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Fort Wayne Spices Up Holiday Events

2014 Embassy window displays give a hint of what to hope for this year.

Photo credit: Courtesy of 4Ever Photography and the Embassy Theatre

2014 Embassy window displays give a hint of what to hope for this year.
Written by: Communicator StaffNovember 11, 2015

Local Businesses Contend for Cheeriest Holiday Display

The Downtown Holiday Window Decorating Contest is a new addition this year to the holiday events held by the Downtown Improvement District. On Nov. 25, various downtown businesses participating in the the contest will display their windows to be voted on by the public for their favorite window.

Megan Butler, event manager for the Downtown Improvement District and former IPFW student, created the contest. She spent time talking to older Fort Wayne residents and found that they missed the “magic” of retail stores downtown decorating their windows for the holidays.

So, Butler resurrected the “magic” by creating the contest. This year’s theme is “Yesteryear,” or interpretations of old time holiday celebrations according to Butler.

“Downtown is everyone’s shared neighborhood,” said Butler in a telephone interview.

Butler hopes the Holiday Window Decorating Contest starts a new holiday tradition to make Downtown more welcoming for the holidays.

Butler’s original goal was to have 15 businesses participate, but already 24 want to compete in the inaugural year of the contest.

The Embassy has had their own animated holiday window decorations since 2003 and is offering expert advice for any businesses participating in the contest, according to Barb Richards, Marketing Director forthetheatre.

Emily Stuck, Group Sales Assistant for Visit Fort Wayne and another IPFW Alumna, is excited to participate as part of Visit Fort Wayne in both the Window Decorating Contest and the Holly Trolley event.

“What makes the Downtown Improvement District’s Downtown Holiday Window Decorating Contest so great is that all of the downtown businesses and venues are coming together to celebrate and decorate for the holidays [with] residents and visitors alike,” Stuck said.

Visit Fort Wayne, which has the mission of bringing in tourism and money to support the city, is enjoying this chance to do something for the city residents directly, according to Stuck. Their staff is collaborating to invent a great holiday window display and they have 15 windows to work with:

“Each one will be slightly different, but all will relate to one another,” said Stuck.

To vote for the Downtown Holiday Window Decorating Contest ‘like’ the images of the windows on the Downtown Improvement District’s Facebook page.

Holly Trolley Makes Shopping Stress-free

Holly Trolley a local holiday shopping excursion on Nov. 25, aims to remedy Black Friday’s long lines, hurried activity and ordinary items. It provides a stress free time to enjoy the charm of local stores and unique goods without the hassle of driving, said Megan Butler from the Downtown Improvement District.

Holly Trolley takes place on Small Business Saturday, a national event promoted by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and originally started by American Express credit card company according to the AmericanExpress. com. Butler hopes that Holly Trolley will become a fun family event and give people a chance to explore the city. It’s three interconnecting routes allow it to showcase more of the city than before.

C.M. Sloan and Sons Funeral Home at 1327 Wells St. is offering free coffee and cocoa. Jeff Crawford, the manager, of the funeral home said they hope to provide people with a non-threatening situation for questions to the staff. They plan to grief brochures, as well. Crawford said the Well St. Corridor is a close knit community and they wish to support their neighbors as well.

Friends of the Third World Gift Shop is located at 611 W. Wayne St. for the Holly Trolley’s West Main St. Route. Friends of the Third World Gift Shop is a nonprofit organization that carries fair trade goods.

Marian Waltz, an employee with the shop, said that the first Holly Trolley day gave the Gift Shop the highest sales in their 43 years of existence. Waltz said they are looking for long term volunteers for their shop. For Holly Trolley, they intend to supply refreshments.

On the third route, at Artlink, there will be the Foxy Ladies Art Posse, which is a group of local artisans displaying their various crafts.

Laura Brandenburg, a member who makes stoneware, said the group is composed of friends who wanted a show for their wares during the holidays. Brandenburg also said the Holly Trolley gives people a chance to see and experience art they otherwise would not have access to; since the Posse is at Artlink Gallery the art show will be open for all those who come to view it.

Night of Lights Illuminates Spirit of the City

Night of Lights, the third event Wells Fargo Bank, Indiana Michigan

in those sponsored by the Downtown Improvement District, will coincide with the reveal of the Downtown Holiday Window Decorating Contest displays on Nov. 25. The event is a tradition for many Fort Wayne residents and it features specific times for the lighting of each display. Locations include: the History Center, University of Saint Francis Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center, Aunt Millie, Community Center, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Indiana Michigan Power, Botanical Conservatory, Embassy Theatre, and Parkview Field. There will be appearances by: Mayor Tom Henry, the Northrop Show Choir, and other guests. After the lighting program, there will be other events in the downtown area such as Cocoa and Carols at the Courthouse. The light displays will remain lit throughout the holiday season to keep the festive mood downtown.