Fort Wayne festival celebrates community, honors lives of COVID-19 victims

Joseph Ayers and his family are celebrating the 10th Annual Summit City Community Festival. Every year has a theme, but this weekend’s message is geared specifically towards all of the countless lives who have been touched by COVID-19.

Posted: Aug 22, 2021 7:24 PM
Updated: Aug 23, 2021 8:44 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Joseph Ayers has a passion for bringing people together.

Alongside Delania and Michael Ayers, and the rest of Ayers Community Outreach, he’s able to unite hundreds with music, giveaways and more at his yearly festivals.

"Especially after the pandemic, I think it’s very important for us to give back to the community, break down barriers of things we’ve been through the past year, so this is a great start," Delania said.

Ayers and his family are celebrating the 10th Annual Summit City Community Festival.

Every year has a theme, but this weekend’s message is geared specifically towards all of the countless lives who have been touched by COVID-19.

"We are in a healing process, and a lot of people just want to come out because we haven’t been able to come out and enjoy each other’s company," Joseph said. "And we are really healing from this COVID. We have lost a lot of lives due to COVID and violence, so people are just thirsty just to come out and just mingle with each other."

Ayers helped fill McMillen Park and the sky above with balloons Saturday afternoon to represent loved ones who never got a proper goodbye.

"I wasn’t able to go to a lot of my friends and family’s funerals because of the COVID," Joseph said. "And it’s like a void is missing in your heart because you lost someone that you loved and cared about, and you weren’t able to celebrate their lives."

Delania and Michael say this event fills another void for Joseph each year, that of their mother/mother-in-law who died roughly five years ago.

No matter what’s going on in the world, they say the festival helps her memory live on.

"Even when she was alive, he’s done this in her honor. Because she was always a giving person, and she was known as the community mom," Michael said.

So Joseph, as a community dad, plans to carry this on.

Ten years down, at least 10 more to go.

"I’m looking to do year 20," Joseph said. "We just want to keep this going on. We just want to keep it going. It’s going to keep going. Nothing's going to stop us. No pandemic can stop this."

Joseph urges people to continue to have faith and work together as we approach another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1011197

Reported Deaths: 16524
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1359292129
Lake666181167
Allen58254802
Hamilton46498467
St. Joseph44559617
Elkhart36044510
Vanderburgh32333481
Tippecanoe28037260
Johnson25196446
Hendricks23960360
Porter22985367
Madison18820410
Clark18609253
Vigo17530303
Monroe15319200
LaPorte15230252
Delaware15127264
Howard14801290
Kosciusko12410149
Hancock11773176
Bartholomew11695180
Warrick11305189
Floyd11138215
Wayne11023253
Grant10131220
Morgan9506177
Boone8965116
Dubois8281131
Henry8252153
Dearborn823493
Noble8064106
Marshall7981135
Cass7556123
Lawrence7479172
Shelby7216119
Jackson700990
Gibson6614115
Harrison651892
Huntington6447100
Knox6427106
DeKalb6363100
Montgomery6293112
Miami595298
Putnam584179
Clinton579271
Whitley568455
Steuben566876
Wabash5363104
Jasper536180
Jefferson513297
Ripley501987
Adams483777
Daviess4684115
Scott439875
Greene427296
Clay426960
Wells426088
White420964
Decatur4177104
Fayette407387
Jennings390262
Posey377544
LaGrange361778
Washington360451
Randolph3476100
Spencer340743
Fountain336160
Sullivan330852
Starke319171
Owen315571
Fulton313468
Orange295064
Jay285546
Franklin266443
Perry265752
Rush263832
Carroll262434
Vermillion259854
Parke232029
Pike229643
Tipton229059
Blackford195042
Pulaski184657
Crawford160125
Newton159848
Benton151217
Brown147047
Martin139319
Switzerland135311
Warren121416
Union107216
Ohio84613
Unassigned0544

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1524169

Reported Deaths: 23955
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1646591696
Cuyahoga1468932459
Hamilton1056051431
Montgomery742551279
Summit620221111
Lucas56539917
Butler51696718
Stark468601064
Lorain35783585
Warren32903377
Mahoning30927693
Clermont28271330
Lake27179448
Delaware24263164
Licking24027294
Trumbull22993561
Fairfield22438247
Greene22414326
Medina22149313
Clark19920354
Richland18643292
Portage18073252
Wood17505224
Allen16054279
Miami15627306
Muskingum14890185
Columbiana14153274
Wayne13852271
Tuscarawas12777311
Marion12016180
Scioto11497162
Pickaway11386142
Erie10951184
Ross10614203
Ashtabula9809204
Lawrence9783153
Hancock9741155
Belmont9333209
Geauga9008157
Jefferson8600199
Huron8427143
Union822259
Washington8114144
Sandusky7875151
Athens779579
Knox7766144
Darke7695158
Seneca7405145
Ashland6993130
Auglaize681799
Shelby6540115
Brown640091
Crawford6292130
Defiance6241105
Mercer617893
Fulton605196
Highland602899
Guernsey596371
Madison595678
Logan594596
Clinton585193
Preble5730125
Putnam5354110
Williams530888
Perry519863
Champaign514273
Jackson512473
Ottawa490586
Coshocton488383
Morrow460558
Pike435067
Fayette430363
Hardin420780
Gallia419367
Adams417995
Van Wert374082
Henry366972
Holmes3653125
Hocking357582
Wyandot325262
Carroll304365
Paulding280747
Meigs267251
Monroe216254
Noble201247
Morgan194333
Harrison182646
Vinton167225
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
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After a soggy couple of days, the sunshine returns Tuesday and highs top out in the middle 50s.
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