Christmas Traditions Begin in Fort Wayne | Fun

It’s almost Thanksgiving and there’s definitely a chill in the air, which can only mean that the town’s holiday traditions are about to begin.

Events include the lighting of the classic light show of Santa and his reindeer during the Night of Lights downtown, a gingerbread celebration, zoo fun, reindeer tours, special concerts, and ice skating.

Here are some of the things that are happening in the coming weeks.

Christmas on Broadway

This is the 18th year of festivities at Broadway Plaza, on Broadway and Park Avenue.

The event, which begins today at 5.30pm, features a parade down Broadway from Creighton Avenue to the Park where the tree will be lit at 6pm. There will also be fireworks.

Christmas Garden

The festive exhibition of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory opens on Saturday. This year’s theme is “Happy Smallidays”, with the story of Mickey Mouse. Written by Talitha Shipman, the story urges people to see the joy in the little things during the Christmas season.

The exhibition will last until 8 January. Shipman will be signing the books from 2-5pm on Saturday and 11am-1pm on 17 December.

The reindeer will visit the conservatory from noon to 4pm on 3rd, 10th and 17th December.

Extended hours are 10am to 5pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; 10:00-20:00 Thursday and Friday from November 25th to December 23rd; and Sundays from noon to 4pm. The conservatory is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Admission is $7 adults and $5 children, with admission free for children 2 and under. Admission is $1 from 5-8pm every Thursday and Friday between November 25 and December 23. There’s also $1 admission from 5-8pm Wednesdays during Night of Lights.

For more information, including details of special events, visit

Springs ice skating

The outdoor rink at Headwaters Park, 333 S. Clinton St., opens its 20th season on Saturday at noon. Admission is $6 for adults and children 14 and older, and $4 for children 13 and younger. Skate rental is $3.

For times and more information, including kids skate free days, visit

Light fantasy

Blue Jacket’s Fantasy of Lights opens Sunday at Franke Park. The drive-thru holiday light show at 3411 Sherman Blvd. opens at 5:30am daily through December 31st. Closes at 9.00pm Sunday to Thursday and 10.00pm Friday and Saturday.

Admission is $10 per personal vehicle, $20 per 15-passenger van, and $40 per bus or trolley.

For more information, including details on themed nights, visit

The Fort4Fitness Winter Wonder Dash 2K Family Walk is today at 6pm at Fantasy of Lights and the 5K walk/run is at 6pm Saturday. Register at

Night of lights

Downtown’s annual holiday display lighting begins Wednesday at 5:45 pm with the Historic Downtown turret on Barr Street.

Afterwards, Kris Kringle Village will be illuminated at the Arts United Plaza at 5.50pm, followed by the Christ Child Festival nativity scene at the west end of the Aunt Millie building at 5.55pm and the Aunt Millie Lights at 6.00pm.

At 6:05 pm, Santa’s Workshop will be lit at the Community Center. Santa and his reindeer will light up at PNC Bank at 6.20pm

The Ash Brokerage Building illuminations will turn into Christmas colors at 6:40pm. At 7:00 pm, the Merry Christmas Wreath at the I&M Power Center Plaza and the Christmas Tree display at Flagstar Bank will be lit. The open-air exhibitions of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory and the Embassy Theater are revealed at 7.15pm

Downtown churches and the Allen County Public Library will ring their bells at 7:30 p.m., followed by fireworks over Parkview Field at 8 p.m.

For maps and related activities, go to

Tree Festival

The Embassy Theater Festival of Trees opens Wednesday through November 30 with dozens of trees decorated in the lobbies of the theater, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd. and Indiana Hotel.

This is the event’s 38th year, serving as a fundraiser for the theatre. It is open from 18:00 to 21:00 on Wednesdays, from 15:00 to 19:00 on Thursdays, from 11:00 to 20:00 from 25 to 28 November and from 9:00 to 13:00 on 29 and 30 November.

Admission is $10 for adults and children 13 and older, $5 for children 12 and younger, and free for children under 1. Tickets are available at the Embassy ticket office and on

Entertainment in the theater includes a screening of the 2018 animated film “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” Thursdays at 4:00pm. Local music and dance groups will perform on stage at scheduled times.

For a lineup of theater artists and other events, go to

Gingerbread party

The Gingerbread Festival opens November 25 at the History Center, 302 E. Berry St. It runs through December 18 with dozens of gingerbread creations on display.

Admission, which includes access to the entire museum, is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and students, and free for children 2 and younger. Admission is $3 3-9pm Thursdays for Night of Lights; advance tickets are required. Admission is free from 17:00 to 21:00 on 29 November; advance tickets are required.

Historic Center’s extended hours for the festival are 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, 9am to 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and midday to 5pm on Sundays. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day.

A “Virtual Gingerbread Tour” video will also be available. For more information on special events like crafting and cookie decorating, and to purchase tickets, visit There is an additional cost for some special events.

Holiday pops

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s Holiday Pops Series begins at 7:30pm on November 29 in Warsaw. Other shows in the region are at 2:00pm on December 11 at Trine University’s T. Furth Center for Performing Arts in Angola and at 7:30pm on December 20 at the Honeywell Center in Wabash.

The orchestra will perform its Holiday Pops at the Embassy Theater at 7.30pm on December 9, 10 and 17 and at 2.00pm on December 10 and 18.

There is also a “Messiah by Candlelight” performance at 7:30 pm on December 16 at the Auer Performance Hall at Purdue University in Fort Wayne.

For admission and schedule details for each of the shows, go to

Wild Zoo Wonderland

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo opens its Wild Zoo Wonderland on December 2.

Visitors can meet Santa Claus; decorate cookies and play; see Reef, Stingray Bay, Indiana Family Farm and Central Zoo loop; and take a free train ride on the ZO & O. Railroad.

Hours are 10am to 3pm on 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 December.

Admission is free for zoo members, $8 for ages 13 and up, $6 for ages 2 to 12, and free for children under 2. The zoo is located at 3411 Sherman Blvd.

For more information, including a schedule for story times and when visitors can feed stingrays and goats, go to

‘The Nutcracker’

The Fort Wayne Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” opens December 2 at the Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St. Performances are at 7:30 pm on December 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10, and at 2:00 pm on December 3, 4, 10 and 11. Opening weekend performances include live music from the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.

Opening weekend tickets are $55 adults and $45 children. Admission to shows without the Philharmonic is $45 adults and $35 children.

Do some holiday shopping at Arts United Center Plaza with Ballet’s Kris Kringle Village. Find hours and supplier details at

“Spirit of Christmas”

Heartland Sings’ annual “The Spirit of Christmas” concerts will be held at 7:30 pm on December 16 and 3:00 pm on December 17 and 18 under the Allen County Courthouse rotunda.

Performances include Christmas carols and newly composed holiday tunes by founding artistic director Robert Nance.

Admission is $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For tickets and more information, go to

In the area

• New Haven’s holiday homecoming is November 25 with a parade of lights starting at 5:30 pm on Broadway. Santa arrives around 6pm to light up downtown. For more information, visit

• The reindeer will visit Jefferson Pointe from 5-7pm every Saturday from November 26th to December 17th. They will be near the White House Black Market and Loft in the shopping plaza at 1430 W. Jefferson Blvd. The reindeer will also be at Jefferson Pointe from noon to 2pm on Christmas Eve.

• Christmas at the Village will be December 2 in downtown Albion. The Christmas Lights Parade, themed ‘Christmas Movies’, starts at 6.00pm For more information, go to

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