By Cindy Larson
FORT WAYNE — If you haven’t visited the Broadway corridor recently, you’re in for a treat. The street that stretches from downtown Fort Wayne to Bluffton Road is once again thriving, due to new restaurants, shops, galleries and breweries.
You can experience all Broadway has to offer during the one-day Broadway Street Stroll 1-6 p.m. July 28.
The stroll is the brainchild of Mandie Kolkman, who lives on Illsley Drive just off Broadway. She used to work at the Philmore, an event and entertainment venue on Broadway, and as she’d drive up and down the street daily she tried to think of ways to connect people to the businesses along the corridor.
Four years ago the first Broadway Street Stroll featured the then-new shop Fancy & Staple and Trubble Brewing. The event is a way to showcase both the businesses and the historic buildings that house them.
The buildings may be old, but many of the businesses are new. Kolkman explains the appeal of the Broadway corridor as “the rich history combined with the new artistic vision.” She includes in that the brewpubs and restaurants that express themselves artistically through food and drink.
Visitors may walk, bike or drive the festival, which stretches from the new West Central Coffee at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Broadway on the north end to the Clyde Theatre on the south end. The street has to remain open for vehicles due to it being a direct route to St. Joseph Hospital.
While you’re soaking in the historic charm of the street, you can browse antique stores and stop in for a brew (or two) at the two brewpubs on Broadway, Trubble Brewing, 2725 Broadway, and Mad Anthony Brewing, 2002 Broadway.
Have you ever driven by Fancy & Staple, 1111 Broadway, and wondered what it was? The Broadway Street Stroll is your opportunity to peruse the uncommon goods at this cool shop.
The HEDGE, 1016 Broadway, also is worth a stop. Artists at this shop near Jefferson Boulevard and Broadway create and sell high-quality products and custom-printed items.
The venerable Brass Rail bar is on the tour, as are two art galleries and the popular 07 (as in 46807 ZIP code) Pub.
Several locations will feature live music.
The under-development Electric Works revitalization of the old General Electric plant won’t be open for tours this year because work has started on the project, Kolkman said. But she believes Electric Works plays a big part in the revitalization of Broadway, especially because of its educational and housing components.
Similarly, the newly refurbished Clyde Theatre has generated interest in the Broadway area, even from some out-of-towners who may travel to Fort Wayne to hear bands they couldn’t hear elsewhere.
Nearby neighborhoods, which Kolkman describes as walkable, affordable and family-friendly, also have gotten behind the rebirth of Broadway by patronizing the new businesses.
The Fourth Annual Broadway Street Stroll is free and open for all ages. No tickets are necessary.
When the tour ends at 6 p.m., all are invited over to the 07 Pub at 3516 Broadway for the official Broadway Street Stroll After Party.