Q&A with 2014 Hotel Fitness Championship director, Duke Butler

A native of Ponte Vedra, Fla., Duke Butler IV is in the Hotel Fitness Championship tournament director. He heads the day-to-day operations of the championship for the Western Golf Association, which is conducting the event. Butler played college golf at the University of Florida and is a former Jacksonville Amateur champion. With the buildup to this year’s Hotel Fitness Championship growing, Duke took some time to answer a few questions for those excited and looking forward to this great golf event!

DukeButler100512 300x202 Q&A with 2014 Hotel Fitness Championship director, Duke Butler

1. The 2013 Hotel Fitness Championship was a huge success in Fort Wayne. What can fans expect in year two?

Fans can expect a more enhanced event in year two of the Hotel Fitness Championship. In year one, we were focused on educating the community about what the event would entail—including some of the best golfers in the world from the Web.com Tour and the PGA TOUR coming together to compete for a $1 million purse and PGA TOUR eligibility for the upcoming season. When Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters champion, made an 18-foot putt to win on the last hole of the tournament, we couldn’t have been more thrilled. We saw some great crowds throughout the week with close to 27,000 people attending the event, and we expect that to increase this year. We hope to have attendance of 35,000–40,000 people. We also have to thank our significant support force as we had close to 600 volunteers us last year. Without them, we couldn’t put on an event of this magnitude.

In addition, in year two, we’ve really focused on the spectator experience and growing our corporate support so we can raise more money for our charity, the Evans Scholars Foundation and the Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House. A few of the enhancements to the spectator experience include:

  • No service fees on ticket purchases, making tickets more affordable. (Parking is still free!)
  • A larger expo area with a variety of exhibitors, located near the center of the golf course.
  • Our Upgraded Pavilions are now the Main Street Lounge pavilions and will showcase a more dynamic and exciting atmosphere with giveaways, promotions, unique food and specialty drinks. These venues will be the place to be for the 21 and over crowd, but you must have a Main Street Lounge upgraded ticket!

We are also planning to announce additional special events the week of the tournament, so visit HotelFitnessChampionship.com frequently these next few months to see what’s new!


2. Why is Sycamore Hills Golf Club a great golf course to host a professional golf tournament?

Sycamore Hills was designed to be a championship caliber golf course when it was built in 1989 by the Kelley family. The renovation that started this past fall after the inaugural Hotel Fitness Championship is only enhancing the quality of the course. The golfers raved about the layout and playability of the course in 2013, and I firmly believe that will only increase this year with the updated bunkers, green complexes on a few holes and new 18th hole that should promise another nail biting finish.

 golf sycamore 300x95 Q&A with 2014 Hotel Fitness Championship director, Duke Butler

3. Is the Hotel Fitness Championship a family friendly event? If so, why?

Absolutely! Coming out to the tournament is a great way to spend time with your family and see some of the best golfers in the world compete. Plus, kids 16 and under get in free with a ticketed adult. We understand that it can be challenging to make it out during the week, but after the second round of the tournament on Friday, there will be a cut to the low 65 players and ties that will play on Saturday and Sunday. We had close to 12,000 spectators during weekend play last year and some great weather as well. We have our fingers crossed that increases this year!
4. You’ve lived here for two years now. What are YOUR favorite things about Fort Wayne?

First and foremost, the people of Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana have been incredibly gracious and welcomed me with open arms. When I first moved here from Florida, they helped me get through the tough winter as it was a new world to me. I have made some great friends and business acquaintances. Besides playing golf, I love going to TinCaps games and frequenting many of the great restaurants around town.


5. Tickets are now on sale for the 2014 Hotel Fitness Championship. Where can fans purchase their tickets?

Fans can purchase tickets for this year’s event at HotelFitnessChampionship.com or the two Bobick’s Golf locations prior to the tournament. Tickets will also be available at the tournament gate the week of the event, and parking is free for all spectators. Our tickets start at just $10 for the practice rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday, and daily tickets to the championship rounds on Thursday-Sunday start at $25. Our weekly badge price is $65, but we also have some upgraded ticket options that will provide access to the two Main Street Lounge pavilions on holes 9 and 16.

For more information on the 2014 Hotel Fitness Championship, check out Visit Fort Wayne!



Katie Robinson joined the Visit Fort Wayne staff in March 2013 as a Marketing Assistant. She recently graduated from Ball State University with a degree in public relations. Katie is a Fort Wayne native and enjoys exploring the city when she can. She is a coffee junkie and is often found with her coffee cup in hand. She enjoys baking, and is especially fond of cupcakes. In her spare time Katie enjoys shopping, curling up with a good book, spending time with friends and family, relaxing with her husband Joseph, and playing with their adorable Shih Tzu, Gidget.

EverGreen Dry Cleaning Brings a Greener Solution to the Fort

photo1 300x225 EverGreen Dry Cleaning Brings a Greener Solution to the Fort

Go green with EverGreen

Whether you’re here for a business trip, or in town for awhile to visit family, there may come a time when accidents happen and you need dry cleaning ASAP! Conventional dry cleaning is bad for the environment and our bodies. Luckily there is a viable alternative available for visitors and residents alike. It’s called EverGreen Dry Cleaning.

I met up with one of the owners, Laura, recently to get the scoop.  She told me the company(under a different name) has been around for 15 years using the industry standard methods. A few years ago they decided to go green and switch to a different system to clean garments. System K4 uses a patented non halogen organic solvent that cleans better than the industry standard, is non-toxic, biodegradable, and poses no risk for ground, water, air or people. It poses no short or long-term risk. This process has been adopted on the West Coast for several years and has made its way to Indiana recently.

According to Laura, the end product is better for you, smells better and won’t bleed. Garments will feel softer due to a lack of chemical buildup. But the biggest advantage she says is the smell. Traditional dry cleaning leaves clothes smelling like chemicals, which can be offensive. Clothes will also last longer without the use of harsh chemicals.

Perhaps the best selling point is the reasonable price. Laura says the prices are comparable and sometimes even cheaper than her competition. Talk about a no-brainer!

EverGreen has two locations, making it convenient for visitors here for longer stays and in need of dry-cleaning services. Their Georgetown Square location, on the northeast side of town, offers a full service approach. The southwest location offers pick-up and drop-off only. The two locations makes it convenient for most anyone.  Check out their website for weekly coupons. Hours are Monday – Friday 7 am – 7 pm and Saturday 9 am – 3 pm.

For a full list of hotels, and other extended stay accommodations, visit our hotel page!


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.

Yoga at the Barr Street Market

Yoga is said to have a number of healing benefits for both the mind and the body. Its popularity has been rising steadily over the last few years. From anxiety and arthritis to asthma and back pain, yoga has helped a lot of people move onto the path of healing. Now one studio in Fort Wayne aims to make that healing power available to everyone.

Fort Wayne’s Pranayoga Institue  will be hosting a series of no-cost, outside classes, All Levels Yoga at the Barr St. Market. Whether you are an experienced yogi or just want to see if yoga is for you, this event promises to be a great time. From 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Pranayoga will offer a Vinyasa class. The event is free, but donations are welcome and will benefit the Pranayoga Foundation.

dani head Yoga at the Barr Street Market

Dani McGuire

Fort Wayne native, Dani McGuire founded the Pranayoga Foundation in 2009 in order to bring yoga therapy to those with cancer and chronic pain. “We began with just one free class per week and private yoga therapy sessions, donated by myself, to people who couldn’t afford yoga because of expensive medical bills and treatments that come along with cancer and chronic illness,” said McGuire. The Foundation now offers free classes three times a week as well as a Monday evening class at Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana and three classes on Tuesdays at the Little Red Door Cancer Agency in Indianapolis.

The Pranayoga Institute, which has two locations here in town -downtown and Illinois road Southwest- was founded in 2010 to help fund the Foundation and provide a space to train others in their holistic approach to yoga, wellness, and yoga therapy. The Institute offers a variety of different classes for all interests and skill levels. “There are so many differences between yoga classes, teachers, and styles, which is why now that doctors are recommending yoga, we have to be careful to educate individuals on what is going to be best for them,” McGuire shared. ” There is adaptive yoga which takes place in a chair, and heated power yoga which is a  serious workout, and everything in between. It is best to call first and talk with one of our support managers or join the Yoga 101 classes we developed to find out what is best for you.”

The free Saturday class at the Barr Street Market will be a Vinyasa class. McGuire elaborates, “Vinyasa means to ‘place with purpose’ but in our culture those are usually the faster paced classes that link breath with movement and give people the ‘runners high.’” She assures that since Pranayoga focuses on the holistic approach, teachers are great at suggesting modifications and meeting students where they are.

572 Yoga at the Barr Street Market

“The outdoor classes help spread awareness of yoga, health, and our wonderfully supportive community,” said McGuire. Pranayoga is excited to be partnering with YLNI for the outdoor Barr St. Market classes this year. The All Levels Yoga at Barr St. Market promises to be a great expereince. All you need is a mat and smile, says McGuire. As far as what to expect at the class, McGuire says, “Some laughs, maybe more of a challenge then [you] thought from yoga, and community fun!”

All Levels Yoga at the Barr Street Market will be offered from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. July 12, August 9, and September 13. The classes will take place rain or shine and will move into the History Center if weather requires. So come out and enjoy the healing benefits of yoga with the community for an experience to remember!

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.

The Butterfly Effect- 11th Annual Butterfly Exhibit

“A fallen blossom
returning to the bough, I thought –
But no, a butterfly.”
Arakida Moritake

It’s April, and you know what that means. The butterflies are coming!!

It’s time for the butterflies at the Bontanical Conservatory! The 11th annual butterfly exhibit, “The Butterfly Effect,” opens on April 26 and will run through  July 6.

butterfly slide The Butterfly Effect  11th Annual Butterfly Exhibit

Get up close and personal with the butterflies!

If you’ve never experienced this live display, make some time to stop by this summer. It’s great for kids of all ages, because they can get up close and personal with the butterflies, letting them light on their fingers and learning how they transform from caterpillars…it’s like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” come to life! Of course, adults enjoy the event as well. I’ve seen my own mother giggle while having big, beautiful butterflies land on her as we walked through the exhibit.

You’ll walk through gardens with specially-draped netting to contain the butterflies. And, trust me, the butterflies are not shy. You’ll end up with several on  you. Just remember to be gentle. Butterflies are extremely delicate. Guests will also enjoy the beautiful and fragrant flowers in the exhibit.

The magic of live butterflies returns again to the Botanical Conservatory this spring and summer. Enjoy a beautiful array of large exotic species within the display tent, butterflies native to habitats from South America to Africa and Asia. This year, the Conservatory examines “the butterfly effect” concept from chaos theory, that even a small action in one place can significantly affect people and systems far removed. While experiencing all that  butterflies evoke in the human imagination, Conservatory guests are encouraged to consider the ripple effect of their own choices and actions in the unpredictable dimension of their sphere of influence. (botanicalconservatory.org)

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You’ll see lots of different species.

Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
Thursday 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday Noon – 4 pm
Closed Mondays

Adults $5
Children (ages 3-17) $3
Age 2 and Under FREE

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
1100 South Calhoun

Insider’s Tip: On Sunday, May 11 from 12 – 4 p.m., the Conservatory will host Mother’s Day in the Garden. This would be a perfect time to bring your mom to see the butterflies as well! Each mom will also receive a special Mother’s Day plant (while supplies last).

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.

There’s more to discover at the Main Library than books!

If you haven’t been to the Main branch of the Allen County Public Library, you’re in for a real treat.  This all-ages destination is a great place to spend a lazy afternoon. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • The Main Library’s Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery is located directly inside the library’s West entranceThe 3100 sq. ft. gallery is ideal for opening receptions and music performances. In addition to art, the gallery’s design accommodates large scale traveling exhibits.
  • Cafe: Have a coffee while taking in a good book or conversation.  The Twice Sold Tales shop offers used books for bargain hunters.
  • Meeting space: The Allen County Public Library welcomes the public use of its facilities and meeting rooms for meetings and events which serve the community’s needs for education, information, and cultural enrichment.

    555510 300201460049933 272977159 n 300x225 Theres more to discover at the Main Library than books!

    Rock the Plaza is a summer all-ages concert series.

  • Genealogy Center: If you want to discover or rediscover your family’s roots, this is the place! An experienced staff provides services to a full range of patrons, from children to senior citizens and from beginners to experienced researchers. To support these efforts, the Center has gathered an extensive collection of 350,000 printed volumes and more than 513,000 items of microfilm and microfiche.
  • Theater: A 280-seat Auditorium, Stage, and Lobby are located in a new high-ceiling space under the Great Hall. This space is suitable for lectures, films, theatrical and dance performances. I’ve actually performed here and have seen a few shows in this venue. It’s definitely under-appreciated!
  • Children’s Services: We can’t forget little people!  The Main branch hosts a variety of educational and cultural activities to appeal to children of all ages.  All activities are free and open to the public! Groups should call ahead at at 260-421-1220 if you plan to attend.
  • Music: In the summer months, the library hosts an outdoor concert series known as Rock the Plaza. This is a great way to see what the Fort Wayne music scene has to offer.

As you can see, the library is a destination for more than just book lovers. Make it a part of your itinerary and you won’t be disappointed.

For more information on the Allen County Public Library visit the library’s page on the Visit Fort Wayne website, or learn more about everything the library has to offer by checking out the ACPL online.


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.