Santa and his Reindeer on the Night of Lights

A crowd gathers to watch the lighting of Santa and his reindeer at the PNC Building facing Main Street during the Night of Lights.

The Night of Lights returns to downtown Fort Wayne on Thanksgiving Eve, complete with the ringing of the bells and fireworks.

The Downtown Improvement District has posted details of this centerpiece of Holiday Fest.

For decades, families have clocked to downtown landmarks to share and renew memories of the lighting of fixtures that are rooted in the holiday tradition of a vibrant regional hub.

Santa and his Reindeer, the Merry Christmas Wreath and other attractions await admirers.

Events begin at 5:45 p.m. with the lighting of the turret at the History Center, and end at 8 p.m. with the Parkview Field Holiday Fireworks show.

Downtown businesses and organizations will host family-friendly lightings, as well as indoor and outdoor holiday activities throughout the evening.

As part of Holiday Fest, the Embassy Theatre’s 37th annual Festival of Trees is back, with in-person and virtual options available.

This year, new to the Night of Lights is Brighten the Night with The Bradley, Sensory-Friendly Night of Lights at Promenade Park, and the Flagstar Bank Photo Contest. This year’s Lighting of Kris Kringle Village is modeled after a German outdoor market, adding another cultural experience to this night of traditions. Kilwins will provide free peppermint ice cream during the Night of Lights while supplies last.

Find Night of Lights details at HolidayFestDowntown.com.

TriCore Logic and Downtown Improvement District and other sponsors will present the HolidayFest standards.

At 6:20 p.m., the Santa and His Reindeer display will take flight on the north wall of PNC Bank at Main and Calhoun streets. The characters made their debut on the Washington Boulevard side of Wolf & Dessauer department store on Nov. 20, 1940, instantly the second-largest display of its kind. Santa and his reindeer are 155 feet long and weigh 5.5 tons. The display uses a total of 24,717 LED light bulbs.

At 7 p.m., the Merry Christmas Wreath — 32 feet in diameter — and Christmas tree will be illuminated at I&M Power Center Plaza at Calhoun and Wayne streets. Flagstar Bank sponsors the lighting. The wreath was first displayed in 1937 on the Calhoun Street side of the Wolf & Dessauer building.

The Parkview Field Holiday Fireworks, presented by Pizza Hut, is set for 8 p.m., concluding the evening’s launch of Holiday Fest. Parkview Field’s gates will open at 6 p.m.

“After last year’s event was canceled by the pandemic, we’re so glad to see the Night of Lights back,” said TinCaps President Mike Nutter. “Thanks to our partners with the Downtown Improvement District and Pizza Hut for making this family-friendly festivity possible.”

“As a Fort Wayne native myself, I have fond memories from my childhood of going downtown to see the lights,” said Todd Hollman, president and CEO of Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne. “We’re glad to play a role in seeing this Fort Wayne family tradition continue.”

While the event is free to the general public (no ticket required), a limited number of special tickets are on sale that provide access to Parkview Field’s heated, indoor Suite Level.

Suites packages are available starting at $350. That covers 20 tickets for a suite rental as well as food and drinks.

Separately, Club Seats can be purchased for $5, offering the chance to also buy food and drinks from the Suite Level Lounge Bar, which will be open from 6-9 p.m.

Contact Holly at raney@tincaps.com for more information.

Concession Stand 2 on the concourse will be open for all guests with items such as hot cocoa, coffee, beer, soft drinks, water, hot dogs, chicken tenders, burgers and snacks.

Parkview Field’s North Gate on Jefferson Boulevard (center-field concourse area) will close at 7:45 p.m. in advance of the fireworks.

Night of Lights schedule

5:45 p.m. — History Center turret lighting (Barr Street)

5:50 p.m. — Lighting of Kris Kingle Village & Arts United Plaza (Main Street)

5:55 p.m. — Christ Child Festival Nativity Lighting (west end of Aunt Millie’s Building on Pearl Street)

6 p.m. — Aunt Millie’s Northern Lights

6:05 p.m. — Community Center Santa’s Workshop display (Main Street)

6:20 p.m. — Santa and His Reindeer at PNC Bank (Main and Calhoun streets)

6:40 p.m. — Ash Brokerage Holiday Illumination (Harrison and Berry streets)

7 p.m. — Flagstar Bank lighting of the Christmas tree and Indiana Michigan Power Merry Christmas Wreath (I&M Power Center Plaza at Calhoun and Wayne streets)

7:15 p.m. — Botanical Conservatory and Embassy Theatre displays (Jefferson Boulevard)

7:30 p.m. — Ringing of the Bells (downtown churches and Allen County Public Library)

8 p.m. — Parkview Field Holiday Fireworks

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