the musicians really come away with the experience of a lifetime.

sweetwater5 300x225 Sweetwater Rock Camp jams out

The big weekending concert takes place in Sweetwater’s state of the art Performance Theater.

Rock Camp will be held three more weeks this summer: July 7-11, July 21-25, and August 4-8. There are openings for all weeks still, so come to this Friday’s concert, June 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sweetwater Performance Theater, and see if it is something your budding musician would love.

Or, if you are just visiting Fort Wayne, stop by for a unique night out. The performance will run like a ticketed rock concert complete with lighting, fog, and great tunes played by talented musicians. Make sure to get there early to get a seat, and stick around after and take a walk around the facility. Take a look at the Rock Camp band CD cover designs, see how the warehouse runs and check out the microphone vault.

Sweetwater also offers Open Acoustic Jam every second and fourth Tuesday starting at 5:00 p.m. Bring your guitar and play a song, or just come to watch and enjoy the music.

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.

Celebrate the 4th of July in Fort Wayne!

Three Rivers Festival Fireworks 300x168 Celebrate the 4th of July in Fort Wayne!

The Fireworks at One summit Square will begin tentatively at 10pm on July 4th.

America’s birthday is almost here, and what better way to spend the day than with food, friends and family, and of course, fireworks! A great fireworks show on the 4th of July has become a great tradition in Fort Wayne, and this year promises to not disappoint!

One Summit Square in downtown Fort Wayne will put on a full display of light and colors sure to thrill the whole family! The fireworks begin at 10pm and are free to the public. Parking is free throughout downtown. Bring the family, or a group of friends, grab some food at one of downtown’s eateries, and watch the fireworks light up the night sky!

While enjoying the public fireworks, you are asked to leave your personal fireworks at home so everyone in attendance feels safe and comfortable. Worried about trying to beat the crowds? These fireworks can be seen for miles. Pick a spot at Headwaters park just inside downtown Fort Wayne and enjoy the show!

Parkview Field entrance with fireworks by Todd Stemen 300x200 Celebrate the 4th of July in Fort Wayne!

Attend the TinCaps game and enjoy the fireworks from your seat!

You can also celebrate July 4th with the Fort Wayne TinCaps when they take on the West Michigan Whitecaps. The TinCaps will be celebrating America’s birthday with a special theme night: “Salute to Heroes”. Give a big “thank you” to our military, police, firefighters, EMS, and all those who serve our country and community.Come out, not just for the baseball game and to celebrate our nation’s independence, but for a community night of saluting those who work tirelessly to keep us safe, healthy, and out of harm’s way both here in Indiana and across the world. As a special bonus, those attending the TinCaps game will have a prime view of the downtown fireworks from their seats! (UPDATE: this game is SOLD OUT)

If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat either before the TinCaps game, or before you settle into your fireworks viewing spot, downtown Fort Wayne will have a number of restaurants open with special hours for the holiday!

Special note: While the fireworks are planned for 10pm, the exact timing will be determined on the ending of the TinCaps game.

What’s your favorite way to celebrate the Fourth of July? Let us know in the comments below, along with any other special July 4th events we may have missed! Find out more about the downtown 4th of July fireworks here.



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.

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4 Responses to "Celebrate the 4th of July in Fort Wayne!"

Violet OMalley
July 2nd, 2014
Tx Wendy! I just asked when that event was being held..
Wendy Sack
Wendy Sack
June 27th, 2014
There's also a great event happening the evening of July 3rd. The Fort Wayne Philharmonic is performing its annual Patriotic Pops concert- this year at Parkview Field- and it's free to the public! Starts at 8pm, but I'd get there pretty early to get a great seat.
July 2nd, 2013
Sorry Peter, I'm taken. But I am very flattered! Enjoy the fireworks anyway :)
July 2nd, 2013
I would love to go on a date with Katie on July 4! :) Is she single?