Brickworld is back in Fort Wayne and you can WIN TICKETS!

Such a simple design – rectangular interlocking blocks in bright primary colors – revolutionized the way many children played. The LEGO quickly became a staple of childhood and now we can’t imagine growing up without them. LEGOs are not just for kids anymore, though. People of all ages will come out at this year’s Brickworld to celebrate the art of LEGO creation.

brickworld1 300x225 Brickworld is back in Fort Wayne and you can WIN TICKETS!

LEGO scene depicting latest Indiana Jones movie

On October 11 and 12, the LEGO convention will come to Fort Wayne again for the fourth year in a row. This premiere LEGO expo will be bringing in some of its best displays as well as vendors who will have LEGO sets, minifigures, and accessories available for purchase.

Come out to enjoy the company of other LEGO enthusiasts as well as interactive games. Brickworld began as just one event in 2007 and now holds 4 events each year across the nation. This one of a kind expo is a great place for people to come together, share their knowledge, create, and learn more about the art of LEGO building.

The event will be held at teh Grand Wayne Center in the heart of Fort Wayne’s downtown. Make sure while you are there to stop by some of the great local restaurants for a bite, check out Parkview Field, and maybe even ride around to the see the different sculptural bike racks posted up around the city!

Brickworld kicks off from 10 am – 6 pm on Saturday, October 11 and 10 am – 4 pm on Sunday, October 12. Tickets are available online for $8.50, or at the door the day of the event. Be sure to check out Brickworld’s official website, and bring the whole family out to see some mind-blowing LEGO creations in an afternoon they will never forget!

And, you can WIN TICKETS here!

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.

Discover Fort Wayne’s kid friendly side

Some cities boost a great nightlife–ideal for adults. The downside is that those with kids scramble for family-friendly activities. Luckily Fort Wayne is not lacking in that department. Come see for yourself why Fort Wayne has been named among the 100 best places to raise a family.Whether you’re coming in for a day, or a whole week, there is plenty to see, taste and do. Here’s a start:

There’s nothing like a day at the zoo on an Indian summer day. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has been consistently ranked one of the best children’s zoos, and it’s easy to see why. The range of animal life is impressive–they have everything from giraffes to wallabies! There is also a good amount of hands-on activities, perfect for curious minds. I recommend you have a picnic before or after in nearby Franke Park. There is plenty of greenspace to enjoy!

If the weather isn’t cooperating, there is plenty of fun (and learning) to be had indoors at one of Fort Wayne’s many quality museums. Inspire budding scientists at Science Central, a museum dedicated to teaching kids about the wonders of sciences. Expect plenty of hands-on activities here.

Do you have a nature lover on your hands? The Botanical Conservatory is a must! They have an impressive permanent exhibit. (Cactuses, anyone?)  Their seasonal exhibits–like endangered butterflies– are not to be missed. If the kids are thirsty there is an on-site cafe.

fwmoa 300x127 Discover Fort Waynes kid friendly sideMaybe you have an aspiring Picasso in the family? Well then the Fort Wayne Museum of Art is a no-brainer.  Their Early Learning Center is designed to expose young minds to the world of art. Remember it’s never too early to inspire!

Maybe your kids have a lot of energy they need to get out of their system. What better place to do that than in the great outdoors? Fort Wayne and Allen County offers over 81 miles of biking, hiking, and even kayaking trails. The network of trails offers safe, fun places to get outdoors with the family – and our trails connect you to our parks, attractions, downtown and more!

Here’s to yours days ahead in Fort Wayne filled with laughter, fun and memories!

About

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.

Meet the creative genius behind Disney’s Frozen

If you haven’t seen the movie Frozen, you likely know a kid or two who has. The 2013 Disney film is the highest grossing animated film and number-five movie of all time. Crazy!

It’s clear the Frozen fever hasn’t thawed. (Pardon the pun.) Little girls everywhere seem to own a princess costume or two. And the soundtrack has gained a lot of attention, too. IMG 1715 v01Chris Buck 200x300 Meet the creative genius behind Disneys FrozenIf you’re looking for a family-friendly way to celebrate this Disney hit, mark your calendar for October 4-5.

University of Saint Francis and Cinema Center are partnering to present a weekend of events with Disney’s Academy Award-winning director, Chris Buck.   The public is invited to a Frozen screening that evening at 7 p.m., Here’s the best part: Director Chris Buck will engage in a sing-along immediately following the film. Get ready to sing your lungs out! 

And for parents interested in hearing about what went into creating such a hit, there is a lecture following the Saturday screening. Then Sunday at 1 pm is another chance to get up close and personal with this creative genius, at another lecture.  The lecture is designed for high school and college students interested in pursuing a career in animation, film, and computer arts.  This lecture is free and open to the public. The USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center is located at 431 W. Berry St. in Fort Wayne. Complimentary parking is available across Berry Street from the center.

Although the events do not take place at Cinema Center proper, it is worth mentioning this great arts organization. This 30-some year old independent movie house located in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne shows films shows a variety of programming you can’t find anywhere else in this area. Films range from artsy to intelligent, and sometimes just downright funny. You can also catch a good foreign film there, too.  Put simply, there is something for everyone. Check out their weekly schedule to see what’s playing. In addition to films, the theater also offers regular events and educational opportunities throughout the year to engage the community. Check out their website for more information.

About

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.

Combine Education & Fun at Johnny Appleseed Festival!

The official start of the school year has begun for most of the Fort Wayne area. I work in a school and its already time for mid-term grades to be issued!

What I like as a parent and educator is that learning can happen anywhere, anytime. In my opinion historic festivals are a good use of a family’s time. That is definitely the case with the Johnny Appleseed Festival. This year’s dates: Saturday, September 20 (10am-6pm) and Sunday, September 21(10am-5pm).

J App 2012 7 300x225 Combine Education & Fun at Johnny Appleseed Festival!

Re-enactors teach kids about life in the 1700s.

This is the 40th anniversary of this fun and FREE festival in which every part from cooking ham and beans over an open fire to re-enactors wearing wool clothing represents life as it would have been during Johnny Appleseed’s era.

It’s not a coincidence that the festival’s namesake has a burial site at the festival’s location. After a visit to the grave, my family always ventures from one end of the festival to the other, not wanting to miss anything.

There is a play area for younger children with games, straw maze and historic fun activities, such as dipping candles. My kids enjoyed watching and listening to re-enactors who stayed in character throughout the festival to inform visitors of what life was like during the 1700s.

We’ve talked to soldiers, watched wives of soldiers sew uniforms, and chat with trappers to discover what its like to live rough on the land.

J App 2012 9 300x225 Combine Education & Fun at Johnny Appleseed Festival!

Bagpipes add unique sound to the festival.

We’ve listened to cannons being fired, drum and fife corps and bagpipes being played throughout the days.

J App 2012 9 300x225 Combine Education & Fun at Johnny Appleseed Festival!

Drum & Fife Corps march through the festival grounds.

Then there’s the food. Every appetite is stimulated by smells that waft on the breeze on the festival’s grounds. Naturally, the emphasis is on products made from apples so cider, apple dumplings, apple fritters, caramel apples, fried apple slices with cinnamon are present. I’m salivating just thinking about them!

Caramel corn, ham and beans, pork sandwiches, turkey legs, lemonade and other goodies are everywhere, making it easy to find food when a family member begins to complain about an empty stomach.

Insider tip: I like parking at the Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne (IPFW) lot as the festival provides free rides on a shuttle back and forth. Parking is also available in the Memorial Coliseum lot for a small fee. It might be worth it to pay to park close if you have children as your group will probably be weary after your travel back in time.

So bring your curiosity about our nation’s past, adventurous spirit and taste buds to the Johnny Appleseed Festival. And if you see Johnny, tell him we’re glad he made Ft Wayne his final home.

1502 Harry Baals Dr.
Fort Wayne, IN  46805

FROM I-69: Take Exit 309A south to Coliseum Blvd (US 930) and turn left. Pass Parnell Avenue and Memorial Coliseum. Festival grounds are located behind the Coliseum.

About

Kayleen Reusser has written children’s books and had stories in Chicken Soup books. She writes features for the News-Sentinel newspaper and profiles for the Ossian Sun Riser. She loves to travel and write about her experiences at her website: www.KayleenR.com

A Weekend on the Frontier – Johnny Appleseed Festival 2014

I was listening to the words of “The Star-Spangled Banner” the other day and thought, “Man, why has there never been a big-budget movie about the Battle of Baltimore? That would be awesome!” The battle – specifically, the failure by the British to take Fort McHenry – was a major American victory in the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write what would become the national anthem of the United States. This is a time period that has been mostly overlooked in popular culture, the recent exceptions of Assassin’s Creed III, a video game, and AMC’s series, Turn, aside. I mention this because Fort Wayne, Indiana, has a festival that celebrates this general time period (the late 18th/early 19th centuries) and one of its most famous figures, Johnny Appleseed. Always held over the third weekend in September, this year’s festival will be Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20, 2014.

When I’ve written about the festival in the past, I’ve focused on the food (which, don’t get me wrong, is delicious) or the crafts. But the whole reason we have the festival in the first place is to celebrate Johnny Appleseed and the time period in which he lived. As you walk around Johnny Appleseed Park, you’ll see drum and fife corps marching back and forth and other soldiers patrolling the grounds. You’ll see pioneers cooking and crafting, singing and dancing. You’ll get to hear stories told by frontiersmen and traveling snake-oil salesmen. You’ll get to experience life the way it used to be when Fort Wayne’s streets and skyscrapers were forests and fields.

Johnny 1 515 522x392 300x225 A Weekend on the Frontier   Johnny Appleseed Festival 2014

I’ve said before that the Johnny Appleseed Festival is my favorite festival of the year. I’m sure I’m not the only one – I run into more people I know at the Festival than anywhere else at any other time of year. Maybe I’ll run into you, and we can travel back in time together.

For more information, click here. I’ll see you there!

Mike

About

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.