Maker Faire provides a different perspective on STEM

It’s not every day kids are encouraged to ditch their screens in exchange for a few hours of unbridled creativity and exploration.  Maker Faire, an annual festival which encourages families to MAKE, create, learn, invent, CRAFT, recycle, think, play and be inspired by celebrating arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science and technology.

Join fellow inventors and (aspiring ones) September 13-14, 2014 under the Lincoln Pavilion at Headwaters Park East for this 4th annual event that is gaining more and more momentum each year.

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Join local artist Eran Park as he blows glass at Maker Faire 2014.

This event is made possible by TekVenture, a 501(c)(3) public art and technology laboratory seeking a home near downtown. Their goal is to create a public intersect on between imagination, technology, art & community – a space where arts, tinkerers, makers, engineers, inventors, prototypers, craftspeople, and others gather to use tools, share ideas and make things. These “makers” represent a movement happening all across the United States.

In the last few years, similar informal facilities designed to bring groups of people together to use traditional and high-tech tools to solve engineering problems and to create art, technology, and other projects have blossomed worldwide.

While searching for a permanent home, the organizers created this event to serve as a fundraiser and to celebrate and connect these creative people and the things they make. After all, knowledge is best shared. Why not harness the passion from makers around the world through a local event? That philosophy is what drives the organizers every year.

Speaking of making, you can expect to encounter some impressive displays of skill, talent and ingenuity. For example, on this year’s schedule of events are a BMX and rocket launch demonstration. A variety of hands-on activities, like glassblowing, rocket making, and aircraft assembly are planned. This weekend provides a real opportunity to get up close and personal with science.  It’s never too early to introduce your kids to STEM.

Get your tickets in advance and save.  Tickets are available via Eventbrite or buy them at the door with cash or credit card (MasterCard, VISA, Discover.)


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:

Hideout 125′s speakeasy theme, menu impresses

My boyfriend and I are always looking to check out new and interesting restaurants/bars in Fort Wayne.  On a recent Saturday we were pleasantly surprised by our visit to Hideout 125.  This place can be best described as a modern speakeasy, although you wouldn’t know it from the exterior. The building is located in a strip center off of Coldwater and Dupont, on the northwest side of town.IMG 3031 300x224 Hideout 125s speakeasy theme, menu impresses

Once inside the bar, you feel like you’re transported into Al Capone’s era. Think lower lighting, exposed brick and servers dressed in uniforms reminiscent of the 1930s. The food and drink complemented the atmosphere. While I didn’t get to sample any of the menu offerings (we were there for cocktails), I was impressed with the variety and complexity. For example, you can order a Chicken Pot Pie appetizer that has a specially topped crust with fried chicken skin and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.  Talk about a foodie’s dream! They have already earned a reputation for their appetizers, which can be best described as tapas. Their main courses include such items as steak, pasta, chicken and seafood. Next time we will be sure to eat there for a full meal!

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But what I can tell is their drink menu is sure to please anyone, from the most low-brow tastes (PBR), to whiskey aficionados. In addition to their beer and wine on tap (yes, wine on tap!) and bottled options, they also have an impressive mix of specialty cocktails.  I ordered the St. George Tonic, which had the usual gin and tonic water, along with some botanicals and honey. One was definitely enough! It finished strong with a strong honey taste. My boyfriend ordered the Raspberry Hammer, which can be best described as refreshing and effervescent–perfect for a summer night. The servers checked on us regularly and seemed to be knowledgeable. The bar had filled up by the time we had left. I think the word is spreading quickly about this place.

Hideout 125 is located at 10350 Coldwater Road. See their Facebook page for more information.


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:

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.

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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.

Katie’s Kountry Korner – a sweet little place to stop

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Just a few of the beautiful plants flourishing at Katie’s Kountry Korner – oh, to be able to grow flowers like this!

Look at all the flowers! This was my first thought when we entered the long driveway to the tidy country store located on 13312 Schwartz Road, Grabill, Indiana, 46741. The perfectly trimmed grass and white fences make you curious to see just what an Amish country store has to offer.

Large pots of pink petunias are everywhere, decorating the shop’s porch and the grounds around it. You can see a perfect vegetable garden off to the side of the house – flourishing plants with not a weed in sight. Large out buildings and a big house are also nearby.

Inside, you’ll be met by a peg-board wall with several beautifully delicate Amish capes and hats on display. Made of fine white gauze, these are clearly special-occasion clothes, not your everyday work wear. You’ll also see some plastic containers at kid height filled with tiny dice and other trinkets that small ones would like to explore.

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Katie’s Kountry Korner is something of a general goods store. Behind the counter is a large room filled with bolts of cloth and other sewing materials. This shop specializes in making Amish quilts – although you can also purchase other sewing supplies, too. One woman was buying a number of zippers and ordering more things as I walked in. The cashier was friendly and straightforward – she explained how they put together their quilts and demonstrated the versatility of the fabrics they used for making useful yet lovely products.

There is also a great deal of Amish-made furniture in the back of the shop. Large bedroom sets, shelves, and other great-sized pieces of wooden furniture gleamed in the dim light of the back room. This being an Amish store, they use non-grid power for the lights and other appliances. You can sometimes hear the carpentry shop at work in the background, turning out another piece of good craftsmanship.

While this shop has carried a variety of goods in years past – wooden toys, coloring books, canned food items, painted lamps, etc. – what caught my eye this visit was the painted china clock. It was a square white plate carefully done with purple blossoms and green leaves. Hung above the cashier’s desk, it peacefully counted away the minutes while a small baby woke up in his bassinette behind the counter. The cashier picked him up and continued on with her work, unfazed. The baby seemed to like being where the action was, too.

If you’d like to experience a little bit of Amish culture, I highly recommend that you check out Katie’s Kountry Korner.  It’s so country, yet so near.



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!)

Ride Green Ft. Wayne Pub Tour


Often when I find myself in a new area I like to get a bit of “ground time”. Going on a walk, run, or bike ride is a wonderful, sensual experience for getting in touch with what a city, town, or countryside has to offer. A little quality time in nature or a quick pit stop in a new restaurant and a bar certainly tends to help along this crusade. Remind me to tell you about that time in Tucson…Luckily “Ride Green Ft. Wayne” has just the thing to take you on such a journey.

The Northeast Branch of the U.S. Green Building Chapter (USBC-IN Northeast) will be hosting its first annual “Ride Green” bicycle pub tour of 7 of the Fort’s favorite bars and restaurants. The event will take place on Saturday, September 6, at 2:00pm and will take attendees on a 6-mile loop beginning at the Wells Street Bridge. The route will pass by local favorites such as O’Sullivan’s Italian Pub, The Green Frog Inn, and Calhoun St. Soups, Salads, & Spirits.

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Ride Green Ft. Wayne Bike Route

Billed as the official public launch of the Sustain Fort Wayne Campaign, “Ride Green” is designed to show residents and visitors alike how to enjoy many of Ft. Wayne’s various businesses in fun, practical, and environmentally conscious ways. According to branch chair Andrew Hesterman, the event is meant to connect and build a spirited community looking to be active participants in the city. “We wanted to emphasize that anyone can be involved in a sustainable mindset and culture”, said Hesterman.

After a period of introspection the USBC-IN Northeast decided it was looking to expand it’s involvement in Ft. Wayne, making its voice heard throughout the community in interesting and inviting ways. While much of its energy was focused on promoting sustainability in the areas of design, architecture, and engineering, there seemed to be something missing in the organization’s overall mission. When asked for comment, Hesterman said, “We want to get people in gear with what (the USBC-IN) is all about.” Cultivating and participating in a burgeoning cycling scene in the Fort seemed the best course of action.

In turn, the USBC-IN Northeast hopes “Ride Green” will encourage citizens to become members. The organization offers LEED Environment certifications and education programs for building, engineering, design, and architectural professionals. Not involved in those fields? Then the organization offers “Green Associate” certifications for those who are looking to be involved with sustainable technologies and lifestyles.

When I asked Hesterman if he would consider himself a “cyclist” he responded with good humor stating, “If I am it’s at a leisurely pace!”

Be sure to check out the event’s website for more details! Did I mention you get a shirt with this?

And, in case you want to know, I’m SO going to be there.

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Photo Courtesy: Ride Green Ft. Wayne

Andy Helmkamp


Andy is a recent arrival from Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he studied film theory and cultural criticism and spent time working with the Milwaukee Film Festival. There was also a lot of roasting and buying coffee thrown in there for good measure. Currently working for the Ft. Wayne Museum of Art and the Allen County Public Library, he's looking forward to exploring all the Fort has to offer. Chances are you'll find him at the Cinema Center, biking, writing, and running (from nothing in particular...weird right?), and pretending to know way more about craft beer than what he actually does.