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.

Rolland Art Center 300x224 In the Open Air Cape Ann paintings at University of St Francis exhibit

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

wc 300x126 West Central home & garden tour offers inside view of historic neighborhood

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: www.lcagg.com.

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.

DSC2608 300x199 Shindigz National Summer Soccer Festival 2014

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.

Discover Fort Wayne during Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown

bat 300x112 Discover Fort Wayne during Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown
I love Fort Wayne. Having lived here my whole life (minus a few years away at college), I have had ample time to get out and explore my hometown. A lot of this stems from being someone who refuses to be bored, and who enjoys getting out and about to find new things to do and places to go. Living my teenage years on the north side of town (so close to the country and farms that my high school still had “Drive Your Tractor to School Day” sponsored by the FFA) I heard so many people say there was nothing to do in Fort Wayne – and I REFUSED to be one of them. My friends and I were adventurous, and often drive all over town finding things to do. We’d go to the zoo, go see different local bands play, check out the museums downtown and walk around aimlessly exploring Fort Wayne. That sense of wanting to go out and explore my city hasn’t left me, but there are so many people that can get stuck in a rut and aren’t aware of the amazing attractions we are so lucky to have! That’s why whether you’re a visitor in town looking for something fun to do, or a local who hasn’t a had a chance to visit all that Fort Wayne has to offer, you shouldn’t miss Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown!

Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown is a great event put on by Visit Fort Wayne. The goal is to get people that live in Fort Wayne out and about to places they haven’t visited in awhile, or aren’t even aware of! There are twelve attractions that you can tour around , and the best part is that it is FREE! The attractions open during this year’s even are: The African-American Historical Museum, Lincoln Tower, the Allen County Courthouse, Science Central, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Cathedral Museum, the Botanical Conservatory, The History Center, Parkview Field, the Embassy Theatre, The Old Fort and the Visitors Center. While the list of places to go and see may seem a little overwhelming, pick 2 or 3 you’re really excited about and focus on visiting those!

I’ve had the chance to both work and participate during Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown, so I’ve got some favorites. And while I’ve been to many of the attractions you’ll find on September 7th, the following four would be my top picks!

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The Embassy Theatre is a beautiful, and historic, theatre – and you can check it out during BAT!

Embassy Theatre
The Embassy Theatre is truly a gem in downtown Fort Wayne. The theatre was built in 1928 and is one of Indiana’s largest historical theaters. Anyone who has walked inside knows that the Embassy is a beautiful piece of history that has withstood the test of time over and over again! While many have sat in the theatre’s seats for a Broadway production, a headlining concert, Philharmonic performances and many other great events, Be a Tourist is one of the few times where you can tour around the Embassy behind the scenes!

IMG 0610 300x300 Discover Fort Wayne during Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown

Take in the beautiful architecture at the Allen County Courthouse.

Allen County Courthouse
Take a tour of the Allen County Courthouse and you won’t be disappointed! While many either run in and out of the courthouse, or haven’t had a reason to go inside, Be a Tourist is the perfect time to check out this National Historic Landmark. Not only is the Allen County Courthouse a great part of Fort Wayne’s history, it is also an important piece of architectural history.  Having been restored, the Allen County Courthouse boasts beautful examples of art glass, murals and intricately patterned tile floors. It is often regarded as one of the finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture.

pinwheel 300x300 Discover Fort Wayne during Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown

Celebrate Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown at the Visitors Center! Look for the giant pinwheel!

Visitors Center
You may be thinking “Why would I ever go to the Visitors Center if I live in Fort Wayne?”, and long ago I thought so too. But, the Visitors Center offers so much more than you could expect! The staff is extremely knowledgeable about all things Fort Wayne, as well as fun and friendly to boot! You’ll also find a variety of things to do and buy. There is information for tons of attractions, restaurants, parks and even more. – many of which are off the beaten path and you may not even be aware of! You can even find Fort Wayne souvenirs and locally made products such as coffee, DeBrand Fine Chocolate and Vera Bradley.

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Don’t miss the great views from the top of the Lincoln Tower. It is a BAT favorite!

Lincoln Tower
This is by far one of the most popular stops during the afternoon of BAT, and for good reason! This is one of the only days of the year that the Lincoln Tower observation deck is open to the public, with gorgeous views of the entire city. I would recommend making this your very first or last stop of the day because the line can get a little long, but is more manageable with a little planning. And, even with the thousands of people lining up to ride to the top, the line is fast moving and well worth the wait!

While you’re out and about I would also suggest stopping at one of downtown Fort Wayne’s yummy eateries for a bite before, during or after your stops! Grab a slice, a sip or a snack at Pint and Slice, Dash-In and many other great places. For more ideas of where to dine downtown, take a look at our downtown dining map.

No matter which attractions you decide to check out during Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown, you will have a great day discovering our wonderful city! Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown is Sunday, September 7 from 12-5pm. You can find passports for the event are Fort Wayne area Kroger and Old National Bank locations! Or, you can download your BAT passport 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.