Wine and Canvas: Paint the Town!

Wine and Canvas is a great way to spend time with friends and family and you can find them throughout the area in the coming months!

Screen Shot 2014 08 18 at 10.58.04 AM 300x82 Wine and Canvas: Paint the Town!

All Wine and Canvas events are $35 per person except for the Open Studio events. Artists can come to paint anything they wish for $25 on selected dates. They also host Wine and Canvas events at their studio at 6410 W. Jefferson Blvd in southwest Fort Wayne.

Wine and Canvas is a great way to spend time with friends and family! The artists are friendly and provide simple instruction at a brisk, but easy to follow pace. Their facility off Jefferson Boulevard has ample space for a party. I know painting can be intimidating for people who don’t think they are artistic, but Wine and Canvas creates a fun experience for all. Everyone at the event paints the same basic picture, but it could come out so many different ways. Every painting is wonderfully unique.

For those who want specific guidance, the artist stands on a stage and walks everyone through the steps to creating the painting. Essentially, the process was like a color-by-number puzzle from my youth. This time you have the advantage of a live person leading you through the steps.  If you feel like branching out, you can change the colors in your painting. Or you could add background, even characters to your painting! Enjoy wine, snacks, and conversation throughout the evening. Because the instruction is so easy to follow, it creates a relaxing atmosphere. You can chat and laugh and make jokes with those around you, without losing your place in the process.

Specifics: The easiest way to find out when events are scheduled and what days are open for private parties would be to check out the website:

Holly Perry


Holly moved to the Fort Wayne area in 2012 and have enjoyed exploring all of the nifty "things-to-do" around the city! She is an aspiring writer and is currently working on her first novel. Holly lives with her husband, two crazy cats, a bearded dragon, and a ball python. She enjoys exercise in all forms and setting out on adventures during the day, then reads anything and everything she can get her hands on all night!

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).

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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.

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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.


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:

Marking History in Fort Wayne

As you drive around Fort Wayne, you sometimes come across a sign that denotes an historic happening or place from our city’s history. There are a variety of  these signs in existence and so we set out to find a few with the idea that parents of elementary age and older students, as well as anyone interested in Allen County history, could turn the discovery of these signs into a great day’s in-county road trip.

There are about six types of markers that you will most often see. The first are from the Indiana Historical Society and are typically gold lettering on a blue background. A couple of examples near downtown Fort Wayne are the Wabash and Erie Canal Groundbreaking sign just to the west of the Paula’s on Main parking lot and the Fort Miamis sign by the river on Van Buren, near Guldlin Park. That particular sign was erected by the Indiana Historical Bureau and the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Indiana.

A listing of state historical markers in Allen County can be found at:

When you see a white marker, it is most often from either the Allen County Fort Wayne Historical Society or the Mary Penrose Wayne Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

A listing of DAR markers can be found at DAR markers:

DAR markers can also be blue and white or bronze.

Markers that have a cement base and a rectangular top have been placed in some locations by ARCH.

If a site has multiple historic significance, you may find more than one sign at that location. This is apparent at Guldlin Park, where the DAR once had a bronze plaque on a rock plus the two signs already shown above. The bronze marker was stolen but a white DAR marker remains along with an ARCH marker and one from the state level for Fort Miamis. (for more on Guldlin Park, see the News Sentinel story from Saturday, April 6, “Park’s namesake was local women’s activist” by Kevin Leininger)

In June, 1963, the Historical Society published “Monuments, Plaques, Markers in City Parks” by Bernard J. Revl with photos by Harry Grabner. Grabner was the assistant superintendent in the Department of Recreation and Reul was the captain of the Park Police. At that time the Historic Sites and Markers Committee was comprised of Louis W. Bonsib, Helene Foellinger, J. Calvin Hill, Carl G. Lundell and William T. White, chair. All of the photos in this booklet were taken in Fort Wayne City Parks.

A listing of parks can be found at:

There is also a booklet available on line that tells you a little about our parks’ history:

Another booklet that was published by the Historical Society was “X Marks the Spot” in 1964. The Sites and Markers Committee, 1961-1964, lists in addition to those members above Albert F. Disernens.

“Illustrated in this booklet are the plaque and markers placed in the city and county by the Society from 1959 through 1963, and made possible by generous gifts from individuals and funds from the County and the Society.

“The Committee sincerely thanks the NEWS-SENTINEL and the JOURNAL GAZETTE, their photographers and reporters, and especially the many residents in the county who helped with research and arranged for the placing of the markers in their communities.”

Sites listed in this book include:

  • Maumee-Wabash Portage “Glorious Gate” Rockhill Park/published in JG June 14, 1959
  • First Church Site—334 East Berry, the building housed First Presbyterian Church from 1837-47, published in NS, June 28, 1961
  • Pirogue Landing, “the point where Indians, fur trappers, soldiers, explorers, settlers and adventurers landed at Fort Wayne in the late 18th and early 19th centuries” on the bridge near Hall’s Gas House, published in NS, Sept. 18, 1961
  • Wabash and Erie Canal—Rockhill Park north of the shelter, published in JG August 6, 1962
  • Fort Wayne—in Swinney Park, Indian Village Park, Reservoir Park, Memorial Park, Municipal Beach Park and Lawton Park, published in JG June 2 1963
  • The Wabash and Erie Canal, on Broadway in New Haven, published in JG July 21, 1963
  • Harmar’s Ford—East Berry and Francis Streets, published September 6, 1963
  • Huntertown—Huntertown School Grounds, State Highway 3, published in NS, September 19, 1963

There were also markers placed in Hoagland, Monroeville, Woodburn, Grabill and Harlan.

The Fort Wayne Civil War Roundtable erected this sign across the street from the History Center, then the City Hall.

The Fraternal Order of Police posted this sign outside the Allen County Court House.

While the markers are important, let’s not forget that the Chief Richardville House and the Allen County Courthouse are National Historic Landmarks. This designation does not come without massive amounts of work on the part of a community.

In addition, you can find a listing of the entities in our county who are on the National Register of Historic Places at:

Is there a marker near where you live, work or play? Take a photo and send it to me at and we’ll post it on Facebook.

The History Center


The History Center is the home of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society. Housed in the 1893 Old City Hall, the organization offers a look at Allen County and Fort Wayne history via its museum, the National Historic Landmark Chief Richardville House, the George R. Mather Lecture Series, the magazine “Old Fort News”, its award winning blog “History Center Notes and Queries” and other programs. The History Center’s Festival of Gingerbread during the holiday season attracts over 12,000 people to downtown Fort Wayne during its three-week run with proceeds going toward support of the museum and its programs. The Heritage Education Fund provides free field trips to students in area schools.

B.B. King and Lucille Come to the Fort!

 Blues guitar great B.B. King will bring his music to the Embassy Theatre on October 4, 2014.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician was ranked # 6 on the 2011 Rolling Stone magazine list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time and # 16 in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.”

 B.B. King and Lucille Come to the Fort!

He was also inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and won at least 15 Grammy Awards, including one for what is arguably still his most recognized song, “The Thrill is Gone.”

The King of Blues, now in his late 80s, continues to perform several hundred concerts a year with his beloved Gibson ES-355 B.B. King Signature guitar “Lucille.”  Speaking of which, the Gibson Guitar Corporation is offering Lucille instruments to the public for $3,799, on its website and in certain stores.  King’s own custom Lucille is far more tricked out and likely cost near $10,000.  (As a longtime ES-335 guitar owner and instructor myself, I was intrigued to learn that King’s ebony with-gold -hardware guitar was customized to omit the f-holes.  I’m not sure why but I’ve yet to play an ES-355, so don’t know if it makes a difference in the sound or not)

The talented guitar improviser has guest-appeared in several TV shows and also recorded several dozen studio albums over the years.  He has performed worldwide with artists Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Gladys Knight, Bo Diddley and many more. Literally, hundreds of awards have graced King’s performances such as the Kennedy Center Honors, Polar Music Prize (from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music), Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush, and been named one of the 10 best electric guitarist of all time by TIME Magazine, to list only a few.

Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Embassy Theatre box office (260.424.5665; 125 West Jefferson Blvd Fort Wayne, IN 46802) or Ticketmaster (1.800.745.3000;  Tickets range from $46.65-86.05 with orchestra pit, main floor seat and balcony seating.

Come to the Embassy on October 4, and be prepared to touch greatness.



Barb Sieminski is a freelance writer and photographer for several magazines and newspapers. She received her B.A. and M.S. in art and English, from the University of St. Francis. When not chained to the computer, she follows her passion of fishing, believing that all good things come to she who baits . . .

Firefighters Museum — Where Kids Learn of Historic Heroes

I wish I had a couple of little guys or gals running around my house. If I did, I’d take them to visit the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum.

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This steamer truck is on display at Firefighter Museum.

This is such a perfect place for kids.

The museum is conveniently located on West Washington Blvd. between Harrison and Webster Streets — next to the downtown branch of the Allen County Public Library and the Grand Wayne Convention Center. Street parking is free on weekends.

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The Firefighter Museum is perfect locale for kids to visit.

This historic building once housed some of Fort Wayne’s bravest workers. Constructed in 1893, the structure known as Engine House 3 serviced the growing downtown. A west wing was added in the 1920s. The building remained operational until 1972 when it closed.

During my recent self-guided tour, I saw gleaming, impressive fire trucks used by Fort Wayne firemen (they were all men in those days) from this station in the 1940s. Not everything in the museum was used by the Engine House 3 firefighters but they give us an idea of what was used. A horse-drawn fire truck on loan is similar to the model used in Fort Wayne in 1898.

I love anything related to horses, so the replica of a Fire Chief’s buggy from the 1800s is also cool to me. The names of the horses that were stabled there are still posted above their stalls. I’m certain they were well taken care of for the big jobs they had of rushing to the scenes of infernos (hopefully they were not all infernos).

One item in the firehouse really intrigues me and it is not red or shiny or used for fighting fires. Can you guess what it is?

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Fire engines from the 1940s are displayed at the Firefighters Museum.

It is an iron lung that was used during the 1940s and 1950s by polio patients to help them breathe. Polio was a disease that ran on a near epidemic scale during this time. Polio affected a person’s ability to breathe on his own, due to muscle loss.

Why would this bulky medical instrument be stored in a firefighter’s museum? Because fire fighters from Engine House 3 volunteered to transport polio patients on their trucks with the 600-lb. machines that needed to be hooked up as patients traveled to medical treatments.

The museum’s second level contains a movie theater with surprisingly comfortable seating. Films available to show to groups of all ages focus on the history of firefighting. A small meeting room stores a collection of cast iron fire truck toys. About a decade ago the museum housed a café. Today that area probably served as the firemen’s sleeping area because it sports a pole used by them to quickly reach the first floor upon hearing the alarm signaling a fire.

There is also an interactive area resembling a home kitchen and bedroom that teaches visitors – especially small children — about fire safety procedures.

Souvenirs are available at the front desk, including Fort Wayne Fire Department patches and T-shirts.

If you are a child care provider, grandparent, parent or friend of a child, take them to this historic museum. While it’s not flashy, I like that it is a place that focuses on its goal—that of informing the public about Fort Wayne’s past. Call ahead to reserve a time for group tours.

226 West Washington Blvd.

Fort Wayne, IN. 46802





10:00 am to 4:00 pm


10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Closed Wednesdays through July 1, 2012, Sundays

and most holidays.



Adults         $4.00

Seniors       $3.00

Students (K-12) $3.00

5 and Under Free

Group rates available for

scheduled guided tours



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: