As Fort Wayne grows, so does the list of free events you can attend Downtown each summer.
Here's a quick roundup of 13 events to enjoy with your family and friends in 2022.
Downtown Fort Wayne is home to many free events, like the annual Downtown Sidewalk Sale August 13-14, 2022.
1. Lunch on the Square
Every summer Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Freimann Square transforms into a food truck park with live music and booths featuring local organizations and events.
Grab your coworkers at the office, or swing by with family and friends to enjoy a waterside lunch in the sunshine by Freimann's beautiful fountains.
Save room for dessert! Fort Wayne's food truck scene has plenty of sweet options you'll want to explore.
Every Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Freimann Square transforms into a food truck park for Lunch on the Square.
2. Downtown Live!
Need Friday night plans? From 6-8 p.m. every Friday in June, July, and August, there's a free, live, outdoor concert on The Landing in Downtown Fort Wayne, courtesy of Downtown Live!
by TriCore Logic and Downtown Fort Wayne.
The Landing is one of Fort Wayne's newest cultural districts steps away from the riverfront Promenade Park. And since it's home to some of Fort Wayne's finest shopping and dining spots, you're likely to find a smorgasbord of entertainment for the entire family.
On the first Friday of every month from May to October, The Landing hosts an extra special celebration for its local businesses and culture called First Fridays on The Landing
. Along with live music, it has a beer tent provided by Landing Beer Co, and a local vendor market.
From 6-8 p.m. every Friday in June, July, and August, there's a free, live, outdoor concert on The Landing courtesy of Downtown Live!
3. Rock the Plaza
If Friday nights aren't enough, you can catch free, live concerts every Saturday night from June through August, starting at 6 p.m. on the plaza outside the Allen County Public Library's Main Branch. These free concerts feature some of the region's hottest musical acts, and attendees are encouraged to BYO blanket, chair, and food.
Bring some cash to purchase pizza and beverages from 816 Pint & Slice, who will be slingin' pizza on the plaza all night long.
Rock the Plaza takes place every Saturday night from June through August, starting at 6 p.m. on the plaza outside the Allen County Public Library's Main Branch.
4. Three Rivers Festival
The 53rd Annual Three Rivers Festival
is back this year July 8 -16, featuring a week full of art, music, carnival rides, contests, and more. Kickoff the week right at the iconic Three Rivers Festival Parade, and be sure to explore all that this eight-day, citywide celebration has to offer, including the return of the dangerously delicious Junk Food Alley, where you can find such delicacies as elephant ears, funnel cakes, and fried Oreos. What will they think to fry next?
While there are many amazing events and foods to sample throughout the festival, we recommend strolling the Chalk Walk outside the Fort Wayne Museum of Art to get a taste of Fort Wayne's creative flair. And don't forget to grab a Lemon Shakeup at Junk Food Alley to beat the heat!
Regional artists decorate Main Street for the Three Rivers Festival's Chalk Walk.
5. Taste of the Arts
If you're looking to add some local art to your collection or experience the cultural flair of Fort Wayne's creative community, the annual Taste of the Arts Festival on August 27 is the perfect place to do it. This festival spans the Downtown Arts Campus, The Landing, Rousseau Plaza, and Promenade Park, offering patrons a variety of visual arts experiences, an expansive outdoor art market by ArtLink, and food from many local restaurants.
From August 21-30, Select local restaurants are extending the Taste of the Arts experience with the addition of Taste à la cARTe items to their menus. These special menu items include creative art-themed cocktails, limited-time appetizers, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Be sure to grab a Diner’s Taste à la cARTe Passport and visit participating restaurants for your chance to win a Passport to the Arts prize package valued at more than $1,000.
6. Arab Fest
On Saturday, June 4 from noon-7 p.m., and Sunday, June 5 from noon-5 p.m. at Headwaters Park's Rothschild Pavilion, you can enjoy Arab culture and foods, like kabobs, falafel, hummus, and pita bread, as well as camel rides. Arab Fest
is a family-friendly event, designed to introduce Fort Wayne's community to Arab culture, dress, stories, and music.
Bring $10 if you want to experience a camel ride!
7. Greek Fest
Get your polka on! The 42nd Greek Fest
takes place June 23-26 this year at Headwaters Park with an additional day of festivities. Make extra room in your schedule to take part in traditional food and dance. Attending the festival is free from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. OPA!
8. Rib Fest
You can almost smell those ribs at Headwaters Park! The 25th Annual BBQ Rib Fest
June 16-June 19 is set to be a tasty one. With the competition at an all-time high, you can observe the various contenders and watch as they represent their own sauces and rib cooking styles. Rib Fest is free until 5:30 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday.
9. YLNI Farmers Market
Every Saturday morning from May to September, the YLNI Farmers Market
is the most popular place to be. Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the market features live music and vendors from across the regional community, selling homemade products, crafts, and freshly harvested produce and flowers. Do some of your weekly grocery shopping, or just take a stroll through the historic Barr Street Market (Fort Wayne's oldest public market space), and see what local makers are creating. The vibrant community spirit at the farmers market is contagious!
A new event called Brunch on Barr
sets up shop next to the YLNI Farmers Market, offering access to many local food trucks serving brunch specialties, including drinks like mimosas and Bloody Marys you can carry with you as you browse the outdoor market Downtown. Cheers!
Dan and Wendy Flotow sell their organic products from a prime spot at the YLNI Market.
10. Muddy River Concert Series
On select Wednesday nights from June through August, Promenade Park hosts the Muddy River Concert Series
in Fort Wayne's popular riverfront around the themes of heritage, culture, and connection. Each night, two bands will perform along the banks of the St. Marys, with sets starting at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Food trucks and beverages will be on site at 5 p.m.
11. River, Set, Go!
Have you ever seen a Chinese Dragon Boat Race? River, Set, Go!
on August 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. is your chance experience this colorful contest where boats of 21-member crews paddle as fast as they can down the St. Marys to the sound of the beating drum. In addition to the races, you can enjoy floating yoga and a paddle parade in the evening, with a floating fire pit finale to cap it all off. Grab some space along the riverbanks, and take it all in!
12. Open Streets
If you've ever wondered what cities would be like without cars, Open Streets is the festival for you! For one day, on August 7, the streets of Downtown Fort Wayne from Promenade Park on Harrison Street, down to The Landing, and then stretching all the way down Calhoun to Pontiac will be filled with family-friendly activities to experience on heels or bike wheels.
Decorate your bike for the occasion and enter the annual Bike Decoration Contest and Parade to start the car-free day off right.
Bicycle Friendly Fort Wayne and FWPD Bike Patrol taught bike handling skills at Open Streets.
13. Downtown Sidewalk Sale
In recent years, Downtown Fort Wayne has become home to many unique, local shops and boutiques. You can explore what many of these small businesses have to offer at the annual Downtown Sidewalk Sale on August 13-14. Plus, snag special discounts on products that benefit the local economy.
The annual Downtown Sidewalk Sale takes place August 13-14, 2022.
This story is made possible by underwriting from Downtown Fort Wayne.