The warm weather this week has me dreaming about the great outdoors, and if you're looking for fun on a budget, spring and summer are some of the best times to find it in Fort Wayne.
Here are some of the ways I'm planning to make the most of the warmer weather this year without breaking the bank:
Lunch on the Square
One Summit Square, that is. Take your lunch break every Thursday from noon to 1:30 p.m. in June and July -- it moved back a half-hour this year -- and come to the corner of Wayne and Calhoun streets in downtown Fort Wayne.
The time change isn't the only fresh feature you'll notice at Lunch on the Square this year, according to Anita Homco, event coordinator for the Downtown Improvement District.
Along with a lineup of local bands and food trucks, you'll find a few shopping vendors from the Fort Wayne Farmers Market and a "DID you know?" booth featuring different non-profits every week to help you get involved in the community.
So take a break and bring the whole office. The event this year kicks off June 5, and if you ask me, it couldn't arrive quickly enough.
Here's a schedule of the Lunch on the Square performers:
- June 5, Shade & Shannon;
- June 12, Fernando Tarrango & Ken Jehle;
- June 19, The Jay Taylors;
- June 26, The Todd Harrold Band;
- July 3, Honey Badger;
- July 10, Joe Justice;
- July 17, Jug Huffers;
- July 24, Night to Remember;
- July 31, Pop 'n' Fresh;
- Aug. 7, Fringe Preview;
- Aug. 14, Scratch 'n' Sniff;
- Aug. 21, Mike Connely;
- Aug. 28, Various Performers/Bump Date.
Fort Wayne trails and parks
Whether you're packing a picnic lunch, playing Frisbee with friends or walking the dog, Fort Wayne's parks and trails are a refreshing way to unwind after a long, harsh winter. So visit the city's Parks and Recreation website, and find parks and trails near you.
If you hop on Fort Wayne's extensive Rivergreenway trail, you can even find access to Fort Wayne's rivers.
Need a bike or water sport rental? Check out Fort Wayne Outfitters at 1004 Cass St.
Or maybe you're in the mood for a calm night outdoors. Foellinger Outdoor Theatre is showing eight free, family friendly movies at 9 p.m. on Wednesday nights this summer.
Here's what's showing:
- June 25, The Nut Job;
- July 2, Frozen;
- July 9, Monsters University;
- July 16, Saving Mr. Banks;
- July 23, Mary Poppins;
- July 30, The Lego Movie;
- Aug. 6, Despicable Me 2;
- Aug. 13, The Wizard of Oz.
Garage and yard sales
Thrifting is one of my favorite things to do on a lazy weekend morning, and lots of spring garage, yard and rummage sales around town make it easy.
Of course, you have your typical neighborhood sales to watch out for as the weather gets warmer.
But one big sale coming up is the Saint Francis Student Government Association's public yard sale on April 26. "Early bird" admission (7 a.m.-8:30 a.m.) costs $2 per person, but after 8:30 a.m., it's free until it closes at 4 p.m. The sale is in the parking lot next to Trinity Hall and the dorms at 2701 Spring St.
Nothing says summer like an outdoor concert, and lucky for us, there are plenty of free concerts to enjoy local bands on a warm summer night.
Concerts on the Green at Indian Trails Park are every Wednesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. starting July 9 and lasting through mid-August, according to organizer Barbara Krisher.
Area bands set up on a concrete slab by the volleyball courts, and the public is encouraged to bring blankets and folding chairs to enjoy the music from the soccer field near the Jorgensen YMCA. The Aboite Volunteer Fire Department sells hot dogs and other concession goods, and the Three Rivers Junction playground is in close proximity for children to play.
Krisher said most of the bands play '50s and '60s rock and roll music that's enjoyable for listeners of all ages.
At the end of the week, head to Jefferson Pointe for the annual Friday Nights Live concerts by the courtyard fountain. The concerts are every Friday night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. starting June 6, and listeners are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs.
Here is the lineup for Friday Nights Live:
- June 6, Junk Yard Band;
- June 13, Goodnight Gracie;
- June 20, Sugar Shot;
- June 27, Fort Wayne Jazz Orchestra;
- July 4, No concert;
- July 11, Hubie Ashcraft and the Drive;
- July 18, BIG Caddy Daddy;
- July 25, Sierra Shame;
- Aug. 1, Urban Legend;
- Aug. 8, TY Causy;
- Aug. 15, Loudmouth Soup;
- Aug. 22, New Millennium Orchestra;
- Aug. 29, Rosemary Gates;
- Sept. 5, Todd Harrold Band.
There are many farmers markets in the Fort Wayne area, but here are a few to keep you busy most days of the week.
Historic West Main Street Farmer's Market
When: 3 to 8 p.m. Fridays from May 9 to October.
Where: 1936 W. Main St.
What: More than 50 growers of certified organic produce, locally grown produce, beef, poultry, eggs, breads, flowers and other Indiana produced farms products. The market also features art and antiques along with music and hot food vendors.
Barr Street Market
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays from May 17 to Sept. 27.
Where: The corner of Wayne and Barr streets. Free parking is available in the History Center parking lot along Berry Street. Bikers are encouraged to park at a corral in the market.
What: The Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana host this market of vendors selling fresh produce, organic fruits and vegetables, handmade jewelry and crafts and local artwork. There will also be entertainment and fun for kids, the website says.
Fort Wayne Farmers Market
When and where: Various times and locations throughout the summer. The indoor winter market continues 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 19, May 3 and May 17 at the Lincoln Financial Event Center at Parkview Field.
The summer market schedule is as follows:
- 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays from June 10 to Sept. 6 at Parkview North Family Park.
- 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays from June 25 to Sept. 24 at Schnelker Park in New Haven.
- Thursdays at Lunch on the Square from June 12 to Sept 25 at One Summit Square, and 4 to 7 p.m. from June 12 to Sept. 11 at Georgetown Square, 6400 E State Blvd.
- 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays from June 20 to Sept. 5 at Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center near Carmike Cinemas.
- Saturdays at the Barr Street Market from June 7 to Sept. 13.
When: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays beginning April 19.
Where: 3300 Warsaw St.
What: The Southside Market offers a more traditional Farmers Market experience with fresh produce. It's run by the Allen County Ag. Producers Inc. to provide locally grown fruits and vegetables, and it's the oldest farmers market in the area with about 100 stands featuring produce, hand-crafted items, antiques, fresh baked goods, eggs, local honey and hormone-free pork and chicken. You can also get gardening advice, according to the website.