This will be my sixth summer in Fort Wayne, making this town the one I’ve lived in longest since I was a kid.
Over those six years, the Fort has become home. The folks at Old Crown know my drink (decaf raspberry mocha), the servers at Saigon know my lunch order (noodle bowl No. 5), and at the start of every summer, I know what I will do the following months.
Here’s the best of what the Fort, and Northeast Indiana, has to offer come warm weather:
- Three Rivers Festival, specifically the Lawton Park Antique-Collectible Flea Market. This was my first Real Fort Wayne experience, as I went with a visiting girlfriend a few weeks after I moved to town. Awesome prices, great finds (if you love going through other people’s old stuff … I totally do), and after six years … it’s flat out tradition for me. (The fest is from July 11 to 19 this year.)
- The other TRF tradition: Fried Oreos. I eat them once a year (because you don’t need to eat fried Oreos more than once a year) and look forward to Three Rivers every year because I get my awesome treat. (If you’ve never had, don’t knock it: The Oreos all but liquefy when they get deep fried, so it’s like eating a fried ball of melty chocolate sprinkled with powdered sugar. Seriously delicious.)
- Drive-in movies. Somehow, Fort Wayne is positioned near not one but TWO drive-in theaters: The Huntington Drive-in and the Auburn-Garret Drive In. It’s the single best way to spend a summer Saturday evening. Bring some blankets, a few bucks for a hot pretzel and a soda, and snuggle in for two awesome movies.
- The patio at Country Heritage Winery. OK, I only have experienced Country Heritage’s patio once, and it was this year, but I can already tell it will be a favorite summer spot. In addition to the tasty wine—and killer wine slushies (yes, they’re as good as you’re imagining)—the landscaping is gorgeous. It’s hard to find an outdoor spot in Fort Wayne and surrounding areas that don’t face a parking lot, and sipping a class of vino with the vineyards to the side and silos far in the distance is pretty spectacular.
- The Deck. Frankly, it’s not summer until I get my first Deck outing. It’s a great after-work dinner spot with coworkers and an awesome lunchtime hangout.
- Buskerfest. It’s one of Fort Wayne’s newer festivals, and over the years, it’s been held in different spaces, sometimes with the Taste of the Arts, sometimes solo. But I call it the city’s best, and possibly least-known, festival. A busker is a street performer, and at Buskerfest, musicians, stilt-walkers, dancers, jugglers and more abound. Some give performances, some just take their accordions and set up shop in the most comfy spot they can find. (This year’s the fifth anniversary, from 4 to 10 p.m. June 28 at Wayne and Calhoun streets.)
Alrighty, Ivy Tech and Fort Wayne community: What are your favorite summertime traditions in town?