1. We love our finished basements
In fact, most houses in Fort Wayne have a basement. They aren’t common in other parts of the country, and that’s mainly because of the soil. However, we do basements and we do it big. We love them because it provides extra living space; it’s almost like a status symbol in Fort Wayne. When they build new homes they create the standard living space, and add on extra additions like bars, theater rooms, or man-caves; just as a second living space for the home. A lot of basements now have full daylight with 2-3 foot-high windows, which almost looks like the first story of a home!
2. Some people think we have really harsh winters, but the truth is..we really don’t
It’s pretty mild in my opinion, but I’ve lived here my whole life so I could be biased. We experience a few snowstorms every winter with around 6-8 inches. However, it usually melts away fairly quickly, and then we get above-freezing temperatures again for a few weeks. Winters are usually dark, so we don’t have as many days of sunshine as we do in the summertime. We actually experienced less days of sunshine than the average city across the country, which is unfortunate. However, when we do have snow and the clouds clear away, it gets super bright…it’s almost blinding.
3. We have a lot of city parks
I believe the reason we have so many is because they are in flood zones. We have three rivers here in Fort Wayne that occasionally flood. That happens in the summertime, but the parks that have beautiful green golf courses are created to soak in water, which eventually goes away. All of our parks are beautiful, and they’re great places to hang out!
4. We don’t have a lot of wildlife
We’re not living by a mountain where we have mountain lions, bears, and big game coming onto our properties. We have some deer and other small animals. At most, you might get some raccoons if you leave your garbage out. I will say that we have coyotes, and I’ve heard a few cases where coyotes take small pets if you’re not careful, but that’s rare. That would be the most dangerous wild animal that we have here. We also have mosquitoes. Mosquitoes get pretty bad in the summertime, and towards the late summer, they get pretty nasty and aggressive. I don’t know why but they’re just drawn to me, so I get attacked by mosquitoes like crazy. We also have termites every once in a while, but it’s not a big issue. We don’t really have any other wood-destroying organisms that would hurt a home, but mosquitoes are the big ones that are the most bothersome.
5. We love our lakes
Within about a two-hour drive, there’s about 200 natural glacier-type lakes with natural spring water that’s feeding them. Chances are, you’ll either know somebody that owns a lake property, or you own a lake property yourself. You’re more than likely going to spend a few weekends out on the lakes in the summertime, and you can do all the lake activities. Some of these lakes are huge, so they’re big sport lakes. We also have what’s called “no-wake lakes,” where they are more relaxed and chill. These are where you can get a pontoon boat, go on lake cruises, fish, etc.
6. The Fort Wayne TinCaps, our Minor League Baseball team
It’s an awesome experience for you and your family during the summer. The TinCaps actually have the highest-ranked Minor League Baseball stadium in the country. We have what’s called “Thirsty Thursdays,” which is where you get discounted beer for around a dollar or two. Typically, once a week, we have fireworks displayed after the baseball game. I live just south of downtown in the city, and I can hear the fireworks go off, so I can say it’s a cool experience! We have a few concerts that take place in our baseball stadiums as well. There’s tons of things to do once you get into the stadium, like the rock-climbing wall, open grass hills, and all kinds of games and things you can do instead of watching baseball.
7. We have several mascots in Fort Wayne
We’ll start with the first one that is downtown in Fireman Square. There’s a big statue of a guy on a horse, and he’s named General Mad Anthony Wayne. He’s what Fort Wayne is named after. We also have elephants all over the city and in people’s yards! This came from IPFW, which was called: “Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne,” but now it’s called “Purdue University Fort Wayne.” They had a fundraiser, or some initiative where they made all of these mastodons, or what I call elephants, and each one has their own design!
8. Let’s talk about the real estate market
In 2020, Fort Wayne landed at the #1 hottest real estate market in the country, according to realtor.com. They tracked the amount of clicks and views and how quickly homes came on the market and sold. For six weeks in a row, we were number one. This is bringing a lot of people into our city, and it’s making our home prices appreciate quicker than home prices across the country. The good news is our home prices are still substantially below the national average. Our average sale price right now is about $185,000, while the average sale price across the country is closer to $250,000. So our cost of living in Fort Wayne is incredibly low, and much of that is due to our low real estate property values.
9. Fort Wayne is often called the “City of Churches”
This is appropriate because we have over 360 churches just in Fort Wayne. The cool thing about this is it’s very diverse, because we have just about every sort of faith represented in our city. Fort Wayne is one of the most diverse cities in America!
10. Drum roll please..My favorite part about living in Fort Wayne, is our festivals
Fort Wayne has so many festivals throughout the year that it’s hard to keep up with them. If you live in Fort Wayne and want some fun things to do, especially during the summertime and into the fall, these festivals are awesome! Let’s just start with a few of them:
We have a few music festivals, a Cherry Blossom Festival, Buster Fest, Arab Fest, and German Fest, which is 3-4 days in June where we have beer tents and celebrate German heritage here in Fort Wayne. There’s New Haven Canal Day and Barbecue Rib Fest, which is the best barbecue you’ll find around here. We also have Middle Waves, which is a multi-day music festival that brings national, local, and regional arts into Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne has an emerging art scene, which has been really fun to watch. In June we have Gear Fest at Sweetwater, which is the largest online retailer of music equipment and instruments, and Greek Fest, where you can get some really good gyros and Greek beer. Three Rivers Festival in July is a full week of activity that goes all over the city. Three Rivers has Junk Food Alley, rides, kids’ activities, and little offshoots of activities all around the community-like book readings, go-kart racing, wiener dog races, and more! This is one of the big festivals here in the Fort.
We have a Pickle Festival, a County Fair, the Pride Fest in September, the Latino Festival, more boat races, and Taste of the Arts. This is really cool because you can go downtown and experience local arts in Fort Wayne! We have Grable fair, which has an emerging local brew scene, so go taste some awesome beer, locally made. Then one of the top favorites is Johnny Appleseed Festival. This is a couple of days in September, and it’s always a beautiful weekend with beautiful weather. It celebrates the pioneers who moved to Fort Wayne and settled here, so you can shop for all kinds of old trinkets and eat good food while watching performances. This is a huge tradition that closes out summertime. It’s symbolic for people that live in Fort Wayne.
That’s just a few of the many festivals we have throughout the year in Fort Wayne.
If there’s a topic that you want me to make a new video on, just let me know, and be sure to watch some of my other videos. I try to cover everything you’ll need to know about moving to Fort Wayne.