Top 5 Reasons Creative Types love Fort Wayne

It is often said that creative pursuits are solitary ones and that the life of an artist is a lonely one. In reality, artists thrive off of other artists. Painters can inspire writers who can spark an idea for a lyric to a song which a photographer listens to as she rearranges perceptions and creates a winning shot. It is beneficial for artists to be in an area with other creatives – somewhere inspiration is leaking out of every wall and winding down every street.

Fort Wayne is a hub for creativity and its love of the arts make it a welcomed haven for creative thinkers. Don’t believe me? Here’s the top 5 reasons why Fort Wayne is a great place to be creative (just to name a few!):

1. Art Galleries

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Orchard Gallery

Fort Wayne is home to over 20 art galleries. It would be easy to kill a day traveling from gallery to gallery. Even just browsing can be inspiring; seeing what other artists are up to and how they use the canvas or clay to make sense of what they perceive in the world. Plus, if you hit up Orchard Gallery, you’ll be able to talk face to face with an artist. Orchard Gallery is a cooperative gallery run by artists who banned together to create this unique showroom and retail space for local art.

2. The Outdoor Spaces

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Bird of Paradise at Botanical Conservatory

Creatives often find inspiration in nature. It offers a place of quiet and solitude for thinking and imagining. It also provides organically beautiful images which can inspire something or serve as the subjects themselves. Fort Wayne has over 81 miles of trails winding through the city and over 50 parks to walk and relax in. No matter where you live, access to the trail system is easy. Our trails and safe and well-maintained and offer a variety of scenic views from cityscapes to river’s edge and secluded wooded areas. In addition to all these public lands reserved for ecology, Fort Wayne is also home to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. These gardens are a haven of nature in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne. Each of the gardens with the building represents a different climate of foliage and provides a unique experience.

3. Cost of Living

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Free Summer Concert at the Library

Fort Wayne is a very affordable city, which is key when you are an artist. While it is a very rewarding profession, it is not always financially rewarding. Not only is the cost of living one of the most affordable in the state, but the city also offers a lot to do for free. It can be hard to find fun things to fill your time when you are on a budget, but Fort Wayne has a lot going on for not a lot of money. From free outdoor concert series to arts festivals and free movies, there is always something to do if you are looking. Check out all the different ways to entertain yourself!

4. Downtown Arts Campus

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FW Ballet performs in the park on the Arts Campus

Downtown Fort Wayne is home to a thriving arts district. The Arts Campus houses a number of different artistic outlets from theaters to galleries, cinemas, dance space, and museums. This hub is home to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art as well as the Arts United Center, the Cinema Center, and the Auer Center, which houses Artlink and the Fort Wayne Ballet. This area is home to many different arts festivals throughout the year, including the Taste of the Arts, Fort Wayne’s premier arts festival.

5. Universities

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University of Saint Francis

Fort Wayne boasts a number of different universities. Not only does this provide the opportunity to take classes now and then when the inspiration is really lacking, but it also means that Fort Wayne is home to different open lectures, book readings, and dance and art showcases. With Indiana Tech, IPFW, and Saint Franics growing every year, the opportunities are also expanding.

These are just a few of the reasons that creative types will find a quick home in Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne expands its art community almost daily and the people of the Summit City are eager for more. So, come check out Fort Wayne – hit up some galleries, see a show at the Embassy, and walks around our trails. See what you can create!

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.

Best Doggone Chili Challenge

Chili is a classic American food – a real stick to your ribs kind of meal. Over the years countless recipes for this delicious treat have developed, and now, only one question remains: who makes the best chili? Fort Wayne is trying to find out who makes the best chili in town with the first annual Doggone Best Chili Challenge.

The Competition kicks off on Saturday, September 27, at Lucky Harley-Davidson, and will go from noon to 3:00 pm. Chili cookers will need to get there early to register and start their cooking, but if you’re just coming to eat, no need to arrive until all the cooking is done!

Registration to enter a chili is only $20 and forms will be accepted until September 22. Enter in your old secret family recipe or own of your own devising. There are a variety of categories to enter including vegetarian, Restaurant, Biker Club, and more! Make sure to read over the full rules and regulations before you begin cooking.

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The proceeds of this event will go toward the ASPCA to help benefit homeless animals. Further, the competition is multifaceted.  Some groups will choose to focus mainly on perfecting their chili recipe, but others may put a bit more into their costumes and the booth decor. The chili will be judged based on CASI’s five criteria: aroma, consistency, color, taste, and aftertaste. Should contestants choose to participate in the showmanship competition as well, they will be judged on both their personal costumes and their booth decoration.

There will also be a People’s Choice Award given, so remember to bring out your inner Simon Cowell when you taste the different chili entries.

This event isn’t just about the chili, though. It also promises to be a day full of family fun! Bring the whole family out to enjoy great food, fun games, and awesome adoptable pets. Raffles and a Silent Auction will also take place as part of the festivities. Admission, which covers chili tastings, is just $5 for adults and free for children 10 and under if accompanied by a parent.

Come out and help make this first annual event a success! It promises to be a great time with great food, and to top it off, its all for a great cause!

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.

Ready to Run – 2014 Fort4Fitness Fall Festival

Unlike most people, the end of summer is the time I’m most focused on getting into shape, not the beginning. Why, you ask? Well, during the summer, I get a decent amount of exercise just working in my yard; by the time late August rolls around, I’m mowing and weeding a lot less, so I have to make a more concerted effort to work out. August is also the time when we watch a lot of tennis, and the athleticism of tennis players always motivates me to work harder. Finally, it’s right about now that I remember Fort4Fitness is only about a month away (!), so I have to hustle up and get ready to run. The 2014 Fort4Fitness Fall Festival will be held Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27 in beautiful downtown Fort Wayne. Like I said, it’s almost here.

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It’s hard to believe, but this is the 7th Annual Fort4Fitness Festival. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to run in a couple years, but I’ll definitely be out there this year. You can sign up for one of three races (or new this year, one of several multi-race packages): the 4 mile, the 10K, or the half marathon. I know not everyone’s a runner – heck, I’m barely a runner – but at the very least, get out to the Festival Expo on Friday to check out all the vendors touting healthy living or sign up to volunteer.

Here’s the thing: getting fit starts with a single step. It doesn’t have to be a big step or a quick step. A baby step will suffice. The great thing about Fort4Fitness is that people of all fitness levels, including baby-steppers, will be downtown early that Saturday morning at the Baker Street Station ready to go. It’s not too late to sign up – you can do so at



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.

Eagle Marsh – Fall Program Guide

Eagle Marsh, a part of the Little River Wetlands Project,  is a 716-acre wetland preserve located on the southwest border of Fort Wayne. Eight miles of trails allow hikers to access the preserve’s varied habitats of shallow-water wetland,with almost 200 kinds of birds and numerous other wild creatures including bald eagles.

If you haven’t had a chance to get to the Marsh this summer, don’t worry. The fall schedule is packed with opportunities. Below are some highlights.

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The Monarch Festival will be here soon!

2014 Monarch Festival

Saturday, September 13

11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Do you love getting up close with beautiful butterflies? This may be the event for you! Grab your kids, your friends or anyone else so-inclined and meet at the Eagle Marsh barn. The festival is family-friendly, with lots of educational and hands-on activities.  There will also be hikes, live demonstrations, crafts and games.  As a bonus, you can choose to plant a milkweed (Monarchs love them!) at the Marsh or take one home to plant in your own garden.


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Fall Woods of Eagle Marsh

Fall Woods of Eagle Marsh

Saturday, October 4

9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Again starting off from the Eagle Marsh barn, this fun fall program is for kids of all ages, even the youngsters in their seventies. Do you know why leaves change colors in the fall? Why they’re sometimes more vibrant? Come find out! Also, learn how exactly the animals know that winter is approaching.  There are signs you can spot, if you know what you’re looking for!  And no trip to the Marsh is complete without a nice hike.

Tip: Boots are recommended, and depending on the weather, a jacket might be good.


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Speaking of short legs…

The Short Hikes for Short Legs programs are especially for the little ones ages three to five.

Wednesday, September 17 – Why Wetlands are Amazing!

Sunday, October 5 – Fall Changes

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.


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Some Ramblers caught in the act

For those of us just a little bit older who would like to hike around the Marsh from time to time, think about becoming a Little River Rambler! Ramblers meet at the Marsh once a week, on Tuesdays, and can choose a morning or evening hike, or both.


9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (March and July meetings will be at Arrowhead Prairie.)

5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.


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The Fifth Annual Frogapalooza is October 24.

Fifth Annual Frogapalooza Benefit

Friday, October 24

6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

“The mission of the Little River Wetlands Project is to restore and protect wetlands in the watershed of the Little River, a major tributary of the Wabash River, and to provide educational opportunities that encourage good stewardship of wetlands and other natural ecosystems.”

Eagle Marsh is a treasure for Fort Wayne and the surrounding communities, and those of us who enjoy it are called to support it, as the Marsh survives by our generosity and the generosity of others.

This year’s Frogapalooza will be the fifth annual for the Little River Wetlands Project.  Details are still being finalized, but the benefit will be held at the Fort Wayne Country Club and  will honor Jay Jorgensen and Rick Phillips as “Hidden Heroes of Conservation.”  Guests will enjoy an auction, dinner and more. Check here for updates as they become available.

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Support the Little River Wetlands Project

Eagle Marsh is located at 7209 Engle Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46804.

Click here and check out a great overview video.

Bookmark this page to keep up-to-date on all of the goings-on year-round!


Wendy Sack


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.

Country Fest ’14 brings exciting headliners

This year’s Country Fest is stacked with talented musicians guaranteed to please. The seventh annual K105 Country Fest will take place on Saturday, September 20. Doors will open at 1:00 pm and the first singer will take the stage at 3:00 pm. For the second year in a row, Parkview Field in the heart of downtown will play host to this music festival.

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Billy Currington

Headlining the concert this year is none other than Billy Currington. Singer of the number one hit released last year, “We Are Tonight,” Currington hit the music scene in 2003 with a bang. He won a CMT Award in 2006 and was nominated for a Grammy and Academy of Country Music Award in 2010.

This year features a few up and coming artists in the genre as well, and will bring to the table a host of different sounds and styles for your listening pleasure. Also performing in the concert this year are The Swon Brothers, Brett Eldredge, Parmalee, Craig Campbell, and Kelleigh Bannen.

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Kelleigh Brannen

Tickets are on sale for the concert now. While there’s not a bad seat in the house, if you’re looking for the VIP treatment, there are still some Harrison College Pre Show VIP Experience Tickets for sale. For just a little more, enjoy a special beer tasting at the Tree Tops at Parkview Field beginning at 11:00 am. You will also be served lunch and receive a commemorative as well as early admission to the show.

The stage will be set up on center field to ensure the best viewing area for those in attendance. Pick your seat, whether its up in the stands or down on the lawn, and get your ticket while you still can!

Make a day of it, and head out to some of the great downtown restaurants and bars after to keep the party going! Check out all Fort Wayne has to offer at Visit Fort Wayne.

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.