Sweetwater Sound: A musician’s one stop-shop for gear

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There’s no way else to describe it: Sweetwater Sound is a musician’s dream come true. As one of the largest purveyors of and resources for music and audio gear, Sweetwater means business.

Here’s what you can expect when you visit their campus, just off U.S. 30:

Workshops: Sweetwater regularly hosts workshops put on by legendary producers such as Alan Parsons and Chris Lord-Alge, as well as musicians like Joe Satriani, Adrian Belew, Chick Corea, and Victor Wooten. These sessions are open to the public. Just register on their website.

Open Jams: Join other musicians or aficionados the second and fourth Tuesday of the month for a family-friendly Open Acoustic Jam. Held in Sweetwater’s Conference Hall from 5-8pm, these jams are open to players of all skill levels, and guitarists of all ages are encouraged to attend. This is a great opportunity to connect with other people with similar interests.

Gear Fest: If you’re toying with the idea of buying your own gear, the annual Gear Fest is a great time to see what you’re missing. Scheduled this year for June 6-7, experience exciting giveaways featuring thousands of dollars’ worth of gear, as well as hundreds of manufacturer exhibits and dozens of workshops. And for the best part: it’s free!

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The Academy offers a chance to learn from the best Fort Wayne has to offer.

Academy of Music: Itching to dive into the music world? Here you can take advantage of lessons and classes for guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, voice, and recording. Whether you’re just starting out or taking your skills to the next level, staff can match you with the right instructor for your playing style, personality, and creative goals.

Insider’s Note: The family-friendly environment is ideal for parents waiting or for the time before lessons. Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi, a free arcade, and a wide selection of refreshments.

Although not directly related to their products, their gourmet style cafe is not to be missed. I have eaten here a few times, and I assure you there is something for everyone. Also, it’s worth noting that the LEED-certified building conserves water, energy, and resources. Sweetwater is just plain cool all around!


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.

Kick off the Snow Boots and Get Outside – Spring is Coming!

It’s no secret that we here in Fort Wayne have endured a long and arduous winter. Piles upon piles of snow, too many school delays and closures to count and, if you’re like me, you have kids (and moms!) who are sick of being indoors!  Not to worry, spring is slowly beginning to arrive, and with it, many excellent outdoor adventures await. Below are just a few that are on my family’s list.


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Parkview Field

Fort Wayne Tin Caps games are fun for the whole family. In fact, whenever I have friends and family visiting from out of town this time of year, a Tin Caps game is always on the agenda. Parkview Field is jam-packed with kid-friendly activities, not to mention the great baseball team! Tickets start at just $5, and there are many different choices when it comes to food and drink. Bring some blankets and relax on the lawn, grab a traditonal seat or lounge around in one of the many other spacious areas.

Opening Night:  The Tin Caps kick off their 2014 season on Thursday, April 3, 2014

Parkview Field is located at 1301 Ewing St, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802

Call: (260) 482-6400


The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

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Bill the Lion is a favorite at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

This one is a given, no matter what. Opening day is Saturday, April 26, 2014. The zoo is a local and regional favorite, voted Indiana’s #1 summer attraction in 2012. It is spacious, green and lush, with 38 acres of fun. You can feed the giraffes, take a ride over the African Safari and, my personal favorite, hang out with the orangutans in the Indonesian Rainforest.  A special activity the very next day, Sunday, April 27th,  is the Party for the Planet, where kids can take part in various earth-friendly activities from noon until 3:00 p.m. The zoo has plenty of vendors throughout to ensure that you can spend the whole day there without a care in the world. If you’ve never been, what are you waiting for??

Plan your trip to the zoo by visiting here.

Date: Opens for the season on Saturday, April 26, 2014

Place: 3411 Sherman Boulevard, Fort Wayne, IN   46808

Call: (260) 427-6800

Cost: $14.00 Adults/ $10.50 Seniors 60+/ $9.00 Children (2-18)/  Babies age 1 & under free


Earth Day Fort Wayne at Eagle Marsh

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Eagle Marsh is a part of the Little River Wetlands Project

My kids and I checked this out for the first time last year, and it was a major hit! This family-friendly event features displays by local conservation and nature groups, educational activities at stations along a trail through the Marsh, conservation presentations,  planting of native plants, a farmers’ market and best of all, hawks and owls from the Soarin’ Hawk Raptor Rescue.

Eagle Marsh, a part of the Little River Wetlands Project,  is a 716-acre wetland preserve located on the southwest border of the city. 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.

Date: Sunday, April 27, 2014

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00p.m.

Place: Eagle Marsh, 6801 Engle Road, Fort Wayne, IN   46804

Cost: Free


The 3rd Annual Fort 4 Fitness Spring Cycle

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Get your cylce on!

Bring the bikes out of the garage, basement, or wherever they have been gathering dust this winter, and get ready for some healthy fun for everyone! The Spring Cycle is for the whole family and is the perfect way to kickstart an active season.

Date: Saturday, May 17, 2014

Time: Begins at 9:30 a.m

Place: 300 E. Main at Arts United campus

Choose from Three Tours:  Short – 18 miles; Medium  - 33 miles; Long – 43 miles

Register: March 1, 2014 – May 14, 2014

Cost: Ages 17 & over – $20/  Ages 12-16 – $10/ Ages 11 and under – Free


Foster Park

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Foster Park in the springtime

And, finally, the place where my family seems to end up on most spring days- Foster Park. Foster Park is located just southwest of downtown, at 3900 Old Mill Road. Its 255 acres include a golf course, walking trails, tennis and basketball courts, pavilions and a playground. Around April, the park comes alive with brilliant swaths of color as the tulips, daffodils and other flowers begin to bloom. Foster Park is truly an oasis!

For even more springy ideas, check out suggestions from Visit Fort Wayne here!

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.

View Comments

2 Responses to "Kick off the Snow Boots and Get Outside – Spring is Coming!"

Wendy Sack
Wendy Sack
March 28th, 2014
Love Eagle Marsh! The kids really enjoy going and seeing how many different animals they can spot.
Susan Stahl
March 27th, 2014
Thanks for including Eagle Marsh on this list. It's truly a gem in the Fort is is often overlooked. I mean seriously, we have a nesting pair of Bald Eagles in Ft. Wayne! How magical is that?

The Early Learning Center: A Great Way to Interest Kids in Art

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Bright colors, books and a bench or two – what more could you ask for in a reading corner?

Thinking about going to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, but not sure if your kids will find enough to do? Fear not – the Early Learning Center is the perfect place for kids to experience art in many forms.

Bright orange walls invite visitors to the unique room. Glass doors (perfect for seeing through, to check on little ones) are open wide to a brilliantly blue space stocked with beanbag chairs, bookshelves, coloring markers, crayons, and building supplies.

The first thing that catches your eye as you walk in are the seats – in a rainbow of color. A flat screen television is mounted on the wall, ideal for viewing educational films or other videos.

To the right is the “Building” corner. Soft foam mats are on the floor anchored by a giant box of wooden blocks. A low bookshelf is loaded with tubs of foam blocks and different types of connect-the-piece shapes. A colorful painting, titled The Fort by artist Terry Ratliff displays the downtown Fort Wayne skyline in bright, bold brush strokes.

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Blocks, foam shapes and plenty of building materials are waiting for kids at the FWMoA Early Learning Center.

Further back along this wall is the “Read” corner, with a loaded bookshelf and cozy padded benches, just the spot for sharing a story. Picture books for young readers and a comfy chair for a parent are ready and waiting.

One of the most impressive art areas is the “Draw” section.  On the wall is a large mural of white hills, a magnetic tree silhouette, and blue sky. A thin plastic sheet over the wall provides a kid-sized drawing space, with a box of Crayola dry-erase markers – all the impetus young artists need. The wall is covered in different doodles and drawings. Paper drawings are stuck on the wall, too – in the branches of the tree. Small tables in the “Me” and “Draw” corner are just the right size for young artists to sit down and make their mark on one of the many sheets of paper available.

The entire Center is warm and welcoming, with kid-sized everything and plenty of space to run around. Parents are allowed to come in and work with their children – a special plus, if your young one needs help with reading a story or hanging a picture. There is no age limit for kids who want to come inside and explore.

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Colorful beanbag seats welcome kids and their caregivers to the Early Learning Center of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

Once a month on Tuesday mornings, a special program called “My Mini Museum” is held for kids up to 8 years old. Each program is led by a member of the FWMoA staff and features a different activity each month. In March, kids will draw animals and have their works of art photographed, for display on the FWMoA website. Other monthly activities Students will each choose a letter from a hat and draw an animal that starts with that letter that will be photographed and exhibited at fwmoa.org (with parental permission) for family and friends to enjoy.Students will each choose a letter from a hat and draw an animal that starts with that letter that will be photographed and exhibited at fwmoa.org (with parental permission) for family and friends to enjoy. It will include drawing favorite water animals and listening to a story and drawing a favorite part. There is no program fee for caregivers who attend with their child, however admission must be paid for children who attend the My Mini Museum programs.

For more information about the Early Learning Center and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s ‘My Mini Museum’ programs, log on to http://www.fwmoa.org/PreK-12.



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!)

Fort Wayne Speaks Podcast – #87. Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Out & About

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We are extremely fortunate to have one of the top 10 zoos in the country.  The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo serves approximately 500,000 people each year with most of them from out of the county.  More than 19 million have visited since its opening in 1965.  Today, some of the highlights include the African Journey, Indonesian Rainforest, Australian Adventure, Indiana  Family Farm and, of course, the rides.  Our family especially likes the goats, Sky Safari ride, train ride, giraffes, and sea lions.  If you live close by, it’s definitely worth getting the membership.   The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is self-supported.  Check out the website for information about admission, membership, camps, sleepovers, and the several volunteer opportunities available. Photo Credit: Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Hours: 9-5 Daily (through October 13)


Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
Website: http://kidszoo.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kidszoo
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fwkidszoo
Fort Wayne Speaks is a Podcast talk show created by the husband and wife team of David Shearer and Trinity Wilds. Their podcasts cover everything from interviews with local business leaders and innovators, to what’s going on around town – and much more! Check back here every Monday for a new podcast from Fort Wayne Speaks!
Fort Wayne Speaks


Fort Wayne Speaks is a podcast showcasing local talent professionals and everyday people doing exceptional things in and around Fort Wayne, IN.

Disney on Ice Brings Fun for Everyone! – Plus a Chance to WIN TICKETS

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Catch all of your favorite Disney princesses and princes at Disney on Ice: Princesses and Heroes!

When I was a preteen, my family and I received Disney on Ice tickets from a family friend.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I still talk highly about, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to people of all ages!

The show we saw was Beauty and the Beast on Ice.  We had floor seats and could still easily see all aspects of the performance.

I remember being the most fascinated by the costumes.  Belle’s dresses were lovely, and the Beast’s costume closely resembled the character in the Disney film.  I remember being enchanted with the adorable dish characters that glided gracefully on the ice, even though they didn’t have legs in the movie.  More importantly, I remember the feeling when the skaters looked me in the eye as they performed.  It made me realize this wasn’t your typical performance; it was an opportunity for the skaters to engage with the audience as they performed.

This year from March 6-9, Disney on Ice: Princesses & Heroes will entertain you at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.  Past princesses (Snow White and Cinderella), modern princesses (Tiana and Rapunzel), and some in between (Jasmine and Belle) are just a few of the highlights of this show.  Aladdin and Prince Eric will make some memorable appearances, and Prince Philip will fight the evil queen, Maleficent, as she transforms into a dragon!

The skaters’ flawless acrobatic abilities are incredible, and adults will appreciate the combination of professional skating with timeless children’s stories.

The awe-inspiring experience has been one that I’ll always remember, and I guarantee you will, too!

Disney on Ice: Princesses & Heroes will be at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum (4000 Parnell Ave.) on Thursday, March 6 and will have shows multiple times per day until Sunday, March 9. The show times are as follows:

Thursday, March 06 2014 7:00 PM
Friday, March 07 2014 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 08 2014, 11:00 AM
Saturday, March 08 2014 3:00 PM
Saturday, March 08 2014 7:00 PM
Sunday, March 09 2014 1:00 PM
Sunday, March 09 2014 5:00 PM

Tickets range from $15.50 to $45.50 with Opening Night tickets starting at $12.50. Tickets can be purchased at the Coliseum Box Office, or through ticketmaster.

For more information on Disney on Ice: Princesses and Heroes, check out Visit Fort Wayne, the Memorial Coliseum website, or Disney on Ice.

YOU CAN WIN TICKETS TOO! Simply visit the Disney on Ice: Princesses and Heroes contest page on Visit Fort Wayne, and enter for your chance to win 4 tickets to the show – plus much more!

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.