It was a festival whose time had come.
In fact, it’s a festival that was long overdue.
Sure, the first day of spring is three weeks away. But that may not provide much solace to you given the high likelihood that we will see some snow in April.
Thankfully, the Embassy Theatre is giving us the Spring Forward Festival on March 9. It is a free, multi-venue celebration of the season that always arrives when it is good and ready. Participants include the Embassy, Parkview Field, and Ash Skyline Plaza.
Festival wins the prize
The Spring Forward Festival was this year’s winner in a New Events Contest sponsored by the Downtown Improvement District.
The theater’s chief marketing officer, John Hughey, said the Embassy would have engineered the festival even if it hadn’t won the contest.
“It was just an added bonus that our idea gained some traction,” he said.
The festival was devised by the Embassy’s events manager Kelly Geiser, who spends a lot of time in the ballroom and on the rooftop terrace looking out over the city skyline.
“She sees it at sunset,” he said. “She sees it at sunrise some days. She really has this passion for downtown Fort Wayne.”
Geiser envisioned a festival that would herald the coming of spring and would involve several heralds (aka venues).
Three venues for a triple threat
One of the great things about the Spring Forward Festival, Hughey said, is that it will give people access to venues that aren’t very accessible at this time or year or aren’t really accessible to the public at all: Namely, Parkview Field and Ash Skyline Plaza.
And each venue will be putting on some form of light show, Hughey said. Parkview Field will have fireworks, the Embassy will provide the canvas for a building-wide, outdoor light display, and Ash Skyline Plaza will host a projection artist named Alec Johnson.
Johnson will collaborate with DJ Adam Meyer on his light designs.
Live music will be presented at each venue: James and the Drifters will perform at Parkview Field in the events center and Bloody Tambourine and the Musical Mafia will perform at the Embassy Theatre.
Food and drink will be available for purchase at all participating locales.
Mad Anthony Brewing Company has teamed up with the Embassy to create a beer brewed just for the festival, Hughey said.
The festival will even offer branded “jewelry.” LED bracelets will be handed out as a way of advertising the fest, adding more light to the downtown area and stoking a camaraderie among festival attendees.
“These will light up the night,” Hughey said. “Even though it’s still dark out and its not summertime yet, we’re adding a light element they can wear. People can look out the window of whatever venue they are visiting and see people making their way through downtown.”
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