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The Journal Gazette

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Estela Carrasco gets her face painted Saturday at the T.A.G. Art Co. booth in the Embassy Theatre lobby during the Spring Forward Fest in Fort Wayne.

  • Ashley Roling and Mabel Doak, 16 months, dance to music of Bloody Tambourine and the Musical Mafia.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Troy Ganser, “The Man on Stilts,” mingles with guests Saturday at Embassy Theatre during the first Spring Forward Fest. Thousands of people were drawn downtown to hear music and check out the city’s skyline. See story on Page 1C.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette The Bloody Tambourine and the Musical Mafia perform Saturday during the first Spring Fest at Embassy Theatre.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Groups of people line up to take the elevator up to the party at the Spring Forward Fest at the Embassy Theatre in downtown Fort Wayne on Saturday, March 9th, 2019.

Sunday, March 10, 2019 1:00 am

Newest downtown fest welcomes spring

3,000 partygoers hear bands, admire view of city skyline

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

It was a two-fer for Krishana and David Lear who bought tickets to see comedian Jo Koy appearing Saturday at Embassy Theatre, the same night the newest downtown festival debuted.

The Spring Forward Fest, a free downtown party thrown by Embassy Theatre, was created to celebrate the arrival of spring on the night Hoosiers set their clocks forward an hour. The fest was staged at three downtown venues.

While the folksy Bloody Tambourine and Musical Mafia played in the Embassy's ballroom on the sixth and seventh floors, DJ Adam Meyer was pumping music from the Ash Skyline Plaza, accompanied by light projections by Alec Johnson.

Keeping it local, James and the Drifters were entertaining folks at Parkview Field with fireworks promised around 10 p.m.

Weather threatened the event with a hard rain puddling the streets around 7 p.m., an hour after the event started. It looked good for 10 p.m. though, John Hughey, the Embassy's chief marketing officer and the event's organizer, said about when the rain would move out.

The event was dreamed up by Kelly Geiser, Embassy events manager, who realized that the Fort Wayne skyline has become exciting in the past couple of years, Hughey said.

The view from the Ash Skyline Plaza on the seventh floor of the Ash Brokerage building is unparalleled as it takes in downtown through its vast windows looking east and south at the corner of Harrison and Wayne streets.

“What's so cool about Ash is it's a private venue, and not everybody gets to go up there every day,” Hughey said.

About 3,000 people were expected to attend the event between the three venues, Hughey said, and a trolley was available to shuttle people. The Downtown Improvement District helped organize the event.

At the Embassy, Debbie Woodroof, executive assistant, handed out plastic bracelets that lit up in green, blue, purple and white as she directed people up to the top floors to listen to the band and grab some food and drink.

The Lears came down with drinks in glasses that matched the bracelets with colorful blinking lights at the bottom. As they headed into the theater to catch Koy's show, Krishana Lear said they'd seen the Spring Forward Fest on Facebook and decided to attend.

“It was a surprise,” she said, and added to the fun as they celebrated a late Valentine's Day.