By ROD KING
For IN|FW Newspapers
Shopkeepers, boutique owners, flower vendors, antique stores, galleries, restaurants, bars and breweries opened their doors Sunday afternoon, July 28, from 1-6 p.m. to people participating in the fourth annual, free Broadway Street Stroll in Fort Wayne.
The Phoenix, just a couple blocks south of Jefferson Boulevard, hosted almost a dozen artisans who set up booths on their outside plaza and inside the restaurant featuring scented candles, jewelry, art, clothing and food. Turning heads along the street was Rowan Greene balancing on his Onewheel, a battery-powered board, delivering food orders from Plowshares Food Hub located in The Phoenix.
West Central Coffee, whose owners had hoped to be open for the annual stroll, had to settle for a tent at the corner of Broadway and Washington Boulevard next to their store with a couple of coffee urns because the city has not completed its water main work in the area and no water was available in the building. According to Bruce Robinson, manager, he’s looking forward to getting the water hooked up and the interior work completed so he can begin providing coffee to West Central residents sometime in September.
Strollers could pick up a map of the participating businesses showing all the names along the route. The map card could be stamped, punched or signed and presented when full at their final stop. A drawing will be held and two “strollers” will win a gift card worth $50 to a Broadway business or for a print from artist Alexandra Hall.
Live music was featured at The Philmore on Broadway and Trubble Brewery. After 6 p.m. “strollers” were invited to Pub 07 for the official Broadway Stroll after-party.
Mandie Kolkman, creator of the Broadway Street Stroll, said, “Broadway is a hidden gem. This one-day festival is our moment to get people to shop locally while exploring the historic magic of Broadway. Our mission is to highlight the unique art, shopping, food and brews featured along the street and to encourage participants to walk, bike or drive it to experience pop-up art and one-day deals at the participating venues.
“Broadway is becoming an attractive location for new businesses in the city. It welcomed two each year since the inception of the stroll. The first year, 2016, saw the opening of Fancy & Staple and Trubble Brewing. The following year saw Alexandra Hall open her gallery and the opening of The Hedge. Sassie Cakes and Pub 07 welcomed customers for the first time last year,” she continued.
“Though the rejuvenated Clyde Theater is located across the St. Marys River on Bluffton Road,” says Kolkman, “we consider it a part of the Broadway business family. We’re looking forward to the businesses that will be moving into the Electric Works campus in the next few years.
“There are eight breweries in Fort Wayne and this street is home to two, Mad Anthony Brewing and Trubble Brewing.”
Kolkman got the idea for the stroll from the annual New Orleans Royal Street Stroll in her hometown of New Orleans. While she was working at The Philmore on Broadway in 2016 she proposed her thoughts to Broadway business owners and got the ball rolling for the free, one-day festival that has been growing in popularity ever since.