12 Holiday Events in Fort Wayne this December
This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Fort Wayne Real Producers.
Aside from the colder temperatures, the biggest herald of the holiday season is the traditional Fort Wayne HolidayFest featuring the Night of Lights. Held the day before Thanksgiving, it can be easy to miss, and some may not be feeling the Christmas spirit quite yet.
Don’t worry—there are plenty of other festive events happening in December. Here are 12 seasonal celebrations to help you find get into the holiday groove.
Blue Jacket’s Fantasy of Lights: Franke Park
Missed the official lighting ceremony? Don’t sweat it, you can drive through the two-miles of over 316 illuminated displays any day of the week through December 31st—and it’s for a good cause. Proceeds will help the local nonprofit, Blue Jacket, in their mission to train and provide opportunities for the disadvantaged.
Christmas in the Castle: University of Saint Francis
Stunning all year round, the historic Brookside (formerly known as Bass mansion) takes on new life at Christmas. Local designers and florists decorate every available space on three floors with garland, lights, tinsel, wreaths, and trees galore. There’s something to see around every corner, but you better hurry, the last day of tours is December 4th.
“Victorian Christmas” Holiday Exhibit: Botanical Conservatory
Travel back in time to before the turn of the century at the Foellinger-Freimann Conservatory. Old-fashioned candles, lamps, carolers, and handmade decor evoke the sights and sounds of the Victorian Era, while vintage postcards provide a portal to the past. The exhibit runs through January 6th, so there’s plenty of time for photo ops.
Santa Train: Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
Nothing says Christmas like Santa! Even better on a vintage diesel locomotive and a cup of hot chocolate. Be sure to check out Santa’s railroad workshop before the last train runs on December 16th.
Festival of Gingerbread: History Center
The spicy smell of gingerbread and whimsical winter scenes fill a large room at the History Center through December 9th. Designed by everyone from young elementary students to culinary artists, the gingerbread creations (over 100) are sure to capture the imagination.
Walk to Bethlehem: First Christian Church
Experience live nativity scenes December 8th & 9th with a 20 minute journey starting outside the church. Presented as a gift to the community, the public is invited to join members, friends, and neighbors in celebrating the birth of baby Jesus.
If you enjoy this classic holiday staple, you have a couple variations to choose from. On December 4th, the Moscow Ballet is in town for one night only to perform the Great Russian Nutcracker at the Embassy Theatre. For more shows, catch the Fort Wayne Ballet’s Nutcracker at the Arts United Center from December 1st-9th. Accompanied by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, you can join the cast after weekend matinee’s for a Sugar Plum Party.
Price: $20 and up
Ice Skating: Headwaters Park
Head out to the rink with your sweetheart or the whole family for the 16th season at Headwaters Park, downtown Fort Wayne. Open through early March, kids 13 and under skate free every Wednesday.
Price: $3-$5, Skate Rental: $2
Settlers’ Christmas “At Home” with the Swinney Sisters: Historic Swinney Homestead
Celebrate the historical spirit of Christmas at the Swinney Homestead. The beautiful brick building will be decorated in Victorian grandeur on December 7th, where you can enjoy unique refreshments like syllabub (an English sweet frothy drink), tasty savories, and more sweets. This is a fundraising event to help support maintenance and restoration of the building.
Christmas at the Embassy Theatre
There is no shortage of holiday themed performances at the Fort Wayne Embassy Theatre. Catch Mannheim Steamroller on December 1st, Holiday Pops 7th-15th, Christmas Wonderland on the 12th, Christmas Wonderland Holiday Spectacular on December 17th, and An Irish Christmas on the 18th.
Biscuits with Santa: Rub A Dub Dub Dog Grooming and Spa
This year marks the 5th annual event where your furry friend can enjoy a biscuit while meeting Santa and posing for a photo. Dog owners and children are invited to share in the fun, shop special sales, and snack on human refreshments too.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party: The Clyde
Newly reopened this year, if you haven’t made it out to The Clyde yet, here’s the perfect opportunity: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party on December 16th. Dedicated to revitalizing jazz and swing music, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is perfect for all ages.
This list is just the tip of the ice-berg, there are always new events popping up around town, plenty of youth theatre presentations, and holiday parties. However you choose to celebrate the season, be sure to have a festive December!