Straight No Chaser comes to the Embassy and you can WIN TICKETS!

The explosion of Pitch Perfect as one of the top-grossing movies of its season put a cappella music back on the map. While I’m sure we all love listening to the Bellas belt it out during the movie, it’s even better seeing and hearing groups perform in person. Don’t miss your chance to see one of the best a cappella groups in the country, Straight No Chaser, at Fort Wayne’s historic Embassy Theatre when they travel here December 16.

straight no chaserWEB 300x225 Straight No Chaser comes to the Embassy and you can WIN TICKETS!

Straight No Chaser is not your stereotypical a cappella group of college males singing outdated tunes in suit jackets and khaki pants. This talented group of men sing a variety of songs from covers of Adele and Ed Sheeran to songs with contributions from Phil Collins and Dolly Parton. The voices of these 10 men combine to create amazing vocal achievements that sound as if they are made by an orchestra of instruments and a choir of singers.

Their US and UK tour, Happy Hour, comes right after the release of their latest album, “Under the Influence.” This latest album features a number of holiday songs too, to put you in the mood of the season!

While you are in downtown Fort Wayne, make an evening of it! Stop by one of the local restaurants before the show. Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, and Spirits is just down the road from the Embassy. And even though it might be cold, it would be a great evening to see the Christmas lights that will be up around downtown. Straight No Chaser begins at 7:30 so there will be plenty of time for dinner before and it will be dark enough when you leave to enjoy the holiday season!

And, you can win tickets to the show here!

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.

Enjoy fresh produce from Fort Wayne’s indoor farmers markets – this winter!

The temperatures are dropping. but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fresh produce—purchased directly from the person who grew it.  Is there anything better than knowing exactly where your food comes from?

Fort Wayne’s indoor markets boost produce, as well as arts and crafts, and jewelry. Here’s a quick guide to both:

YLNI Winter Market: New this year, this market continues the momentum of the summer market located at Barr Street. That market has gained popularity over the years, as a Saturday destination.  You can find the winter market in the Ash Centre, at 1701 Freeman St. This is just a few minutes west of downtown. They are open the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of Oct. 2014 – April 2015,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

I checked it out with a friend recently and was pleased to see a lot of the same vendors were there. They have a good mix of food and crafts vendors. I bought some lettuce and herbs from a booth. He was very knowledgeable and reasonably priced. I appreciate the fact that most vendors accept credit cards, so you don’t have to worry about having cash on hand. Parking is available in the lot.

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Enjoy freshly made bread from a vendor at the Ft. Wayne Farmer’s Market.

Ft. Wayne Farmer’s Market: This market has been around for a few years, and it seems to be gaining momentum.  This market is held the 1st and 3rd Saturdays, so you can check out both on off weeks. The venue, Parkview Field’s multi-purpose room, is ideal for large crowds. Due to the size of the space, there is room for more vendors. I would say there is also more of a variety. You can find vendors here that aren’t at the YLNI market. Often times there are food trucks set up outside, so you can grab a bite before or after your visit. You can park in the attached garage or in a nearby lot.

So, grab your reusable bag and head over to one of our markets. It feels great to support local farmers and artisans. Tell them we sent you!



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:

Prepare to shop ’til you drop – Black Friday style

43d5dea0d76e987272bcf7c3 300x241 Prepare to shop til you drop   Black Friday styleBlack Friday. The day shopping malls go mad, and nice, normal people have the ability to turn on you at the drop of a sale on XBox’s. I didn’t grow up with a Black Friday shopping ritual with my mom. In my case, the day after Thanksgiving was usually reserved for sleeping off the meal from the day before, crossing my fingers that ABC Family had a Harry Potter Marathon on, curating the perfect Christmas wish list, and then napping from all of the strenuous relaxing I had been doing all day long. However, there is a special breed of people who wake up before the sun and literally shop ’til they drop as a post-Turkey Day celebration. I have joined these people just a couple of times in my adult life, and promise you there is no high like hunting down a $10 pair of Steve Madden boots (as a gift, obviously!).

Lucky for those of us in Fort Wayne, there is no shortage of Black Friday shopping options. You have your malls – Glenbrook Square and Jefferson Pointe; your smaller shopping centers like Covington Plaza and Northcrest Shopping Center; and tons of stand alone shops all over the city. In my few attempts at mastering the true skill that is being a Black Friday shopper I have some suggestions for those braving the Fort Wayne Black Friday shopping scene for the first time.

1. Have a plan. This may seem like a no-brainer, but Black Friday can be a really overwhelming experience. And, Fort Wayne is a lot bigger than some people give it credit for. You may be thinking “Shop ALL THE STORES!” – but really maybe narrowing it down to a handful of stores, or at least a general area, will make it so your Black Friday is a lot more shopping and a lot less dropping. For a list of all of your shopping options check out our shopping page.

2. Shop local. Big box stores and the chains we all know and love might be the first shopping destinations that pop into your head, but show our local store owners some love too! There are so many hidden shopping gems in Fort Wayne, and many of them are also open on Black Friday with deals to spare. Some of my favorites are Cakes Boutique, Emily’s Haute Cottage and Olive Twist.

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Prepare to wait outside in long lines on Black Friday!

3. Don’t forget to refuel. This can be crucial, especially when your shopping day may begin at 3am, and you’re still snatching up deals at noon. Any part of town that you’re in has great dining options whether you need to sit down and rest your legs for a little bit, or just need to grab and keep on going.

4. Dress for any weather. This is Indiana. It has been known to go from sunny and mild with not a cloud in the sky, to freezing and rainy within a 24 hour period. Layers are crucial for transitioning from waiting outside in a long line in the middle of the night to running through department sore aisles in the afternoon.

5. Spend time with your family. This one is more of a personal opinion, but please for the sake of all things great about Turkey Day, make sure you’re not cutting off your family time to head out and shop early. Many stored nationwide, and in Fort Wayne, are opening as early as 6pm Thanksgiving night. I don’t know about you, but I’m still finishing my grandma’s pumpkin pie off at 6pm. So, don’t rush the time you get to spend with your family and friends – enjoy it and I promise the deals will still be there if you go out just a little bit later.

Now get ready to conquer Black Friday! Run, don’t walk, to the best steals and deals in Fort Wayne! For more information on shopping in Fort Wayne, visit our shopping page. To make it a whole trip, check out our shopping itinerary!



Katie Robinson simply loves Fort Wayne! Born and raised in the Summit City, she returned following graduating from Ball State University with a degree in Public Relations in May of 2013. A former Visit Fort Wayner, Katie currently works for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority as the Marketing and Customer Service Specialist. In her spare time you can find her baking cupcakes, Zumba-ing her heart out and relaxing with her husband, Joe, and their adorable Shih Tzu, Gidget.

Mad Ants Games – Mad Fun For All

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The Fort Wayne Mad Ants celebrate their championship in 2014. Photo by Ron Hoskins, NBAE

Basketball and Indiana go hand-in-hand. To try and experience Fort Wayne without taking in a basketball game would be a tragedy, and the best place to experience an entire evening of entertainment is at a Mad Ants game.

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants are an NBA D-League team whose games provide all the fun of a big-city NBA game. Even if you don’t love basketball, you’ll love attending a Mad Ants game for its sheer entertainment value.

“Basketball is not the only thing we take pride in,” said Mad Ants Vice President of Operations, Heidi Busch. “We do everything we can to make the entire night an experience. From the moment you walk in, to the moment you leave, you will be entertained.”

The Mad Ants hire national and local acts to perform at halftime, and every break in action will have something going on, whether it’s from the team mascot, The Mad Ant, or the Mad Ants dance team, there’s never a ho-hum moment.

This season offers some especially exciting entertainment, as the Mad Ants are welcoming mascots and dunk teams from their NBA parent teams, the Indiana Pacers and the Chicago Bulls.

Fans of America’s Got Talent will be thrilled to check out national acts like Rubberboy, Duo Design, and K9 Crew Frisbee Dogs.

And don’t think that Mad Ants games are just for men and boys. December 7 is Princess Night at the Mad Ants game, where fans are encouraged to dress as their favorite princess or prince and can experience a halftime performance including a Disney Frozen medley. March 1 is Ladies Night, where women will have the opportunity to win prizes from Fort Wayne’s own Vera Bradley.

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Mad Ants games bring out fans of all ages. Photo by Randy V. Jackson Photography.

The Mad Ants will kick off their season on November 15 at the Memorial Coliseum, and they’ll have plenty to prove in the 2014-2015 season. The Mad Ants defeated the Santa Cruz Warriors to win the 2014 NBA Development League Championship for the first time in team history. With NBA-caliber players on the court, sports fans are sure to love the athleticism at a Mad Ants game.

“(It’s) a chance to see great basketball that includes NBA players right here in Fort Wayne, a high level of entertainment for all members of the family, and it’s affordable!” Busch said.

Tickets start at just $6 and can be purchased in advance here.

Scheduled promotional nights this season at Mad Ants games:

November 28 – Opposites Night

December 7 – Princess Night

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There’s more than just basketball at a Mad Ants game. Photo by Ricky V. Jackson Photography

December 19 – Indiana Pacers Night

January 3 – Tropical Vacation Night

January 29 – The Mad Ant Mascot Birthday Party

February 6 – Faith and Family Night

February 22 – Pro Wrestling Night

March 1 – Ladies Night

March 14 – Star Wars Night

Natalie Trout


Natalie A. Trout, a Journalism graduate from Indiana University, moved to Fort Wayne in 2006. Although born and raised in Ohio, she has been a Hoosier at heart her entire life. She loves doing international mission work, but is always eager to return home to Fort Wayne to volunteer, spend time with family and friends, eat sushi, and to cheer on her favorite sports teams. She blogs about life in her 30's at

Swinney Homestead Christmas Celebrates Season of Yesteryear

In today’s fast-paced world it can be easy to get caught up in technology, the shopping frenzy and the urge to travel and see everyone this holiday season. In the midst of the chaos, the Swinney Sisters invite you to visit the Swinney Homestead for a trip back in time at Fort Wayne’s historic homestead.

swinney1 Swinney Homestead Christmas Celebrates Season of Yesteryear

“Christmas At Home” takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 5; and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Swinney Homestead, a historic home located at 1424 W. Jefferson Blvd., just southwest of downtown.

The home will feature elegant Victorian Christmas decorations for the holiday season. Guests will be greeted with warm refreshments such as tea, tasty sweets and savory samples to nibble on. A gift shop on the second floor of the home features unique gifts and “stocking stuffers.” Further, guests will enjoy holiday music as they soak up the historic holiday atmosphere.

swinney2 Swinney Homestead Christmas Celebrates Season of Yesteryear

This event requires pre-paid reservations for a fee of $20. Proceeds from this event go toward the support and maintenance of the Swinney Homestead so it may be enjoyed for generations to come. To secure a spot at the event call 260.747.1229 or 260.747.1501.

Insider Tip: If the weather is mild, which it often can be in early December, consider taking a peaceful winter stroll through Swinney Park before or after your visit to the homestead. Enjoy some fresh air at one of Fort Wayne’s gorgeous and calming city parks. (Then get back to your holiday shopping!)


Previously a news reporter at daily newspapers in Indiana and Ohio, Holly Hammersmith now enjoys the lighter side of writing through freelance work. In her spare time, Holly can be found running or practicing yoga. She also enjoys visiting local coffee shops and day-tripping. Holly lives with her husband, dog Lulu and half a dozen houseplants. Find Holly on Twitter @HFHammers and at