Looking for a unique way to explore Wabash? Try Trolley No. 85

If you ask Jennifer Long-Dillon, Visit Wabash County, isn’t your average, old school tourism bureau, focused only on answering phones and passing out brochures. 

Instead, as Tourism Manager for the team, she says the group is dedicated to creating enriching programming for visitors of all ages. One way they do that is through the charming mahogany-trimmed Trolley No. 85, which offers a robust lineup of programming through monthly experiences, tours, and events.

Trolley No. 85 offers a robust lineup of programming through monthly experiences, tours, and events in Wabash County.
Trolley No. 85 is a unique 34-passenger and ADA-compliant vehicle available for private and public tours, special event shuttle services, and more. It features bench-style seating, a politician’s platform, and offers year-round tours of the area, showcasing Wabash County’s attention to maintaining and spotlighting its historic architecture and its commitment to downtown revitalization. 

Visit Wabash County Marketing Strategist Haley Renbarger says the mission of the organization is to serve as a leader in tourism and economic development, and to use creative marketing tactics to showcase the community. What better way to get a unique vantage point of the public murals, cute boutiques, charming antique shops, specialty lodging, and theaters, than Trolley No. 85? 
Trolley No. 85 offers a robust lineup of programming through monthly experiences, tours, and events in Wabash County.
Demand for the trolley is growing, too. After acquiring a used 22-passenger trolley in 2014, the County quickly outgrew the initial vehicle. In 2019, a partnership with the City of Wabash led to an investment in a new trolley. 

“We chose an American, female-owned company in Wisconsin to help us create a one-of-a-kind ‘Visit Wabash County’ Trolley No.85,” Long-Dillon says. “After a year of designing and working with Hometown Trolley, No.85 was hand delivered to Wabash.”

Long-Dillon says the trolley’s beautiful condition is maintained via a partnership with the City of Wabash Street Department. Since 2019, the trolley has led passengers, both tourists and locals alike, on adventures to historic locations and iconic landmarks.

“Trolley No. 85 runs free for festivals and First Friday celebrations within Wabash County,” Renbarger says. “It’s also available for private use, weddings, reunions, bachelorette parties, private guided tours and more. Each year, our tourism team creates a fresh lineup of guided tours, featuring everything from historic fun to family-friendly farm tours. There is always something for everyone.”

A varied tour lineup each year means passengers get unique experiences each time. 

Trolley No. 85 offers a robust lineup of programming through monthly experiences, tours, and events in Wabash County.
“The focus is always around education and hands-on experiences,” Long-Dillon says. “The tours range from historic homes and buildings to waterfall-chasing and eagle-watching. We offer historical tours of different towns throughout Wabash County as a way to share our story through cultural tourism.”

May’s trolley tour had a waterfall theme, and local resident and avid hiker, Adam Stakeman, acted as a tour guide. The outing included refreshments, information, short hikes and visits to private and public waterfalls in and around Wabash. Among the riders, Stakeman says there were local residents, Manchester residents, and even visitors from New York City. 

“I think it’s a surprise for people to realize what Wabash has to offer, especially in terms of the trolley,” he says. “We had a great time, and we were probably gone for about 4 hours. It’s amazing how quickly the time goes when you’re having a good time and seeing the new sights.” 

Kids-specific tours include the first-ever interactive and immersive Kids Farm Tour, on July 16, which is sold-out. Passengers are invited to hold and pet furry friends at Animal Grams. They’ll also be shown how to milk a jersey cow, tour Penrod’s Dairy Farm, and go on a hayride. 

Trolley No. 85 offers a robust lineup of programming through monthly experiences, tours, and events in Wabash County.
The September 24 trolley tour has a wildflower theme, inviting passengers on a trail of some of the most beautiful wildflower cosmos, zinnias, and sunflower gardens in Indiana. There will be refreshments, plenty of photo opportunities, and a DIY wildflower keepsake. Tickets go on sale Aug. 23.

In October, there are two separate trolley tours to enjoy. First, Oct. 21 is the Boos and Brews Tour, which invites 21+ attendees to enjoy haunting tales of Wabash County on a pub-crawl. Tickets go on sale Sept. 20. Then Oct. 22 is the Fright Night Tour, a spooky mix of history and old folklore. Tickets go on sale Sept 27. 

If spooky season isn’t your favorite holiday, then perhaps the Dec. 10 Jolly Trolley is more your style? The popular family tradition invites passengers to spend time with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a puppet show by Wabash Carnegie Library, and a hot cocoa bar. Tickets go on sale Nov. 1. For more information on these tours, visit the trolley tour website. 

Trolley No. 85 offers a robust lineup of programming through monthly experiences, tours, and events in Wabash County.
Local nonprofits are also invited to book trolley tours, and are provided a discounted rate. Corporate events, special events, and private party reservations are also available. Long-Dillon says they frequently get requests from interested parties to create custom tours just for their group, which they are happy to do.

Wabash is the focus of a Partner City series in Input Fort Wayne underwritten by Visit Wabash County and Honeywell Arts & Entertainment. This series will capture the story of talent, creativity, investment, innovation, and emerging assets shaping the future of Wabash County, about an hour Southwest of Fort Wayne.