1. The Embassy Theatre Will Rock Your Socks Off
Originally designed as a movie palace when it was constructed in 1928, the historic Embassy Theatre now serves as the venue for concert tours, Broadway musicals, dance, community events and lectures, and it often hosts the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra. With almost 500 performances a year, they’ve got something for classical music, Broadway or dance nut in all of us.
2. The Best Part Of The Three Rivers Festival Just Might Be The Bed Race
There’s no shortage of water in Fort Wayne. Sitting at the confluence of three major rivers comes with a lot perks, one of those being the nine-day long Three Rivers Festival.
But forget about the parade, the crafts and the fireworks—you need to check out the bed race. Seriously, they stick wheels on beds, and then they race them. And it’s amazing.
3. Nobody Does Ribs Better Than Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne loves BBQ like Justin Beiber loves shirtless selfies and crappy tattoos: way more than is probably natural.
But when it’s made this well the only thing you can do is throw a festival and hop on for the ride! BBQ RibFest happens every year during the summer and award winning teams from across the country cook up over 20 tons of BBQ. Don’t forget your bibs!
4. Detroit’s Coney’s Can’t Compete With Ours
It may just be a hot dog stand, but it’s the best little hot dog stand north of the Mason Dixon. With just the perfect amount of onions and a touch of chili, the dogs at Coney Island Weiner Stand come with steamed buns and will definitely hit all of the right spots. There’s a reason it’s been able to hang around for a hundred years.
5. Some Of The Best Entertainers Don’t Make A Sound
What’s a busker, you ask? A street performer, of course! Every year in June mimes and stilt walkers take over the streets to entrain the masses during BuskerFest. The kids can get their face painted then try and help those poor mimes figure out a way to get out of that box.
6. It Was Home To The Woman Who Inspired One Of The Best Movies Ever
“There’s no crying in baseball!” You remember where that line came from, right? Who doesn’t love “A League of Their Own”?
Well, it just so happens that the woman who inspired the movie, Dottie Wiltse Collins, used to call this place home. She didn’t actually play for the Rockford Peaches, but she most definitely was a Fort Wayne Daisy.
7. This City Minors In Every Sport Imaginable
They may not have any major league sports teams, but Fort Wayne was voted the best place in the country for the minor leagues. Locals flock to watch the Komets and the Mad Ants every season.
8. But The TinCaps Are Looking To Go Pro Any Day Now
And if that wasn’t enough to tip you off, you’ll quickly learn that Fort Wayne is in love with baseball. The first professional baseball game was played here back in 1847. Today they’re home to the TinCaps. Their games fill up quickly, so make sure to get there early to see what they’re all about.
9. People From Fort Wayne Celebrate German Culture Because It’s Their Heritage, But The Beer Doesn’t Hurt
Imagine Oktoberfest, only family friendly, and you’ve got Fort Wayne’s GermanFest. It’s a celebration of the city’s German heritage with great beer, good food and tons of Weiner schnitzels for the whole family.
10. Fort Wayne’s Enthusiasm For Teaching Children The Arts Is FAMEous
The Foundation for Art and Music in Education opened with the primary goal of developing artistic creativity in every child. What better way to do that than hold a festival with music, dancing and art? The annual Northeast Festival hosts over 70 organizations and schools each year and is an engaging and educational part of the community.
11. Shigs In Pit Tastes So Much Better Than The Name Implies
The BBQ in this joint may be top-notch, but it’s the sides that are to die for. Be sure to stop by and grab yourself some burnt ends with a helping of apple pie baked beans and green chile mac n’ cheese. It’s the perfect combination of sweet n’ spicy in one delicious meal.
12. People From Fort Wayne Know That Music Venues Are Better When They’re Open Air
The only way seeing a play or concert could be any better is seeing it in the open air. The Foellinger Theatre in Franke Park has been around for over sixty years and is home to performances throughout most of the year. It has over 2,000 available seats, but you can easily set up a blanket and have a picnic in the park while you listen to some beats.
13. They’ll Wine And Dine And Put On A Show For You All In One Place
If you’re more into seeing “Death of a Salesman” than Death Cab for Cutie, Fort Wayne has you covered. They’ll even provide you with food, too! The Arena Dinner Theatre is a non-profit community arts corporation that shows seven full-length theatrical productions a year. It’s almost like eating a TV dinner at home, but live and with better food.
14. Try Not To Confuse This Historic Fort With That Other One–They Just Stole The Name
Not to be confused with the Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit, the Historic Old Fort that this city was named after is located where all the rivers meet. It’s only a replica, since the original was destroyed, but it’s a fantastic place to go to experience life in the 1700 and 1800s in Fort Wayne.
15. The Richardville House Keeps Native History Alive
Fort Wayne has a rich history of Native American culture. The Richardville House pays tribute to that by preserving the home of the chief of the Miami people of the early 1800s. Not only is it the oldest Native American structure in the U.S., but it’s also the only surviving national Treaty House and the first Greek Revival house in Indiana.
16. And People From Fort Wayne Definitely Love Modern Art
If you’re tired of Michelangelo and Rembrandt and are looking for art that’s a little more modern, Artlink might be the place for you. They’re located at the Auer Center for Arts and love giving new talent a platform to showcase their work. The galleries shift every few weeks, so there’s always something new to see!
17. Fort Wayne’s Kids Are Gearing Up To Rule The World
Fort Wayne is as dedicated to teaching kids about science as they are the arts. The interactive Science Central provides programs and even birthday parties to help kids learn about the medical, astrological, biological and other sciences.
Wouldn’t it be great to raise the next Doogie Houser?
18. And The Karpeles Library Is Helping Them Get There
Not only does Fort Wayne love science, but they love old historical manuscripts, as well. There are only twelve Karpeles Manuscript Libraries in the U.S. and Fort Wayne is home to one of them. The Karpeles Library is home to the oldest collection of manuscripts and documents in the country. The exhibits change often, and contain works from all over the world.
19. Fort Wayne Locals Have Fitness On Lockdown
Fort Wayne is a great city for fitness addicts. Unleash your inner Ahnold at Fort4Fitness. There are several events to help you get your sweat on from a half marathon, a 10K run or a spring cycling race.
20. When You’re Looking For A Fancy Drink, Club Soda’s Got You Covered
If you’re looking for a sophisticated place to unwind in Fort Wayne you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Club Soda. This upscale restaurant is the perfect place to go to enjoy a well-cooked filet mignon. Just make sure you wash it down with one of their delicious martinis.
21. Fort Wayne Residents Like To Bend It Like Beckham
Baseball may be the sport that started here, but it’s certainly not the only one Fort Wayne is great at. The Shindigz National Soccer Festival is a yearly event that brings in some of the best collegiate teams from all over the nation. In addition to a pretty kick-butt tournament, the festival includes youth clinics, tailgating parties and beer tents.
22. Fort Wayne’s Folk Heroes Are More Iconic Than Yours
Johnny Appleseed was laid to rest in Fort Wayne and to honor his contribution to its bountiful orchards, this city throws him a festival every year. There are food booths, crafts and demonstrations all exploring the history of the man born as John Chapman.
23. Like The Rest Of The State, People Here Are Obsessed With The Holidays
Fort Wayne takes the holidays to a new level. Most people display fireworks on the Fourth of July, but here they set them off in the middle of November. The Night of Lights kicks off the annual HolidayFest. It lasts through January with events like gingerbread house showcases, Christmas tree light displays and festival of trains for the children.
24. Don’t You Worry, There Are Plenty Of Exotic Animals To Pet
You and the kids will be able to experience the world all from the comfort of Fort Wayne. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo was named one of the top ten zoos in the country by “Parents Magazine.” The young’uns can hop with the kangaroos or even get to feed a giraffe.
25. You’ll Have to Become An Excellent Fisherman If You Plan On Catching Any Here
With all the water in and around this city you’ll become a world-class fisherman in no time. Hurshtown Reservoir is jam-packed with locals looking to catch a smallmouth bass or catfish. You might have to compete with the Amish, though; they’re pretty skilled at it.
26. A Peaceful Day Is Just A Short Drive Away
Speaking of the Amish, they’re going to be your new neighbors. A few miles up the road lies Grabill Amish Community, the land of horse-drawn wagons and candle-lit lanterns. They even hold a fair so you can check out all the amazing ways they get by without technology in a world that’s practically ruled by it.
27. The Religious People Here Are More Religious Than Yours
Unofficially nicknamed the City of Churches, Fort Wayne is home to one of the highest concentration of religious folks in the nation. And religious folks love them some churches; there are over 360 of them in the city. Praise Jesus! Or Buddha. Whomever, really, just praise somebody!
28. The Military Left A Lot Of Great Remnants Lying Around
Fort Wayne is the home of the 122 Fighter Wing Indiana National Guard. You can still see all of the aircraft flown there at the Baer Field Heritage Air Park next to the airport. There’s a ton of rich history and you might discover your inner pilot while you’re there.
29. Fort Wayne’s Schools Have Teamed Up To Beat All Other Schools
Fort Wayne is so awesome that they managed to wrangle two top-rated universities for the price of one. Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (try saying that one five times fast) is a bridge campus for students from both universities. It’s two separate schools with all of the benefits, in one place.
30. This Little City Is More Diverse Than Yours
Would it surprise you to know that a city in Indiana is one the most statistically diverse in the nation? Well, prepare to be amazed because Fort Wayne currently has the largest Burmese population outside of Burma, itself. But if that weren’t enough, over six percent of the residents of Fort Wayne were born outside of the U.S. How ‘bout dem apples?
What do you love about living in Fort Wayne? Tell us in the comments below!