African/African-American Museum + Harambee Festival = Cultural Fun

This summer I’ve made a conscious effort to learn about cultures around me. In addition to attending the International Village at Three Rivers Festival, I visited the African/African-American Museum on Douglas Street.

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My daughter accompanied me and we were impressed with the interesting exhibits and information the museum director, Dr John Aden, shared with us during the impromptu visit. He has a degree in history and it shows with his vast knowledge about Africa, its history and people.

Although Dr. Aden has a higher degree in education than we do, he presented information about the museum’s African masks, sculptures, and fiber arts exhibits without going over our heads.

He explained that the exhibits came from every part of Africa except the north and that many had been donated to the museum by missionaries to Africa who now live in Fort Wayne. The wooden masks were especially intriguing as they were not simply designed to be worn on a face but carried on top of one’s head. And they were heavy we discovered when he allowed us to hold them! At the end of two hours my daughter and I were amazed at how fast time had flown.

However, Dr Aden’s vision extends beyond the walls of the museum, and one way he is achieving that is by taking the museum to the people!

The African/African-American Museum will have an exhibit at the Harambee Festival on Saturday, August 2, 2014 at Weisser Park (802 Eckart Street).

This year will be the 21st year for the Harambee Festival celebrated on Fort Wayne’s southeast side. A ‘Walking in Unity Parade’ starts off the event from Pontiac Street to Hanna Street at 10 am. Groups with children will march from the Pontiac Mall, (1108 E. Pontiac Street), and travel west on Pontiac Street, turn south (left) onto Hanna St. and proceed to Weisser Park.

Following the parade the community is invited to participate in free family-friendly activities including basketball tournament, storytelling, music, poetry and skits.

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Face painting, always a popular event with kids, will be available as well as games with prizes like a ring toss, duck pond, candy wheel and fish pond. Food vendors will be on site. The festival continues until 7 pm.

So what does the word “Harambee” mean? According to a spokesperson at the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, the word “Harambee” is a Swahili phrase for “let’s all pull together.”

PingCarnival African/African American Museum + Harambee Festival = Cultural Fun
I like that this festival is named for a concept that commemorates unity within the community and is held to inform, educate and entertain the community.

I plan to attend and look for Dr. Aden’s exhibits from the African/African-American Museum.

The Harambee Festival is sponsored by the Harambee Festival Committee and the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department.

African/African-American Museum
436 E. Douglas Ave.
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
(260) 420-0765
www.AAAHMuseum.org

Hours:Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm
Cost: Adults $7, Children $5

www.fortwayneparks.org/
www.facebook.com/fortwayneparks

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

The Moody Blues Come to Town

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The Moody Blues will take the Embassy stage on August 22nd.

Prepare to be invaded by the English in August when the Moody Blues waltz into the Embassy Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday, August 22, 2014.

The guys who made that gorgeous single, “Nights in White Satin” famous, were known for their fusion of classical music with rock, and have sold more than 55 million albums to date.  Their awards and honors include the NARM Number One World Group Award 1972, 18 platinum records, The Playboy Vocal Group of the Year Award and the Golden Ticket Award for the sale of 100,000 tickets at Madison Square Garden, ASCAP and Performance Awards, Platinum Sales Award (2000) and the Ivor Novello Statue (1984 Outstanding Contribution to British Music).

Some of the Moodies’ most popular songs include “I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock ‘n Roll Band),” “Never Comes the Day,” “Voices in the Sky,” and “Ride My See-Saw.”

They have made videos, CDs, DVDs and television appearances as well as their prolific concert tours worldwide. The harmony and charisma of the group has inspired writers and columnists of many publications to wing continual kudos to the musicians.

The Dallas Morning News, for example, wrote:  “The band showed in its performance why it has endured almost half a century…the harmonies between John Lodge and the band front man Justin Hayward created soaring drama punctuated by the interplay between smoke and light ray.”

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, “It all came down to the melodies, which ranged from gorgeously seductive to simply catchy and punchy….the Moodies depend on nostalgic memories of their fans’ youth, but they also know that in the present, these songs can still move the listener.”

Come to the Fort August 22 and let your three favorite English guys – Justin Hayward, Graeme Edge and John Lodge – take you away with their songs of loveliness.

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; www.ticketmaster.com).

Barb

About

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 . . .

Foodstock is back!

Meals on wheels are the way of the future! Fort Wayne’s food trucks are not your stereotypical truck turning out sketchy mystery meat. Instead, they are delivering mouthwatering fare of all kinds for Fort Wayne residents and visitors alike to enjoy. If you haven’t tried all the different trucks yet, don’t panic! Foodstock 2014 is your opportunity to sample them!

All day Saturday, July 26, from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. the food trucks will be parked at One Summit Square in downtown Fort Wayne. Grab something for lunch, then find a spot to enjoy the live music. For the 21+ crowd there will also be beer gardens as well to enjoy with your food truck fare. You won’t want to miss this once a season gathering.

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Check out our comprehensive list of the food trucks and start planning your meals.

  • Jumby’s Joint is serving up some traditional American food. The menu vaires from day to day but features burgers, hot dogs, cold cut sandwiches, pork, and more!
  • For some of the best authentic Italian Ice in the city, hit up Wise Guys Ice. It makes a great addition to any meal and is the perfect summertime snack! Try one of their unique flavors, or get your favorite traditional flavor. 
  • PizzaBomba is delivering gourmet pizza that you won’t believe is from a food truck until you see it! This New York style pizza is sure to satisfy and leave you wanting to come back for more.
  • Using seasonal produce and locally supplied meats, Spicer’s Food Truck is turning out some of the best burgers in town. Their menu changes daily, but you can always be sure to find fresh burgers on the list.
  • Craving Italian? Look no further than Rig-a-Tony’s Italian Food Truck. Dishing out breakfast, pastas, sandwiches, and more, this is a food truck you won’t want to miss!
  • For a little taste of New Orleans, check out Ragin’ Cajun. This truck is serving up some true Bayou fare with unique seafood recipes that won’t disappoint! 
  • Sol Kitchen is delivering some great and unique taco recipes with fresh ingredients and international flare. Their ever-evolving menu features a variety of foods from different nations and promises to be good eats!
  • Grab something sweet at Whip and Chill. They offer ice cream cones, sundaes, floats, and Hawaiian Shave Ice. 
  • Grab some mouthwatering BBQ at Jimmy Ray’s bar-b-que truck. They are serving it up right here with all the favorite BBQ meats and a wide array of unique sides including the traditional baked beans and loaded potato skins. 
  • One of the locals’ favorites, Bravas Hot Dogs, turns out crazy good hot dog creations. Try the famous Patatas Bravas topped with brava sauce and garlic aioli for a special treat!
  • You won’t want to miss Affine, either. The menu changes slightly, but always features some mouthwatering tacos with locally sourced chicken, pork, or duck. Try one of the unique combinations and you won’t be disappointed!

Bring the whole family down to this annual event. Help to support the local food trucks, enjoy a fun afternoon, and maybe even check out some of the downtown sights while you are there! Foodstock 2014 is sure to be a great time with great food and fellowship!

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.

Fort Wayne Pride Fest back for its 18th year

Pride has been celebrated in Fort Wayne for decades, but the festival we know today was born in 1997. Since then, Pride Fest has grown in size and popularity. This year, there is even more to enjoy with a week of events! Pride Fest will host events from July 23 – July 28.

Stop by Snickerz Comedy Club on Wednesday night, July 23,  for Pride night. Headliner Kristen Key is sure to keep the audience in stitches. Best known for being a fan favorite on season four of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Key employs music, scripted comedy, and her spontaneous sense of humor to make each one of her shows unique and staggeringly funny. There will also be a silent auction taking place at the comedy show to benefit Fort Wayne Pride’s year-round youth programming.

Then, on Friday, July 25, the real festivities begin. The Kick-off party will start at 7:00 p.m. at Headwaters Park. Admission is just $3 and that earns you entrance to a night long concert, which includes performances by two local bands and a DJ dance party at the end of the night. There will also be food available, vendors’ booths, and a beer tent on site.

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Make sure not to party too hard, though, because the fun begins again bright and early Saturday, July 26.  Beginning at 11:30 a.m. the Pride March will take over the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The march is open to people of all ages and is free to join; supporters will walk through the streets of downtown and end back at Headwaters in time for the beginning of the festival fun.

Saturday is the day you won’t want to miss. There will be vendors set up from noon – 6:00 p.m., a food and beer tent, a cornhole tournament from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., and a free KidSpace for children under 12 from noon – 5:00 p.m. The KidSpace will include games, prizes, a moonwalk, and crafts. There will be live entertainment all day with a little something for everyone. Check out some of the best local, regional, and national bands/singers. Saturday night will conclude with Fort Wayne’s finest drag show. Many people’s favorite part of the festival, this show is the largest in Fort Wayne and features some of the area’s best kings and queens. It promises to be a great show and a fun and memorable experience.

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The fun doesn’t stop there, either. Come out to the Fort Wayne TinCaps game on Monday, July 28, for Pride Night. Wear Red and look for the Pride section. You can even purchase your tickets during the festival the weekend before.

Come out to any or all of the Pride Fest activities and help to promote tolerance and equality. Check out Fort Wayne Pride’s webpage for more details about their other events and their organization.

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.

Fort Wayne for Millennials

Usually defined as people born in the 1980s and 1990s, Millennials recently usurped Baby Boomers as the largest generation. Despite our overwhelming presence in the world, we are often still a bit of an overlooked group. We are often deemed as antisocial (constantly on our phones) or still shoved at the children’s table. There has been so much debate recently about what millennials do and don’t like to do, what we are or aren’t into, and whether we are a more aware generation or just a bunch of selfish brats.

I can’t speak to most of that, but as far as what millennials do and don’t like to do, I know for myself, most of what I do is determined by cost. Going to college is expensive and even if you work it can be difficult to get by. I also know this isn’t likely to change any time soon after graduation because like many of my fellow millennials, I will be paying off my school for a long time.  That is not to say I won’t spend money, but when I do, I want to be sure it is going to be worth it.

So, if you are looking for something to do and are in the same boat as me, here are some things that are either free or worth the money.

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Swinney Park

One of the most often overlooked ways to spend your time in Fort Wayne is out on the trails. Fort Wayne has great parks and over 80 miles of walking, running, and biking trails. Totally free of charge, the trails allow you to enjoy the summer weather and give an interesting perspective of our city. Take a trail you’ve never taken before, find the Japanese garden in Swinney park, or try walking from destination to destination.

It’s especially easy to find things to do in the summer. Fort Wayne has about six different free summer concert series. With so many options, it’s likely that on any given weekend you can find a concert with a band playing music you like. It’s a great way to widen your music horizons and discover some cool new bands. Or, if outside concerts aren’t your scene, a lot of bars in town feature live music. Check out the Acme, the Brass Rail, Club Soda, and the Phoenix.

Summer is also time for farmers markets. There are so many markets that there is one open almost every day of the week, and there is guaranteed to be one close your neighborhood. Even if you don’t spend anything, it is always fun to browse. Still, the prices are usually affordable and it is nice to know that whatever you purchase is locally grown and supports local business. Grab some fresh produce, pack it in a cooler, and have a picnic in one of the many parks.

Going to museums is also a great way to spend the day, but admission prices can be steep. Fort Wayne has over 20 art galleries around town. If you want to see some great art, take a trip to some of our galleries and browse the art for free. One great place to go is Orchard Gallery; run by local artists, every time you stop in, there will be an artist working. Ask them questions about their work and hear about their processes and inspirations.

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Orchard Gallery

If you are willing to spend a little money, check out a movie at the Cinema Center. An art house theater in downtown Fort Wayne, Cinema Center shows great indie and foreign movies and it’s a non-for-profit, so all the money goes back into providing the community with a chance to see films they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to see. Hit up a matinee to make it even a little easier on the wallet as well.

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Columbia Street West

As another money-needed option, check out some of the great nightlife in downtown. JK O’Donnell’s offer great prices on quality beer, the Deck is a great place to enjoy the weather, the Dash-In has a chill environment and great live music, and Columbia Street has unique charm and a fun atmosphere.

 

There really is a lot to do to occupy your free time in Fort Wayne even on a budget. In a city like ours, there is no excuse to be bored, you just have to think outside of the box. When you are at a loss for what to do, check out Visit Fort Wayne’s Calendar of events.

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.