It Will Be A “Critters’ Christmas” As Humane Fort Wayne Is Spotlighted As This Year’s Charitable Organization
Article Courtesy of Shine & Hardin LLP
5:30 p.m.—Parade down Broadway led by Concordia Lutheran High School Band, Santa, and Mrs. Claus.
6:00 p.m.—Tree and fireworks will be lit
Canine to Place Paw on Switch that Lights Magnificent Tree
Nationally Acclaimed Concordia Lutheran High School Marching Band to Lead the Christmas Parade Down Broadway
Fort Wayne Komets, Lake City Bank, Brigadoon Fitness, IU Health Network, Prairie Farms Dairy, Deister Machine Company, and Downtown Improvement District to sponsor holiday kick-off
It’s the most wonderful time of the year with both Thanksgiving and Christmas rapidly approaching and to usher these holidays into Fort Wayne, the 18th Annual “Christmas On Broadway” celebration will take place on Friday, November 18, 2022, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The nationally acclaimed 41 member Concordia Lutheran High School Marching Band under the direction of Band Leader Jennifer Porath will kick off the event by leading a parade down Broadway, which will also include loveable animals from Humane Fort Wayne, this year’s featured charitable organization. This will truly be a “Critters’ Christmas.” Jessica Henry, Executive Director of Humane Fort Wayne said, “We couldn’t be more honored than to have been selected as the charitable organization to be the focus of this year’s celebration. Christmas, kids, and critters makes for a wonderful combination to celebrate the holidays.”
Jennifer Porath, Concordia’s Band Director said, “We’ve performed in the Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C, the Three River’s Festival Parade, and we will be marching in the upcoming Columbus Day Parade in Chicago and our band members are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to ring in the holidays in our first-time performance at Christmas on Broadway. Our nationally recognized marching band will finally get to perform on Broadway, even though it’s the one that is in Fort Wayne and not New York City!”
This year’s parade on Broadway will feature Santa and Mrs. Claus aboard a fire truck decked out for Christmas and greeting holiday revelers along the parade route which will begin at Broadway and Creighton and will travel south to the Broadway Plaza. Attendees are asked to line both sides of Broadway along the parade route and then make their way to the Broadway Plaza, where Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be handing out Santa hats and stockings to all of the children in attendance. Also joining in the parade will be animals from Humane Fort Wayne who will be dressed in their holiday best.
The spectacular 35-foot Spruce tree has been donated by John Palmersheim of Fort Wayne and will command the place of honor in the center of Broadway Plaza. The tree will be lit by one of the loveable canine who will place its paw on the switch which will then light the Christmas tree that will be adorned with 40,000 lights in spectacular glowing colors. Contemporaneously with the tree lighting will be a brilliant fireworks display on the Broadway Plaza, which is in front of the Shine & Hardin Building, located in the heart of the “07” neighborhood.
An ultra-modern computer center located within the Shine & Hardin Building, which, during the Spring, Summer and Fall controls the multiple colorized patterns within the Broadway Plaza fountain, will also allow for a variety of lighting displays each evening when the tree is lit.
“Christmas On Broadway,” which began 18 years ago with a mere 150 people in attendance who gathered to view the lighting, has now grown to nearly 5,000 attendees and has become a family holiday tradition held each year on the Friday before Thanksgiving marking the official beginning of the Fort Wayne holiday season,” said law partners, Steve Shine and Tom Hardin of Shine & Hardin, LLP, the creators and organizers of this event. As in the past, this year’s tree lighting and fireworks display will be telecast live on ABC21, beginning at 5:00 p.m., when ABC21 telecasts their entire 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. newscasts live from the Broadway Plaza. Chris Fedele, Vice President and General Manager of ABC21 stated that ABC21, part of the Gray Media Group, is proud to once again bring to the living rooms of its viewers the colorful enchantment of the holiday season. “Family and community spirit is a hallmark of ABC21, thus, our efforts to telecast this magnificent event is a labor of love for our staff,” Fedele said.
Joining ABC21 as a media sponsor is Federated Media, whose top-rated radio stations include WOWO, 97.3 WMEE, 1380 The Fan, Big 92.3, 98.9 The Bear, and K-105. Ben Saurer, General Manager of the Federated stations stated, “This event has become so popular that we look forward to our involvement each year with great anticipation, so much so that we are again kicking off the 75th Annual WOWO Penny Pitch on the Broadway Plaza at 3:00 p.m. on the afternoon of the Christmas tree lighting during the Pat Miller Show on WOWO, which will be broadcasting live from the Broadway Plaza from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.”
Each year, Mudrack Tree Service places the tree into its secure position upon a large Christmas tree stand, which this year will be constructed by crews from Smith Construction. Cameron Smith, President of Smith Construction said, “We are delighted to become such a significant part of this time-honored tradition that puts smiles on the faces of children and adults alike.” Electrical service to the tree is undertaken by Mark Mongold of Kissinger Electric of Columbia City, with the tree itself decorated by A Yard Apart. Other grounds preparation will be undertaken by Vision Scapes. This year, the Christmas tree will be lowered into place on Monday morning, November 14th with live television coverage beginning at 5:00 a.m. on ABC21 and radio coverage on WOWO 1190AM/107.5FM. Throughout the week of November 14th, crews from A Yard Apart will be placing the 40,000 lights upon the tree, as well as readying the plaza for the anticipated thousands of spectators. The entire event site is overseen and managed through the efforts of the Associated Builders and Contractors Indiana Kentucky Chapter under the supervision of Felisha Anderson, Director of Council Management, without whose assistance the event would otherwise not be possible.
“Christmas On Broadway” is honored to have an outstanding list of sponsors, both new and returning to the event. These great organizations include, the Fort Wayne Komets (who underwrite the fireworks display), IU Health, who, along with its local President, Brian Bauer, provide the fire truck upon which Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the tree lighting, Lake City Bank (the original continuous sponsor for 18 years), Prairie Farms Dairy (the Midwest’s leading dairy), and the two newest sponsors, Brigadoon Fitness and Deister Machine Company.
Bruce Dye, President of Brigadoon Fitness and Mark Deister, President of Deister Machine Company stated that they are both delighted that their respective corporations can be a part of bringing the community spirit to Fort Wayne. “Although both of our corporations are first timers as far as sponsors are concerned, we have watched this event unfold year after year and have wanted to be more involved than just spectators,” Dye and Deister said.
Eric Ottinger and Cammy Treadway, Lake City Bank commercial banking leaders, said the bank’s continuous support for Christmas On Broadway is even more special in 2022 as the bank celebrates 150 years. "We've been here since day one, 18 years ago, and the event has only gotten bigger and better. Joining this spectacular celebration is a great way for Lake City Bank to wish happy holidays to all of northeast Indiana.”
Brian Bauer, President of IU Health Fort Wayne continues to marvel at the joy that this event brings to young and old alike, taking great pride in arranging transportation for Santa and Mrs. Claus aboard the fire truck. “This is one way IU Health can wish each and every person in our area a happy and healthy holiday season.”
“There is nothing more spectacular than traveling on Broadway each holiday season to see the wonder and enchantment that the sparkling lights on the Christmas tree bring to the seven neighborhoods which border the Broadway Plaza,” Chuck McQuaig, president of Prairie Farms Dairy stated. The seven neighborhoods are the Creighton-Home, Historic South Wayne, Historic Oakdale, Fairfield, Illsley Place, Williams-Woodland and the West Rudisill.
Michael Franke, a member of the Franke family who own the Fort Wayne Komets, stated, “The Fort Wayne Komets are a Fort Wayne tradition and we take great pride in having become part of another citywide tradition, that being “Christmas On Broadway. It is an honor for the Fort Wayne Komets to underwrite the fireworks display which creates a deeper sense of a holiday spirit when the tree and fireworks are lit contemporaneously.”
The Broadway Plaza is located at the mid-point of the Broadway Corridor, which has become Fort Wayne’s premier street corridor. The Broadway Corridor claims the title as being home to the largest neighborhood redevelopment project in the City’s history, that being the Electric Works. Shine and Hardin stated, however, that the most important element of the Broadway Corridor are the thousands of families who call it home, choosing to have their residences in this thriving neighborhood.
Attendees at Christmas On Broadway will be treated to meeting and greeting Santa and Mrs. Claus, petting a live reindeer, and getting to ride on a miniature train for children, aptly named the Polar Express. “Our wonderful group of corporate and community sponsors make it all possible for families to participate in the holiday celebration right in the heart of their neighborhood,” said Shine and Hardin.
On Sunday, November 13th, in the Holiday Fest Tabloid that will be published within the Journal Gazette, the outline of a Christmas tree will be available for children of all ages to color their own rendering of the Christmas tree on Broadway. The three top entries will win Visa Gift Cards from Lake City Bank, music CD’s from 97.3 WMEE and K-105, and prizes from ABC21. All entries must be received on or before Friday, December 16, 2022, and mailed to WPTA-TV, 3401 Butler Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808. Winners will be announced on Friday morning, December 23, 2022, on ABC21’s morning news, 97.3 WMEE, WOWO, and K-105.