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.