Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Looking to party on New Year’s Eve? Here are seven options

Say farewell to 2021 at these local haunts


Steve Penhollow

Whatzup Features Writer

Published December 8, 2021

Haven’t you made your New Year’s Eve plans yet? The clock is ticking, which is odd, because it’s digital.

Whether you’re hoping to swig stout at an Irish pub, sip a martini at a jazz club, or drink unpasteurized milk straight from the cow, the city has lots to offer this New Year’s Eve.

Actually, I made up the thing about the cow. I don’t think you can even keep a cow in city limits. What you do outside city limits is none of my business.

Across the globe, millions of people will ring in the New Year at celebrations ranging from the lavish to the laid-back.

And they will count as things descend, mostly balls. If you want to waste some time on the internet (and I know how badly most people need advice on how to do that), look up the “List of objects dropped on New Year’s Eve” page on Wikipedia. It’s a hoot.

As far as I can tell, no ball will drop this year in Fort Wayne on New Year’s Eve. Messages to the folks who used to drop the ball have been ignored.

Someone has dropped the ball on dropping the ball.

No matter.

I always thought they should drop something more identifiably Hoosier. Like a breaded pork tenderloin. That would be easy to arrange. The diameter of the average Indiana breaded pork tenderloin is probably roughly the same as the diameter of the crystal sphere they drop in New York City.

A breaded pork tenderloin doesn’t sparkle, of course, except in the mind’s eye of the person who loves it.

But that’s a little esoteric for a New Year’s Eve preview. Yes, New Year’s Eve is a spiritual holiday, but only in the sense that spirit is a synonym for booze.

Which is another way of saying: Whatever you do on New Year’s Eve, do it responsibly.

Here is a partial list of New Year’s Eve events in the region:

JK O’Donnell’sThe Mighty McGuiggans

Fort Wayne’s Irish rock supergroup can be enjoyed locally at least twice a year: On Saint Patrick’s Day somewhere and on New Year’s Eve at JK O’Donnell’s.

“We will have the Mighty McGuiggans playing from 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.,” the pub’s co-owner Leah Kenna told me in an email. “We will ring in the New Year two times and with a champagne toast. The first will be at 7 p.m. (Irish New Year) and the second at midnight.”

Flashback LiveCougar Hunter

Fort Wayne’s homegrown hair band, which is also a parody of a hair band — but aren’t all hair bands parodies of hair bands? — is back at Flashback Live with a concert and New Year’s Eve party.

Connor’s Rooftop BarParty

Connor’s promises “hors d’oeuvres, party favors, a piece of commemorative merchandise, a DJ, dancing, and plenty of laughs.” The cost is $50 per person.

Waynedale American LegionJohn Curran and Renegade

This will be the final show for Renegade, one of Fort Wayne’s oldest country bands.

“I’m going to retire from the band scene,” Curran told me in a text. “After all these years of playing and being a No. 1 country band and opening for everyone that has come through our area, I feel like my accomplishments have been amazing. I feel like I’ve done more than most people will ever be lucky enough to do with their music. I’ve been majorly blessed. I have amazing fans and friends. It is time to relax with the family and the grandkids. Life is still great for me so I’m going to take advantage of it.”

Arena Dinner TheatreA Toast to 2022

This annual New Year’s Eve party doubles as a fundraiser for the venerable community theater. According to Arena, the event will consist of “a silent auction, heavy hors d’oeuvres, dessert selections, dancing, cash bar, and champagne toast at midnight.”

Summit City Comedy ClubSteve Rannazzisi

The manager of this new club, currently being installed in the space formerly occupied by Snickerz, hopes to have renovations completed by New Year’s Eve. If all goes according to plan, Steve Rannazzisi (The League, Paul Blart: Mall Cop) will perform that evening.

The Brass RailC. Ray

C. Ray, aka Charles Rhodes II, is a rapper, singer, and songwriter based in Pasco, Washington. Rhodes will ring in the new year at the downtown dive bar turned music mecca.

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