The Journal Gazette
Sunday, November 21, 2021 1:00 am

New book 'love letter to Fort Wayne'


Terri Richardson didn't grow up in Fort Wayne, but working as a newspaper editor here gave her the perfect training to write her first book – “100 Things to Do in Fort Wayne Before You Die.”

Richardson has been features editor at The Journal Gazette more than two decades, overseeing sections that included hundreds of listings for arts, entertainment, festivals and other events.

“It's tedious, but I would say it's a needed thing,” she said. “People find things to do that they wouldn't know are happening, so I think it's a service for a lot of people.”

Richardson's book is a bucket list for battling boredom if you're a Fort Wayne-area resident.

And if you're not, consider it a full menu of tasty tidbits to entice you to visit the Summit City.

The 51-year-old calls the volume “my love letter to Fort Wayne,” the hometown she adopted after having grown up in West Virginia.

Richardson and her husband, Scott, a fourth grade teacher in Fort Wayne Community Schools, have lived here 22 years and raised their children, Heather Tribbett, 25, and Garrett, 21, here.

“If you've never been to Fort Wayne, but also if you're a lifelong resident, I guarantee if you pick this (book) up you'll find out something you didn't know about,” she says.

The book covers a lot of ground, with chapters devoted to food and drink, sports and recreation, music and entertainment, culture and history, and shopping and fashion.

Featured are Fort Wayne's Famous Coney Island, downtown's venerable hot dog emporium, and the up-and-coming West Central Microcreamery & Cafe.

You can find out where to get a cold Tini martini or cold feet watching a curling match, as well as where you can become a holy roller (in the basement bowling alley of Most Precious Blood Catholic School) or fall into a field of sunflowers (Salomon Farm Park).

Handily, the book also includes tour itineraries and seasonal highlights. Each attraction also has a section of insider tips – imagine trying to trek through the Johnny Appleseed Festival in high heels or not having preregistered for the Vera Bradley sale.

Richardson was approached by Reedy Press of St. Louis, a publisher of a series of similar books about cities, to compile the volume on Fort Wayne.

She said Reedy likely was attracted to Fort Wayne because of its growth and its location within only a couple hours' drive of many metropolitan locations in the Midwest. 

“You can't help but look at this market,” she said.

Richardson said she had no trouble coming up with 100 things – she's even got a list of leftovers.

And no one turned her down when she sought information.

Meeting people and hearing their excitement about being in the book kept her going, Richardson said, adding she tried many of the things in the book. 

“No,” she said with a laugh. “None of them were dangerous.”

If you go

Terri Richardson will sign copies of her book, “100 Things to Do in Fort Wayne Before You Die,” at the following times:

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov, 27, Visit Fort Wayne, 927 S. Harrison St.

• 2 to 4 p.m. Nov. 28, West Central Microcreamery, 725 Union St. A free scoop of any flavor, including Kekionga Conga developed for the book, comes with a book purchase.

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 11, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

More information about the book is at 100 Things to Do in Fort Wayne Before You Die on Facebook.

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