Fright Night 2017 set to keep up scary fun tradition


Fright Night 2017 in Fort Wayne, Indiana marks 10 years that a night of scary fun has taken over the city. The event will take place on Oct. 21, 2017. This year’s roster seems to continue the tradition of providing a variety of activities for all ages.

Brief history of Fright Night in Fort Wayne

A decade ago, two entities invested in the life of downtown Fort Wayne–representatives of the Embassy Theatre and the Downtown Improvement District (DID), realized that both groups were planning activities for a night of Halloween-ish fun. They combined their efforts, and the event, with a score of things to do in various downtown locations, was born.

Some of the events remain from the first year, and some do not. In year one, there was a coffin-race that took place in the early evening. That event is not on the schedule for this year. But other events, such as a showing of “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Haunted Walking/Bus Tours, and a silent movie with live accompaniment remain from year one.

Fright Night 2017

In an array of events from pumpkin patch fun to a participatory “Rocky Horror Picture Show” viewing, to a showing of ” The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,”a 1920 silent movie with a live score, plus the ever-popular Zombie Walk, and more, all ages and most interest levels have been considered to create this year’s itinerary.

Fright Night 2017 begins at 10 a.m. with activities for the youngest patrons. Pumpkin Zone and Punkin’ Path get underway at Foellinger-Freimann for all ages. Pumpkin Zone runs until 3 p.m., and Punkin’ Path until 5 p.m.

The Central Branch YMCA will host a free Trunk or Treat Soiree in the parking lot at Washington and Barr Streets. This runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition, the main branch of the Allen County Public Library will host several events for children and teens. Not-So-Frightening Fun begins at noon, and lasts until 4 p.m. This event allows small children to make spooky, or not-so spooky crafts. Patrons are asked to be mindful that the children’s department in the library is a “zombie-free zone” that day, and as a result, heavily made-up folks are asked to enjoy other events at the library.

For teens, there is a Walking Dead Trivia Challenge in the downtown library’s teen department. Youthful participants can use their knowledge for a chance to win a set of Walking Dead graphic novels.

Zombie Central is located on the Allen County Public Library plaza. Starting at 2 p.m., would-be zombies can make their transformations with help from the folks at TAG Art. The Zombie Walk begins at 5:30 p.m. Live entertainment will be provided from a variety of performers.

For lovers of live music, Here Come the Mummies with opening act, Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra will take the Embassy Theatre stage at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.¬†Here Come the Mummies are an 8-piece funk-rock band of mummies. They play “terrifying fun from beyond the grave.”

The Cinema Center, 437 E. Berry St., will screen “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” The 1920 silent movie will feature a live score provided by String Shift, which includes members of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. The movie begins at 6 p.m.

For adults seriously into Fort Wayne’s haunted history, different venues offer scary lore specific to certain downtown locations. The History Center presents,¬† A Night in the Old City Jail, 302 E. Berry St. These tours allow patrons to tour the institution that housed inmates from the 19th century until 1971. The tour includes an exhibit of artifacts of law enforcement and outlaws. The creepy history tours begin at 5 p.m., and run until 9 p.m.

Lantern Tours of the Old Fort at 1201 Spy Run Ave., will get underway at 6 p.m. The last of the 15-minute tours will begin at 9 p.m. The Fort dates back to the early 1800s, and patrons can hear stories of the structure’s resident ghosts.

New this year is a Dead Comics Comedy Battle. Famous comedians will deliver posthumous bits. The event will take place at O’Reilly’s Irish Bar and Grill at 301 W. Jefferson. The battle begins at 10 p.m. This evening of adult humor is available to ages 21 and older.

Arch, Inc., the city’s authority on historical architecture, will offer two different types of tours that explore the city’s lengthy and sometimes brutal history. The walking tours and the bus tours depart from the Grand Wayne Center ballroom, 120 W. Jefferson Blvd. Tours start at 6 p.m. It should be noted that these tours are not suitable for everyone, as they do contain graphic information.

I have done the walking tour, and can attest to the interesting and scary information. Also, if you plan to undertake a walking tour, wear comfortable shoes and gauge your fitness level accurately. In addition, the bus tours tend to sell out quickly. They might be sold out or nearly sold out already. I have tried unsuccessfully to get tickets two years in a row.

That said, all of the Fright Night events tend to be popular. It is as though the city needs this day to explore history and have fun. If you come, prepare to have fun, deal politely with crowds, and learn something about the city of Fort Wayne.

More information and additional events are described completely with prices and other information, including parental advisories, at Click on the “activities” link.





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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has BA and MA degrees in English and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger’s Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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