The Three River’s Festival is always a great summer destination, but THIS year marks a special milestone that will make the occasion a bit sweeter and definitely more emotional for those working behind the scenes.
The theme for the 2018 Three River’s Festival is a “Golden Celebration- 50 years of Fun!” This includes cheering on a pair of honorary Grand Marshalls in the annual parade who have watched the festivities expand every year. Dave Auman has been a volunteer and board member since the first festival, and Tommi Manny was on the first ever Three Rivers Festival committee, dating back to 1969. Our 2018 Grand Marshalls are The Voice’s own Addison Agen and Christiana Danielle.
The festival begins July 13th and runs through July 21st. There is SO much to do, see, enjoy and eat every year, it can be a challenge to keep track of every happening during the 9 day celebration. I want to mention a few can’t-miss events, some may sound familiar while others may be lesser known. Be sure to check out the official website, Facebook page or pick up an event guide to check out dates and times of the following events!
Annual Parade: Wheather you are grabbing a seat on the parade route or plan to watch from home, don’t miss the 2018 Lutheran Health Network parade- this is the official kickoff to the festivities! July 14thstart time 9:45 a.m.
Junk Food Alley: Elephant ears, buckets of fries, spiral spuds, lemon shake-ups…need I say more? Don’t forget about Two Dollar Tuesdays, where select food vendors have $2 deals! July 13th-21st, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Art in the Park/Chalk Walk: The Chalk Walk is one of the best photo-ops of the festival! Enjoy artwork beautifully created in front of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. You can also walk Main Street and purchase handmade items and artwork from various local artists. July 14th and 15th starting at 11 a.m.
Downtown Midway: Nestled in Headwaters Park, bring the family out for carnival food, rides and games! July 12th-21st.
Concerts: Three Rivers Festival is full of diverse entertainment and their concerts sure don’t disappoint! Brother, Gin Blossoms, Morris Day and the Time, Here Come the Mummies, Candlebox, Orange Opera, The Funk Thang and Duke Tomatoe are a few of the many musical appearances you can see throughout the festival.
Bed Race: Another popular event is the bed races. Watch contestants race beds downtown to receive awards for the fastest and most creative. July 18th, 6 p.m.
Lawton Park Car Show: Multiple classic vehicles will be on display for your viewing pleasure. July 21st, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Fireworks Finale: To end the festival, be sure to find a nice spot downtown to sit and enjoy the fireworks. Live music will follow the show at Headwaters Park. July 21st, 10 p.m.
Pie Eating Contest Finals: The waiter/waitress contest is a VERY popular event to watch, but did you know there is a pie eating contest right afterwards? Both mentioned events will be at the Ruoff Festival Plaza, in Headwater’s East Pavilion. July 16th, 6:30 p.m. for waiter/waitress, 8:30 p.m. for pie eating.
International Village: Enjoy food and drinks from different cultures, listen to songs and storytelling and appreciate numerous cultural backgrounds. Located in the Club Soda parking lot, admission is free but food, drinks and other items will have a charge. July 20th and 21st, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Trivia Night: Try your luck at some trivia! Bring a group of friends and head to the Ruoff Festival Plaza in Headwaters East Pavilion. July 18th, 7-10:30 p.m.
Art of the Garden: Enjoy the works of natural garden art by local artist Daniel Dinealt and landscape designer Brad Shaw at the Botanical Conservatory. Starts July 14th.
Power Racing Series: Ever thought of souping up a Power Wheels vehicle? Race teams made this dream come true, modifying their cars to race. Enjoy watching the races and feel free to bring your children’s Power Wheels for them to ride on the kids track. July 14th-July 15th.
Egg Drop: Head over to Science Central to see eggs fall from the roof of the building- will they break? Or will the contraptions that the eggs are wrapped in keep the egg from splattering on the ground? Kids of all age groups participate to see if their way of keeping their egg safe will survive the fall. July 15th, 1 p.m.
River Excursions: Your opportunity to relax on a pontoon boat while learning about the history of our rivers and talking about their future. Head over to the West Amphitheater at Headwaters Park to board. July 13th 4-8 p.m., July 14th 11 a.m.-8 p.m., July 15th 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
In addition to these great events, there will be a free lunch trolley running daily from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. July 13th through 20th to take you to Junk Food Alley, Parkview Field, One Summit Square and more! The Emporium at Freimann Square will have arts and crafts vendors open daily. There are simply too many events to mention here, but that’s what makes the festival so much fun-the variety!
If you can’t wait until the festival starts to get your fix, check out the book Three Rivers Festival, Indiana (Images of Modern America Series) written by Lori Graf in honor of the festival’s Golden Year. If you prefer to buy a copy in person, you can stop by Visit Fort Wayne, or the Three Rivers Festival Information Booth any day during the festival. We would love to hear about your favorite moments from this year’s Golden Celebration! Let us know on our Living Fort Wayne Facebook Page, Twitter, or Instagram pages!