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.

Fortezza Coffee boasts big city atmosphere, quality brews

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Stop by for a cup or two.

Fortezza Coffee is not your typical coffeeshop, and that’s a good thing. The attention to detail is unrivaled, at least locally.

Located at  819 S. Calhoun St, across from popular lunch spot the Dash-In, this place provides a great back-drop for casual meet-ups with friends and business meetings alike. It has a hip vibe that you might find in a bigger city. No generic Starbuck’s feel here!

A dining room and closed-off meeting area mean there’s plenty of space to relax, work, or just take in the scenery around you. I’ve been to Fortezza several times now and have never felt cramped. Plus the noise level is tolerable if you want to carry on a conversation.

Of course the main draw is the coffee. It’s not an understatement to say the drinks are a work of art. Using a process called latte art, the barista combines espresso and steamed milk to create impressive designs that appeal to the palette. And customers can rest a little easier knowing their beans are ethically sourced through a process called direct trade. Call it coffee with a conscious! (For those non-coffee drinkers like myself, they offer other items like brewed tea. )

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The trendy furniture denotes a big city feel.

But they don’t just stop at coffee. Hungry customers will appreciate their light brunch menu, which boasts open-faced sandwiches, quiches and more. Craving something sweet? You’ll want to at least eye their pastries–all made in-house! Look for the menu as you come in, artfully written in chalk on the wall.

If you want to check out this place (as you should), know that you’ll have to find street parking. There is no dedicated lot available. Parking is 50 cents an hour, paid via meters until 5 p.m. on weekdays, and is free on the weekend. So be sure you have plenty of change on your person.

Beyond delicious coffee and delectable eats, Fortezza offers meeting space for small or large crowds. The ample seating allows for small coffee meetings to take place, while they also have a meeting room you are able to rent out for a larger crowd. To reserve the meeting room, simply give Fortezza a call for the details.

Fortezza Coffee is open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday. Check them out on Facebook to keep up-to-date.

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.

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.

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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.

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“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

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.

Chalk Walk 2014 – The Beauty Beneath our Feet

With the Three Rivers Festival fast approaching, that also means this year’s Chalk Walk is just around the corner. One of the favorite events in the festival, the Chalk Walk, brings tens of thousands of visitors to the streets of Fort Wayne to watch the artists creating mind-bending masterpieces right beneath their feet. This year’s Chalk Walk will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 12th and 13th, in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne on main street, just in front of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, which is hosting the event.

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Chalk Walk 2013

Fort Wayne’s version of street paintings, the Chalk Walk is inspired by the Italian street painters of the sixteenth century. The Madonnari, as they were called, hailed from all over the country; many came into the cities to work on the cathedrals there. Once the churches were complete, the painters looked for other ways to earn a living and found the ground beneath their feet served as endless canvas space. Recreating images from the churches, like the Madonna, (hence their names) during certain holy days soon became a way to earn a few coins. The practice grew until soon many artists were coming together in the streets and creating blocks of impromptu masterpieces. Fast forward to the twentieth century and not only had the practice not faded away, it had begun to be endorsed by local governments and celebrated with festivals.

Here in the twenty-first century, Fort Wayne’s own Chalk Walk is not limited to professional painters and boasts a variety of subjects, styles, and artists. Local, regional, and even national artists of all ages will work diligently all day to create their own once in a lifetime masterpiece for visitors to enjoy. Visitors get the unique experience of watching the artists work and seeing the picture take shape before their very eyes.

Once all the works are completed, prizes will be awarded. This year’s awards are:

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Artist works on her “Despicable Me” submission

  • Trompe l’oeil – French for “fool the eye”
  • Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s 30th Anniversary in Downtown Fort Wayne
  • The Golden Age of American Bicycles
  • Depictions of Fort Wayne Museum of Art Outdoor Sculpture
  • Best Use of a Street Blemish (only for those with cracks and manhole covers in their square)
  • People’s Choice (voted by the attending public)

Be sure to vote for your favorite piece for the People’s Choice award! The Chalk Walk is enjoyable for people of all ages, so bring the family and come watch the streets transform into beautiful works of art before your eyes. While you are there, stop by Art in the Park, the popular juried fine art show and sale going on just further down Main Street.

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.