Thursday, December 26, 2013

Guest Post: Another Part of the Country...Indiana, to be heard from

Here's a new guest post from Gloria, over at EdgeofGloria. Hope you like it. I did.

I decided to write a guest post about my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, which is located in what coastal people call “flyover country.” I complain a lot about Fort Wayne, but it isn't bad. It just depends on what you are looking for.

Fort Wayne is the second-largest city in the state of Indiana, with Indianapolis being our capital, and largest city. There's about 250,000 in the city, perhaps a bit more if you factor in the surrounding small towns. We have a professional hockey team, basketball team and baseball team. The Fort Wayne Komets have been operating continually in Fort Wayne since 1952. Hockey was the first spectator sport I ever enjoyed. My dad would take me to the games, and I liked to say I liked hockey before it got popular in the 1990s.

People on the coast sometimes think a lot of people who live in the Midwest do a lot of farming. We don't all live on farms. One of my co-workers at a local retail store lives on a farm, and the gentleman she lives with hasn't had a vacation in 13 years. My co-worker helps out on the farm, and also works full time at the store and refinishes wood in her spare time. So chances are if we live on a farm, we are also working another job as well.

If we don't farm, then what do we do for a living? Depends on who you talk to, but we have people who own small businesses, we have doctors, lawyers, dentists, vets, office workers, factory workers, mechanics, educators, writers and even filmmakers. We do have people who are active in the arts, but they usually have full-time jobs, and act in small local productions.

And speaking of actors and actresses, Fort Wayne was home to a few you might have heard of. Carole Lombard grew up here, and her former house is a bed and breakfast at 704 Rockhill Street. Shelley Long was from here; she was a graduate of South Side High School. Are you a fan of “Frasier”? Bulldog Briscoe, also known as Dan Butler, graduated from Northrop, my high school. He's in town directing a production of Our Town. Are you a fan of The Office? Jenna “Pam Beesly Halpert” Fischer was born in Fort Wayne.

Like Bill Blass's clothes? He was a Fort Wayne homeboy before he moved to New York City.

One thing that makes Fort Wayne great is the cheap real estate. Seriously, if you are single, it IS possible to own a house here. That doesn't mean you'll be able to afford to live in Sycamore Hills, or Devil's Hollow, but it is possible to own a place of your own.

We are not too far away from Indianapolis, if you want to catch a Colts game. Chicago is about three and a half to four hours away, depending on the traffic, and if you want to leave the country, Windsor, Ontario, is about three and a half hours away. We are also three and a half hours away from the best amusement park in the world (IMHO), which is Cedar Point. If you love roller coasters, this is the place to be.

We have some cool places and events here in town. A group called the Downtown Improvement District is organizing events to bring people back downtown, before the malls brought everyone out to the neighborhoods surrounding the city center. Fright Night happens near Halloween, and the Zombie Walk brings thousands of people downtown, dressed up as Zombies, or in other costumes to lurk around. The night before Thanksgiving, several lighting displays are ceremoniously lit downtown, with the biggest crowds coming to see Santa and his Reindeer. This display goes way back, when it was featured on the side of the Wolf and Dessauer building, which used to house a well-known local department store that had amazing window displays (I am too young to remember this). There's also the Festival of Trees at the Embassy Theater, a beautiful Art-Deco movie palace that was saved by the wrecking ball by a concerned group of people in the mid 1970s. Now, the theater hosts Broadway shows and concerts.

In the summer, we have a series of festivals. Greekfest, German Fest Food Fest, Rib Fest, and the granddaddy of the downtown events, the Three Rivers Festival. I never fail to see someone I know at the festival, which goes on for eight days, ending in a fireworks display shot off one of the buildings downtown.

Fort Wayne. I don't like it, but it has some things going for it, that's for sure.

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