Here's how Downtown Fort Wayne gets festive for the holidays

The Downtown Improvement District's Clean and Green program takes the time to decorate all 177 planters that are distributed throughout the city. So far they have 97 done. They expect to be finished decorating by Thanksgiving.

Posted: Nov 23, 2020 6:05 PM
Updated: Nov 24, 2020 10:10 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Ever wonder who is responsible for making the city look festive for the holidays?

Meet Clean and Green Program Coordinator Anthony Racic.

He and his team have been working since early November to spruce up all the planters around the city for the Christmas season.

“We put different shiny stuff and just decorate it to make it look extra festive, to really try and lift people’s spirits,” Racic said. 

The planters get decorated four times a year for every season. They estimate that it costs around $50 per planter per season.

This time of year they are filled with ornaments, garland, and bows.

"We get to come out and decorate for the holidays and it just brightens people’s spirits,” he said.

One of those people is Sarah Strimmenos. She loves working downtown this time of year.

“It gives you the Christmas spirit! It brings a little joy and happiness to downtown obviously and it just makes everything seem more festive,” Strimmenos said. 

The Downtown Improvement District also makes sure all sign and light posts have wreaths and garlands on them.

President Michael Galbraith estimates that the almost 200 posts will be done just in time for Thanksgiving.

“We’re making sure that downtown is still open for business and celebrating the holiday season,” Galbraith said. 

The Downtown Improvement District doesn’t do it alone.

Galbraith says it takes a village.

“Decorating downtown is a really collaborative effort between the city of Fort Wayne, the Downtown Improvement District, the Parks Department, as well as a number of local businesses.”

Shine and Hardin Law office is one of those businesses.

Attorney Steven Shine has been putting on Christmas on Broadway for the past 16 years.

This year his display included a 40-foot Colorado Spruce, adorned with 40,000 lights.

“This has really now become the one of if not the premier holiday event in the city. It’s the gateway to the opening of the holiday season every year,” Shine said. 

You can enjoy all the holiday decorations downtown this weekend at the Downtown Improvement District's Days of Holly Shopping.

The month-long campaign will support over 30 small businesses here in Fort Wayne.

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