Long-time friends Cathy Wallace-Harper and Cecylia DeLuca walk the grounds of Lakeside Park nearly every day.
"We do this all year long," Wallace-Harper said today as they took in the warmth and sunshine on Easter afternoon, along with Wallace-Harper's small white dog, Remy.
They weren't the only ones enjoying what park visitor, IPFW baseball pitcher Kyle Orwig, described as "the first nice day."
It's been kind of a chilly, but not abnormally so, spring, according to Megan Dodson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service for northern Indiana.
Today's temperature peaked at 74 degrees in mid-afternoon, but with a storm system coming in later, the temperatures were predicted to drop to a more seasonal level. Today's high was the fourth highest for this date since 1910 when it was 84 degrees. In 1998, it hit a high of 78 and in 2007, 76 degrees, Dodson said.
Temperatures for Monday and Tuesday should be in the 50s, Wednesday and Thursday in the 60s and, with another system coming through Thursday, a drop back to the 50s. The temperature is expected to drop even lower into the 40s this coming weekend.
"We're going to see a cool down for the week," Dodson said.
Orwig was accompanying Amaris Longenecker, a junior IPFW business major, who discovered Lakeside Park when she moved to Fort Wayne from Angola three years ago.
"You get to walk around the really, really pretty houses," Longenecker said, referring to the mansions on Forest Park Boulevard, "and then you get to walk here." In the winter, she likes to watch the people skating on the pond.
Orwig of San Diego had never been to Lakeside Park. In his hometown, there are a lot of parks "like that," he said as he looked toward the pergolas, sunken gardens and reflecting ponds.
John and Diane Kinnaley of New Haven couldn't resist stopping by the park as they were driving around Fort Wayne Sunday. "We got the top down," John Kinnaley said. "It's one of our favorite parks."
They sat on one of the many park benches, taking in the scene. There were people fishing, picnicking, walking and taking photos of their loved ones, especially children, still dressed in their Easter outfits.
Eight-year-old Gustavo Oliva-Pineda and his little brother, Neymar, 2, opened up their Easter baskets at the park under the supervision of their father, Miguel, and mother, Lourdes.
Gustavo was excited about all the lollipops and Angry Birds toys in the basket, but the kid in him got the better of him and in no time at all, he was up a sturdy tree for a look around.
The Oliva-Pineda family said the park was the prettiest one in Fort Wayne and peaceful, too.
Lakeside's rose garden has yet to bloom. John Kinnaley noticed that the rose branches had been trimmed way back and took note for his own rose bushes at home. "I've got to do something different to mine next year," he said.
Wallace-Harper said she often sits on a park bench under a tree at the northwest corner of the park to smell the Dolly Partons and the JFKs, both hybrid tea roses planted nearby.
"I know where all the roses are," Wallace Harper said. "This park has so much. These roses, oh, they just explode."