Downtown Holiday Traditions

2013 HolidayFest logo

News release from the Downtown Improvement District:

Downtown Holiday Traditions

(November 7, 2013) – ‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through Fort Wayne…people are bustling just trying to stay sane. So come on Downtown there’s no better reason than to spend time with family and kick off the Season! Keeping a long tradition, the annual Night of Lights will take place November 27 making downtown a magical place with sparkling streets and heart-warming traditions.

The Night of Lights begins at 5:15 p.m. with the History Center Turret Lighting, then at 5:30 p.m. we welcome our new lighting partner with the University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center’s Holiday Wreath and Nativity Lighting. Aunt Millie’s Northern Lights and the Community Center Santa’s Workshop displays are lit next. Don’t miss classic favorites like PNC’s Santa and his Reindeer lighting at 6:15 p.m. followed by the Wells Fargo Holiday Display and Indiana Michigan Power Merry Christmas Wreath. The Botanical Conservatory displays and animated holiday windows at the Embassy Theatre capture the imagination of everyone heading to Parkview Field for fireworks at 7:45 pm. Holiday fun downtown doesn’t stop after the lighting ceremony. Warm up with Cocoa and Carols at the Allen County Courthouse or participate in activities like the Grand Wayne’s Holiday Open House, Embassy’s Festival of Trees, History Center’s Festival of Gingerbread and live reindeer at the Botanical Conservatory.

Free parking will be available at the Civic Center and Harrison Parking Garages beginning at 5 PM and the Plaza Garage at the Ed Rousseau Building (former City County Building) will be free at 5:30 PM on November 27, 2013. Gates may still be down when patrons arrive, but will be open for those who exit after 6 p.m. A special thanks to the City of Fort Wayne for this kind gesture!

HolidayFest and the Night of Lights is presented by PNC and your Downtown Improvement District and sponsored by Visit Fort Wayne, Hanning & Bean, 3 Rivers FCU, A Party Apart and MAJIC 95.1.

Downtown HolidayFest continues through the end of the year with performances, festivals, art events, Holly Trolley Shopping, and so much more. For a complete list of lighting ceremony activities as well as a comprehensive holiday calendar, visit


Night of Lights schedule 2013

Downtown’s Annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony
The Night of Lights, November 27

5:15 p.m. History Center Turret Lighting (Barr Street)
5:30 p.m. University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center Wreath and Nativity Lighting (Berry Street)
5:45 p.m. Aunt Millie’s Northern Lights (Pearl Street)
6:00 p.m. Community Center Santa’s Workshop display (Main Street)
6:15 p.m. Santa and his Reindeer at PNC with Mayor Tom Henry, Santa and special guests (Main and Calhoun Streets)
6:45 p.m. Wells Fargo Holiday Display and Indiana Michigan Power Merry Christmas Wreath (One Summit Square)
7:15 p.m. Botanical Conservatory & Embassy Theatre Window Lighting (Jefferson)
7:45 p.m. Parkview Field Fireworks (Jefferson)


Check out these special downtown activities:

Skating at Headwaters Park
330 S. Clinton Street, 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
End your night of holiday kick-off fun by skating at the Headwaters Park Ice Rink! The rink will be open for Night of Lights. Admission is $5 (ages 14 and over), $3 (ages 13 and under). Skate rental is $2. Open Thanksgiving Day 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Santa’s Workshop at the Community Center
233 W. Main Street, 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Start your downtown celebration at the Community Center with free holiday activities for the kids. There will be crafts, refreshments and a holiday movie. Donate a new or gently used bear and be entered into a drawing to win a giant elf bear. Kids can shop for inexpensive holiday gifts for $2 or less at the North Pole Stop-n-Shop, while Mom and Dad shop for handcrafted items at Candy Cane Lane. Don’t miss the light display on the Community Center roof. The lights go on at 6:00 p.m.

Aunt Millie’s Northern Lights
350 Pearl Street, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
On your way to see the Santa lighting, stop by Aunt Millie’s parking lot for free hot cider and Aunt Millie’s Muffins. Check out the “Aunt Millie’s Northern Lights” amazing holiday light display.
More information

USF’s Performing Arts Center Wreath and Nativity Lighting
431 W. Berry Street, 5:30 p.m.
Start your Night of Lights at the University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center (formerly the Scottish Rite) for the lighting of the Christ Child Festival’s Nativity and USF’s magnificent Wreath plus a beautiful Christmas surprise.

Cathedral Books & Gifts
915 S. Clinton Street, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Cathedral Books is located directly across from One Summit Square on Clinton St. very close to the wreath lighting and will be open with a special sale of 20% off everything. Don’t miss their free cookies & hot cider.

Holiday Kick-Off Party
Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun Street, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Enjoy hot chocolate and a cookie, meet Mrs. Claus, and get a free professional-quality photo with Santa. You can also meet two live reindeer that know all about the North Pole. The gardens are decorated for the holidays, and you won’t want to miss the animated light show outdoors. Be sure to participate in the Fort Wayne Downtown Lighting Ceremony either before or after your visit to our beautiful holiday garden and displays. Regular Conservatory admission fees apply: $5/adult, $3/child age 3-17. Children 2 and under are admitted free. No reservations required. For more information, call (260) 427-6440. Sponsored by PBS TV-39 and WAJI MAJIC 95.1.
More information about HolidayFest activities at the Botancial Conservatory

Wells Fargo
Wayne and Calhoun Street, 4:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
4:30 p.m. – The Northrop High School Show Choir will perform at One Summit Square, under the direction of Tom Maupin.

5:00 p.m. – Come and experience America’s most legendary vehicle – the Wells Fargo Stagecoach, on display in front of the Wells Fargo Indiana Center Building at 111 E. Wayne Street. The stagecoach display is free and open to the public through 8:30 p.m. Be sure to bring your camera for lasting memories. As a special treat, Jack-the-Dog will be around to greet you at the stagecoach.

History Center presents 28th Annual Festival of Gingerbread
302 E. Berry Street, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Explore the museum’s new exhibition gallery “Allen County Innovation” and see the gingerbread creations. The event supports and raises funds for the History Center and it’s programs. $2 tickets at the door.
More information

Santa and his Reindeer Lighting
PNC Bank, 110 W Berry, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Visit Santa to get a photo and tell him your wish list under the Santa and Reindeer display. Enjoy a free cup of hot cocoa from the Salvation Army’s cantina. Commemorative ornaments from Easter Seals Arc will be available for purchase.

Embassy Festival of Trees
Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Stay a little longer at the Embassy and enjoy the grand opening of the trees and A Party Apart’s winter carnival on the stage.

After enjoying the inside of the Embassy Theatre and Indiana Hotel lobby, travel down the sidewalk to the Animated Harrison Street windows featuring Oscar the Elf and the Christmas penguins as they tell an original holiday story.
More information about the Festival of Trees and HolidayFest activities at the Embassy

Grand Wayne Center’s Holiday Open House
120 W. Jefferson St, Open House: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Fort Wayne Youth Concert Orchestra, Youth Symphony Orchestra, visit with
Mrs. Claus, Faith in Motion Dancers, ACPL Children’s Department holiday crafts plus punch and cookies. All free and open to the public.

Holiday Fireworks and Lights of Love
Parkview Field, 1301 Ewing Street, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., fireworks at 7:45 p.m.
Cap off your night downtown with a spectacular fireworks display at Parkview Field! Enjoy the “Lights of Love” luminary display, presented by Erin’s House on your way into the ballpark. For information how you can sponsor a luminary, log on to The holiday fireworks will begin promptly at 7:45pm. Holiday beverages will be available for purchase, but admission is free!

Allen County Courthouse, 715 S. Calhoun Street, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Join us for cocoa and cookies in the rotunda of the Allen County Courthouse while enjoying Christmas Carols from the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir during the Night of Lights, Cameras and Cell Phones Welcome.

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