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Straight No Chaser is not your stereotypical a cappella group of college males singing outdated tunes in suit jackets and khaki pants.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

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.

Your Carriage Awaits in Downtown Fort Wayne

Horse and carriage rides. Is there anything more romantic or sentimental? Especially for those once-in-a-lifetime occasions you want commemorate, but also for those otherwise normal nights out when you just feel like doing something special. If you are visiting Fort Wayne or are just downtown for an event, why not book a carriage to make your night complete?

Full disclosure, here. My husband and I have used two of the three horse and carriage companies I’ll profile below. One on the day we got married- we rode from the church to our reception, and one on our anniversary 10 years later- we took a tour of downtown. Both times were wonderful, and both companies professional with outstanding service.

Here are your three choices if you’d like to book your adventure!

Camelot Carriage Rides

In business since 1997, Camelot Carriage Rides is a family-owned and family-run business. “Camelot Carriage Rides’ drivers are very courteous and safety-conscious. Our customers are our number one priority. Our drivers are dressed in the appropriate attire for your occasion, whether it be a wedding or proposal, or just an evening night out with your special significant other.”

Camelot’s horses are Draft horses- White Percheron and Black Clydesdale, and the carriages are white Vis-a-Vis, which can be open or fully enclosed. You can also choose a full-size wagon for large groups.

Details: Rides begin and end at Don Hall’s Gas House & Takaoka downtown, although special locations can be negotiated. Call 260-223-2417 for more information. For tours in and around downtown Fort Wayne, $35 gets you half an hour, and $65 one hour.

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Camelot Carriage Rides

Rosewood Carriage Rides

Rosewood Carriage Rides is another great option. In business since 2003, Rosewood is based in Huntertown, but serves Fort Wayne and the surrounding areas.

“Rosewood is a licensed family owned business whose owner has operated carriages since 1984 and prides itself on providing safe and excellent service to all customers. Our white Vis-a-Vis carriages can be transported to your location and completely enclosed to protect passengers from foul weather. Coachmen are experienced professionals and are always suitable dressed for the occasion. A majestic Percheron Draft horse pulls each carriage so you can sit back and enjoy the leisurely pace of a horse-drawn carriage ride.”

Details: Rides begin and end at Don Hall’s Gas House & Takaoka downtown, although special locations can be negotiated. To tour downtown Fort Wayne, $35 gets you half an hour, and $70 one hour. To make special arrangements, call 260-637-5261.

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Rosewood Carriage Rides

Sentimental Journey Carriage Rides

Last, but not least, is Sentimental Journey Carriage Rides. Like Camelot and Rosewood, Sentimental Journey has both carriages for a more intimate ride and larger wagons for big groups.

“Sentimental Journey began in 1993 and offers three elegant white carriages and four beautiful horses to make your occasion spectacular.”

Details: Rides begin and end at Don Hall’s Gas House & Takaoka downtown, although special locations can be negotiated.  $35 gets you half an hour, and $70 one hour for tours of downtown Fort Wayne.  Most days, 24-hour notice is all you need to book your ride! Call 260-341-1133 to arrange special occasions.

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Sentimental Journey Carriage Rides

If you’ve never taken a carriage ride downtown, what are you waiting for? Take your sweetie, your whole family (carriages will hold two adults plus two to three kids) or a group of your BFFs (reserve a wagon!), sit back, relax and enjoy the view. It will be the best money you’ve ever spent to get around the Fort. What better way to see the holiday lights?

Insider’s Tip: While all three companies provide heavy blankets for your comfort, don’t forget to bundle up! Afterwards, stop by Henry’s for a nightcap.

Wendy Sack

About

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.

Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping!

HTS 300x199 Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping! On Saturday, November 29 you can discover downtown and all of the local shops it has to offer during the Downtown Improvement District’s annual Holly Trolley Shopping Day! Park, shop and ride the FREE trollies from 11am-5pm and check out unique offerings from local businesses both right downtown, and in the Wells Street Corridor.

Participating downtown shops are:

3R Gallery
Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery
Botanical Conservatory
Castle Gallery Fine Art
Cathedral Books & Gifts
Community Center Popup Market
Cottage Flowers
Courtyard Wintergreens and Utopian Coffee Co.
Creative Women of the World
Dunkin Donuts at the Allen County Public Library
Emiley’s Haute Cottage
Fort Wayne Museum of Art Paradigm Gallery
Fort Wayne TinCaps Orchard
Foxy Ladies Art Posse Holiday Gift Market
Historic Fort Wayne
House of Furniture
Indiana Artisan Holiday Marketplace
Pembroke Bakery & Café
Prana Yoga School of Yoga and Health
Saving Grace Vintage
Science Central
Sharon’s Victorian House of Gifts
Stoner’s Funstore
Sunny Schick Camera Shop
The Wood Shack Architectural Antiques
Third World Fair Trade Shoppe
Visit Fort Wayne
Your Virgin Hair Boutique

Wells Corridor participants include:

Big Eyed Fish
Brewers Art Supply, Inc.
C.M. Sloan & Sons Funeral Home
Connolly’s Do It Best
Fort Wayne Guitar Exchange
Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot
G.I. Joes Army Surplus
Great Panes Glass Company
Hyde Brothers Booksellers
Indiana Mexican Bakery
Jay’s Mini Mart Inc.
La Michoana
Linda Lou’s New & Used Furniture
Morings Flowers
Richards Bakery & Big Apple Pizza
Wells Street Variety & Antiques

For those keeping count, that’s 50 (FIFTY) local places you can visit throughout the day! Need a little help mapping your day out with all of these options? Let me give you a few of the places I’m most excited about visiting during HollyTrolley Shopping!

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Emiley’s Haute Cottage features unique gifts. (photo via Emiley’s Haute Cottage Facebook page)

Emily’s Haute Cottage

Emily’s Haute Cottaqge is one of the cutest shops in downtown Fort Wayne! Offering everything from unique home furniture and decor, to locally made jewelry, Emily’s Haute Cottage is the place to go if you’re looking for something you ‘re sure to not find in a chain store. Voted 1st place in the Fort Wayne Newspaper’s Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Gift Collectibles Shop, this is the perfect spot to hunt for a gift for that person on your Christmas list that has fun and unique taste (or to buy yourself something fabulous).

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Just a few of the things you’ll find while shopping at Visit Fort Wayne.

Visit Fort Wayne

Obviously, Visit Fort Wayne is a must for this list! Stop by the Visitors Center for gifts that shout your love for Fort Wayne! Whether you’re looking for Fort Wayne branded apparel, or something uniquely Fort Wayne to celebrate our city, there’s a good chance Visit Fort Wayne has it! Want to find something a little more “luxurious”? The Visitors Center carries local favorites Vera Bradley and DeBrand Fine Chocolate too! While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to chat up their knowledgable staff who are always happy to give their recommendations of what to do and see in Fort Wayne!

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Browse Fort Wayne Outfitters.

Fort Wayne Outfitter’s & Bike Depot

Prior to this summer I had never been to Fort Wayne Outfitters. I had heard lots of good things, but never had a reason or opportunity to check it out. Once I did I fell in love with this hidden gem in the Wells Street Corridor! During much warmer weather, Fort Wayne Outfitters is the place to go if you’re looking to really get out and explore Fort Wayne from a different point of view. They offer kayak, canoe, and paddle board rentals for going out on the river, as well as bike rentals to explore our trail system. For your shopping needs, they have a selection of apparel and gear, bikes and boats. This is the perfect place to shop for the outdoorsy person in your life!

hyde 2 Have a Holly Jolly time during Holly Trolley Shopping!

Hyde Brother’s is filled to the brim with books.

Hyde Brothers Book Sellers

If you have a book lover on your shopping list, chances are they already know about Hyde Brothers Booksellers. It is a truly magical place if reading is your thing. They offer over 150,000 titles, and are one of the largest bookstores in all of Indiana! I’ve spent many afternoons combing the shelves at Hyde Brothers, looking for something unique and interesting, and they never disappoint! You’ll find everything from first-edition leatherbound novels, antique special editions and newer titles currently flying off the shelves.

Now, start mapping out your day! Many of the locations along the Holly Trolley route will be offering special holiday items, one-day sales and refreshments for shoppers. Holly Trolley shopping is also great because with two trolley routes, you won’t have to wait long at any given stop to move along to your next stop! Holly Trolley shopping goes from 11am-5pm and riding the trolley is FREE! For more information, check out Visit Fort Wayne or the Downtown Improvement District. And, don’t miss out on all of the other great Holiday Fest activities going on all season long!

Katie

About

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.

Kick off the holiday season with the Embassy Theatre’s Festival of Trees

FullSizeRender 300x300 Kick off the holiday season with the Embassy Theatres Festival of Trees

Last year’s Festival of Trees was one of my favorites!

There’s something magical about the holiday season. Everyone is a little cheerier, the cold weather feels more festive than troublesome, houses are decked out in twinkling lights, and Christmas trees are put up and decorated for all to see. To top it all off, Fort Wayne goes all out to usher in the holiday season. From the big Holidayfest kickoff at the Night of Lights, to the illuminated displays you’ll find around town all throughout the season, Fort Wayne is doing it right! Out of all of the great events you’ll find throughout Holidayfest, the Embassy Theatre Festival of Trees is by far my favorite, and it will be yours too!

Each year the Embassy Theatre puts on the Festival of Trees – a festival where trees of all shapes and sizes are decorated elaborately in celebration of the holiday season. While the Festival of Trees is a wonderful display of all things wondrous and magical, it also serves a bigger purpose. Since its start in 1984, the Embassy Festival of Trees has served as a community goodwill event that supports the continuous operational and restoration efforts of the Embassy Theatre Foundation, Inc.. Each intricately, and sometimes gloriously over the top, tree is decorated and/or sponsored by a local group or business, adding even more the true community feel of the event.

This is one of Fort Wayne’s favorite holiday festivals, hands down! Year after year, more and more people are discovering the fun and beauty that is the Festival of Trees. Not only are there gaggles of intricately decorated trees all around the Embassy Theatre and Indiana Hotel lobby, but there are also live performances from some of the areas most talented singers, dancers and musicians. I can guarantee that even the most Grinch-like person will be transformed after walking through the magical hallways filled with holiday cheer (and lights and glitter and ribbon!).

The Embassy Theatre Festival of Trees kicks off on downtown Fort Wayne’s Night of Lights on November, 26th, and continues through Wednesday, December 3rd. While the window to attend the festival is limited, it is worth working it into your plans!

The full schedule for the Festival of Trees is as follows:
Night of Lights, Wed., Nov. 26, 6-9 p.m.
Thurs., Nov. 27, 4-8 p.m. (featuring Grande Page Organ music)
Fri.-Sun., Nov. 28- Nov. 30, 12-8 p.m. (youth entertainment on the Embassy stage)
Mon., Dec. 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Senior Day (open to the public, special information for Seniors)
Tues., Dec. 2, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 3, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Tots and Trees (open to the public, special activities for kids)

Don’t miss out! Make the Festival of Trees a new tradition with your family and friends! Admission to the festival is $7 for adults and $3 for children ages 4-12. Children 3 and under are FREE. For ticket information call the Embassy Theatre box office at 800.745.3000, or visit ticketmaster. For more information on the Festival of Trees, and all of the other great Holidayfest events, check out Visit Fort Wayne.

Katie

About

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.

Challenge yourself at Pure Movement Pilates Studio

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Fort Wayne has plenty of options when it comes to traditional gyms.  but there are few niche ones. Luckily for me (and you) Pure Movement Pilates Studio offers several classes you can’t find anywhere else in the city. I have been a member since January, and the classes still get me excited. The ladies there know how to keep it fun!

I typically take a barre class once a week, which is a mixture of Pilates, ballet and yoga. It involves a mix of stretching, weight training and ab work. Note, I said ab work. You will feel the burn!

I’ve found barre is a great supplement to a cardio routine. While low impact, you will feel like you exerted yourself after. Seriously, you can feel your body tightening and toning during the class. I have seen results unlike any other workout!  I also appreciate the attention the teachers provide. The class size (maybe 6-10) is ideal. The teachers are attentive,  helpful and have a great sense of humor.

I can tell you no two classes are the same, which is great for someone who gets bored easily.  I should mention each class is designed to have musical accompaniment. What’s a workout without music, after all?

I have also taken a Pilates class, which is much harder than it looks! They offer several types of group Pilates classes, as well as individual instruction.

Want to check it out? Your first class is free. After that, you can purchase class packs.  The studio is located next to downtown Starbucks, at 526 West Jefferson Boulevard. There is lot parking. 

About

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.