Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Need more Christmas cheer? Here is a list of activities through the end of the year


Steve Penhollow

Whatzup Features Writer

Published December 17, 2021

Set aside “your naughty or nice” list, which is really more about you than them, isn’t it? Think about it.

Or peruse the following list of holiday events that will keep you, in the words of Burl Ives, “holly jolly” until the start of 2022. I am not sure how to define the adjectival form of holly. I don’t think Ives knew either.

December 16

Jim Brickman at Eagles Theatre in Wabash

Brickman went virtual last year. Now he is back in the flesh. This year’s show will hit you like a ton of Brickman.

Santa Claus Drives Around Bluffton in a Fire Truck

Actually, I am pretty sure Santa won’t be the one driving. He’ll have a chauffeur, I am guessing. Perhaps an elf who is also a firefighter. Or an elf who runs a limousine service where the “limo” is a fire truck. Good marketing hook, that. A map of Santa’s route can be found at blufftonindiana.net.

Even though I am only supposed to write about two events per date, I just have to give a shout-out to Santa Paws, a chance to get your pet’s photo with Santa Claus at the City of Auburn Parks Department. It starts at 6 p.m.

December 17

Elf: The Musical  at Wagon Wheel Theatre in Warsaw

It is easy to get into a Scrooge rut. You say to yourself, “Maybe this year I will celebrate Christmas with a show that isn’t based on A Christmas Carol.” Then you are inevitably visited by three ghosts who claim that you will haul around a thousand pounds’ worth of chains for eternity if you don’t seek out a stage or screen version of Dickens’ novella. 

Don’t be afraid of no ghosts. Go see the Wagon Wheel’s delightful musical version of the beloved holiday film.

Wonderland of Lights at Bluffton’s Ouabache State Park

If you believed Andy Williams, we are currently experiencing “the most wonderful time of the year.” Personally, I could never trust him after he hid the money from that bank robbery we did together. It’s a joke! Please don’t sue me, Andy Williams’ estate! Satire is protected speech, even satire as terrible as that!

Bluffton’s “Wonderland of Lights” does a better job of proving that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” than I do trying to disprove it.

December 18

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s Holiday Pops concerts

 Thanks to the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, it is not only the most wonderful time of the year. It is the most wonderful time of the ear. That pun only works in certain contexts. For example, I wouldn’t use it in an article about Newfields’ Van Gogh exhibit.

The Beach Boys’ Holiday Show at the Honeywell Center in Wabash

Everyone loves the Beach Boys’ versions of Christmas carols, except Santa, who has always complained that “Little Saint Nick” puts undue pressure on him to lose weight.

December 19

Brunch with Santa at the Honeywell Center

Brunch with Santa at the Honeywell is the stuff of storybooks. Storybooks about omelets. For example, “Charlie and the Omelet Factory,” “Green Omelets and Ham” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Who Had a Craving for Omelets for Some Reason.”

Santa Cruises Through Wabash on a Trolley

Santa will be spreading “fa-la-la-la-la” and “ho, ho, ho” all over Wabash on the 19th. Yes, he had to apply for two separate spreading permits. You can find Santa’s trolley route at visitwabashcounty.com. 

December 20

Yule Time Stroll at Charley Creek Gardens

Christmas is almost here. You can hear it in the tinkling of the bells, see it in the twinkling of the lights and hear it in the crinkling of the last pieces of stale Halloween candy being opened and unwisely eaten. A good place to walk off your indigestion is Wabash’s glorious and gloriously decorated Charley Creek

Gardens.

Headwaters Park Ice Skating

Nothing says Christmas quite like ice skating. Unless it’s the word “Christmas.” The word “Christmas” says Christmas better than ice skating ever could. 

December 21

Hike Through the Pines at Pokagon State Park

Believe me, I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in holiday rigmarole. One year, I got so tangled up in rigmarole, the fire department had to come and cut me out of it. Extricate yourself from your rigamarole today and learn about the pines at Pokagon.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas at the Eagles Theatre in Wabash

COVID-19 slowed Christmas cheer to a trickle last year. Now it’s back in full force. In fact, holiday cheer is blasting at you in much the same way that a firehose blasted water at the imprisoned Rambo in First Blood. It’s a more pleasant sensation for you than it was for him, of course. A good way to be blasted with more top-quality Christmas cheer is to take in Jim Carrey’s boffo performance as the title character in this film. 

December 22

Suet Sweet at Pokagon State Park

Usually I don’t need any help making my own suet, but Pokagon State Park seems to have something different in mind. They aren’t referring to overeating. They’re referring to learning how to make suet-based bird food that you can give as a Christmas gift to a bird lover. Just don’t give it to me. I’ll eat it while trying to confuse you with disturbing bird-like noises.

Alpine Holiday Showcase at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory 

At the moment, many kids are doing last-minute impersonations of politeness to avoid getting coal in their stockings. Yet, I imagine that children whose parents work in the coal industry cry when they get candy in their stockings. Perhaps not. I don’t know what kids who live in the Alps do before Christmas, but the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory has come up with a pretty good approximation of an Alpine Christmas for its annual holiday show. 

December 23

Reindeer Snacks at Pokagon State Park

It’s not always easy to remember amid the Christmas hustle and bustle that the holidays are supposed to be fun. We always think, “Maybe I’ll skip the hustle and just do the bustle this year.” Or vice versa! Yet somehow, we’re always saddled with both. Many of us end of feeling we’ve been saddled and ridden by both. How about taking a break and learning how to make snacks for the reindeer who will visit your house in a couple of days?

Cocoa & Cookies with the Clauses at Farmhouse Kitchen and Catering in Syracuse

Nosh with the Clauses. 

December 24

Christmas Eve Events at Pokagon

There’s no shortage of natural Christmas adventures at Pokagon State Park today. Which comes as a relief to those of us were scarred by the “Pokagon Natural Christmas Adventure Shortage of 1973.”  Today, the park will offer a Christmas Eve morning walk, a Christmas Eve buffet, and a toboggan run.

Double H Farms’ Petting Zoo in Hamilton

Christmas is traditionally a time for decking halls, trimming trees, baking cookies, and blowing glass, if you’re especially desperate for a last-minute gift. Word to the wise: Glassblowing really isn’t a skill you should try to acquire at the last minute. Now here is my question: Can Christmas also it also be a time for petting animals? Ask your kids. I bet I know how they’ll answer. 

December 25

Blue Jacket Fantasy of Lights

Traditions are important during the Christmas season. Ask Grandma why she always puts oysters in the stuffing and she might say, “I have to put oysters in it! If I don’t, some Maine fishermen said they are going to come and break my legs!” Grandma does tend to get into the sherry a bit heavily at this time of year. One tradition that won’t cause you any pain is the Blue Jacket Fantasy of Lights.

Christmas at Roberts Farm in Wawaka

Roberts Farm offers a Christmas light display, Christmas treats, and visits with Santa. But the thing you really need to know about is the farm’s “Baby Goat Experience.” The farm has 50 baby goats at the moment. ‘Nuff said. 

December 26

Holiday Hustle 5K starting at the YMCA of Steuben County

Yesterday, you stuffed and emptied a bird, but you’re still stuffed with anxiety. How about a nice little cold weather run to clear your mind and heart?

Rotary Centennial Park and Sunken Gardens Christmas Light Displays in Huntington

There is no dearth of holiday cheer to be found in these free displays. Which is good to hear for those of us who were scarred by the “Huntington Holiday Cheer Dearth of 1968.” 

December 27

Winter Bash at the Honeywell Center in Wabash

The Honeywell Center always presents a smorgasbord of holiday and winter activities every year, which is a little suspicious, as there is nothing especially Swedish about any of them. Winter Bash is the Honeywell’s winter carnival.

Christmas at Fountain Park in Van Wert, Ohio

The Christmas display at Fountain Park is the stuff of holiday cards. I want to buy a sympathy card for Van Wert that says, “Sorry for your loss of Balyeat’s Coffee Shop.”

December 28

Wetlands and Woods Walk at Pokagon State Park

A Wetlands and Woods Walk might just be the cherry on top of your holiday sundae this year. Although by Dec. 28, it may be more like the cherry atop your Cherry & Lime Bourbon Smash.

Smooth Tuesday at the Club Room

You will be needing something smooth at this point between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

December 29

The Harlem Globetrotters at Memorial Coliseum

Whether you are a turtle dove, a French hen, a calling bird, a laying geese, a swimming swan, a milking maid, a dancing lady, a leaping lord, a piping piper, or a drumming drummer, you will love the Harlem Globetrotters, even though their performance isn’t holiday themed.

The Art Farm Holiday Pop Up Gallery

The true spirit of the Christmas season is not consumerism. It is a childlike faith. A childlike faith in consumerism. That’s why it behooves you to get out to the Art Farm in Spencerville where they have handmade gifts that will ease the disappointment of the cheesy crap you were given four days before. 

December 30

The Castle Gallery’s Holiday Show

My favorite gallery in town is always a great place to hang out regardless of what is hanging on its walls at any given moment.

The Toboggan Run at Pokagon State Park

Surely one of the best and most popular winter activities in northeastern Indiana. 

December 31

Polar Bear Plunge at Hamilton Lake

To quote Seinfeld’s George Costanza: “Shrinkage!”

Let It Glow

Adams County sponsors an annual home decorating competition. Even though Christmas will be over at this point, this event is worth the drive up to Rome and environs.

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