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Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Summer filling up at the Sweetwater Pavilion

Nick Braun

Nick Braun

Whatzup Features Writer

Published February 13, 2020

The Sweetwater Pavilion this week added a couple more worthy shows to their ever-growing summer lineup.

The Honeywell Foundation is wrapping up work on the Eagles Theatre, a 114-year-old structure in downtown Wabash that has been undergoing restoration and is now set for reopening.

First up, the Southern rock hit makers Whiskey Myers will perform on the evening of Friday, May 15. The Texas outfit is reminiscent to the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd with their ferocious guitar sound and rebellious twang. Concertgoers will enjoy the group’s latest album, Whiskey Myers, which was released last year.

Next, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band returns on Saturday, June 20, aboard the “Traveler World Tour.” Shepherd, always a Fort Wayne favorite, will bring more than 20 years worth of music to the show, so be ready. The Louisiana-born axe man and songsmith has sold more millions of albums while throwing singles into the Top 10, shining a light on the rich blues of the past and forging ahead with his own modern twist on a classic sound he has embodied since his teens.

Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at the Sweetwater campus and online via

Coheed and Cambria

Announced earlier was the progressive rock outfit Coheed and Cambria, due to bring the “Neverender NWFT Tour” to the Sweetwater Performance Pavilion on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

The “NWFT” portion is a reference to the band’s fourth studio album, 2007’s Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV: Volume II: No World for Tomorrow, which the group will perform in its entirety this tour.

The band will also perform some of their other barnburning hits as well. Those of you lucky enough to catch these cats the last time they strolled through town know firsthand what they bring to the table.

San Diego natives Chon will be accompanying them on tour. They have become one of the most buzzed-about acts in the new era of progressive rock. Tickets for this show are on sale now.

Derby Girls get rolling

The Fort Wayne Derby Girls have officially kicked off another season of elbow throwing, fast skating, and knocking opponents to the floor. Their next home bout will be on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Expo Center when they battle with the Roller Derby of Central Kentucky.

If you would like more of the FWDG, the ladies will be taking part in a night of trivia on Tuesday, March 3, at Hop River Brewing at 7 p.m. Hosted by Geeks Who Drink Trivia, this fun evening will put your knowledge to the test all while hanging with the FWDG crew and enjoying some tasty brews.

The event will help support the Noble House Ministries who seek to provide a safe and nurturing environment for individuals and families overcoming difficult times. Five bucks will get you in.

St. Paddy’s at the Rail

Even though we’re weeks away from St. Patrick’s Day, it’s not too early to start planning for the festivities.

The Brass Rail is one place to add to the list. They will provide an evening of ska and rocksteady music. Taking the Rail stage will be none other than Dealsgoneslack featuring Glen Pine of The Slackers and Todd Hembrook of Deal’s Gone Bad. It will be an excellent night of music with plenty of soul and groove to spare.

Flashback Live for the veterans

A handful of local acts will be lending their talents to the “Hessfest 2020 for The Veterans” fundraiser on Saturday, April 18, at The YOLO Center at Flashback Live. On the bill, Jeff Colin, Backwater, Tara Renee Band, Whiskey Regiment, and Jukeboxx Junkie. DJ Arkayde will also be spinning tunes in between sets.

In addition to the music, there will be food, drinks, and raffles with proceeds going to The Shepherd’s House. Things will kick off at 4 p.m.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and many of you are probably looking for some romantic ways to spend time with the person you love. You could go out for dinner and offer up some flowers, but why not stroll through an art exhibit instead?

With that in mind, The Castle Gallery has put together another fine art showcase just in time for that special date night.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the gallery is exhibiting its annual Valentine’s Show now through Feb. 29, offering a breathtaking expo for artists, art lovers, and couples to enjoy while they mingle and discuss.

Castle Gallery shows are always exciting events. With a special Opening Reception taking place 6-9 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, this show is highly anticipated by more than a few art lovers.

Works from national and local artists will be on display including items from Chuck Marshall, Patricia Bartels, Doreen St. John, Pamela Newell, Donna Shortt, Randall Scott Harden, Jody Hemphill-Smith, CW Mundy, Fred Doloresco, John Michael Carter, Joseph Orr, Michael Poorman, Jerry Veditti, and Katherine Galbraith.

As is usually the case at The Castle Gallery, most items you’ll see are up for sale, so you have a perfect opportunity to sweeten the moment and purchase art to make the memory last a lifetime.

A cash bar and hors d’oeuveres will be available for those wishing to enhance their experience in that way. — Chris Hupe

Metta Quintet is the official resident ensemble of JazzReach Performing Arts & Education Association, a non-profit organization based in New York dedicated to the performance, promotion, creation, and teaching of jazz music.

As a venue that shares the group’s convictions of making the arts a part of everyday life, The Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne is a natural partner.

A cohesive, tight-knit unit featuring some of the most creative, sought-after artists on the jazz scene today, Metta Quintet perform all over the world on an annual basis and have released several critically acclaimed recordings.

Their music has been described as a kind of modern mainstream steeped in the tradition.

While that may sound a bit all-encompassing, just know that the group can pull off about any form of music, but they tend to add their own personality for good measure, making even old favorites sound new and fresh again.

Jazz fans will know what to expect here. But for those who are still on the fence, Jazz Times, one of the highest authorities on the genre, described Metta Quintet recently as “delivering with a modernistic edge that supports the increasingly popular notion that jazz may be unequivocally rooted in the American tradition but ultimately belongs to the world. [Their music] is all the richer for its incorporation of other cultural interests.” — Chris Hupe

Cancer is no laughing matter but that doesn’t mean we can’t use humor to help fight this disease.

Join Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana for a night of laughs and fundraising when national touring comedian Josh Sneed brings his unique blend of humor to the stage at Sweetwater. A Bob & Tom Show favorite, Sneed is one of the most-played artists on Sirius/XM radio. He has also appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend in addition to having his own Comedy Central Presents half-hour standup feature.

Cancer Services Comedy Night features plenty of food for purchase as well as a cash bar. A friendly “Jokester of the Year” competition will be a highlight, showcasing local talent. A raffle will also be offered during the night.

General admission tickets for the event are $50 per person. Limited $75 VIP tickets are also available and include early access to the venue, a beer and wine open bar starting at 6 p.m., and a meet-and-greet with Sneed before the show.

Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana serves people diagnosed with cancer and their families. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life of those affected by cancer by providing meaningful resources, information, and compassionate assistance. — Chris Hupe

The five-story renovated arts and entertainment facility will feature two theaters, the 560-seat original Eagles Theatre and the new 50-seat Ferguson Theatre.

The facility will please both those looking for a bit of nostalgia and those looking for a more modern facility.

The upper floor of the Eagles Theatre will also feature the Parkview Ballroom, an elegant room for hosting events ranging from weddings and receptions to corporate meetings and special events.

Additional floors of Eagles will have several conference rooms, music lesson rooms, and media arts classrooms where students will learn audio and video production and editing.

Among many upcoming events planned to launch the new and improved venue will be a concert with Wabash’s own Crystal Gayle on Feb. 29.

For a complete list of upcoming events and ways to preview Eagles Theatre’s new look, visit

Ballet fundraiser

Fort Wayne Ballet has a special fundraiser coming up this month, one which should attract many who have a special love for ballet and fashion.

Fashion en Pointe will take place at the Sycamore Hills Golf Club on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 6-9 p.m.

The evening will include a runway show of Jophiel fashions, an exclusive presentation of vintage tutus from the collection of Fort Wayne Ballet, a raffle for a premier piece from Bradley Gough Diamonds, and a performance by Fort Wayne Ballet. The event is black tie optional, and tickets are $150.

Family Series

Earlier that day, Fort Wayne Ballet’s home studio in the Auer Center for Arts and Culture will host the Family Series performance of The Jungle Book, the timeless tale of Mowgli and his adventures as he travels through the jungle and encounters the beasts that inhabit it.

The performance puts the spotlight on Fort Wayne Ballet’s Youth Theatre and the products of the Auer Academy of Fort Wayne Ballet.

Tickets are $10 for each of the performances at 10 and 11:30 a.m.

The Family Series provides an excellent way to introduce even young children to the arts in a casual atmosphere and with a performance time of about 30 minutes. Dancers are available after for photos and free activities will be available following the show.

For more info about the fundraiser and the Family Series, visit

The Phil in 2020-21

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic has announced their 2020-21 season, and the lineup is sure to be a hit with both symphony fans and those who enjoy some of the orchestra’s recent forays into film screenings featuring live orchestration.

The season will kick off Oct. 10 with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Fort Wayne Philharmonic Chorus joining forces to perform Beethoven’s beautiful, moving, and inspired Mass in C Major.

It continues Oct. 14 and 18 with the Freimann Quartet performing Beethoven’s “moody, musing, and manic” 4th String Quartet.

Both performances are part of a Beethoven Festival celebrating the composer’s 250th birthday.

The season also includes pieces by Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and Bax as well as popular traditions such as Messiah by Candlelight which returns for two performances on Dec. 17 and 18.

The Halloween Spooktacular will return on Oct. 25.

Intergalactic Fantasy, a collaboration with Science Central, will take place on February 20, 2021; Sleeping Beauty will feature the annual collaboration of the Philharmonic and Fort Wayne Ballet on March 26, 27, and 28, 2021; and Dance Party, a collaboration with Fort Wayne Dance Collective, will be on April 25, 2021.

Sweetwater Pops Series

The Sweetwater Pops Series will include some sure-fire winners for those who love film, theater, and pop music.

On Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, the orchestra will perform Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban In Concert projected on a large screen with the score performed live by the Philharmonic.

Feb. 27 will feature Aretha: A Tribute with Capathia Jenkins and three-time Grammy Award nominee Ryan Shaw performing Franklin’s greatest hits, and Carousel In Concert will feature a concert presentation of the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical conducted by Andrew Constantine on March 20.

For information about these and other upcoming events visit


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