Fort Wayne’s Three Rivers Festival to begin this weekend


A tradition in its 52nd year, the Three Rivers Festival has become Indiana’s second largest festival. For 2021 the event will be different – – the now-iconic parade has been canceled, but much of everything else, including the Midway at Headwaters Park, will take place.

Last year, the Three Rivers Festival was canceled completely because of COVID-19 concerns. This year, it is back, modified, but still with enough fun to meet the needs of festival goers.

What is the Three Rivers Festival?

The Three Rivers Festival is nine days of a variety of fun. The point seems to be to celebrate the Summit City (Fort Wayne’s nickname) through fun activities that might also be cultural and recreational.

In the past, the parade highlighted area groups, especially high school marching bands. The televised event also included community and ethnic groups, such as the Miami Indians. Military organizations were also a part of the celebration of all things Fort Wayne. However, in a pandemic year, packing thousands of people together for more than an hour perhaps did not seem the most safe way to kick off the festival.

Now that the city’s three rivers (St. James, St. Mary’s, and the Maumee) have undergone cleaning processes for several years, more activities are centered on and around them throughout the year. The Three Rivers Festival has held river tours in recent years. Unclear if this year’s festival will be different.

Live music has also played an important role in the festival. During the day, under the beer tent, (not an actual tent; more like a spacious eating area with a cement floor) live music plays while people eat and socialize. Other times, bands play for patrons who have paid a cover charge.

One staple of the Three Rivers Festival that almost “has” to return to make festival goers happy is Junk Food Alley. In years past, healthy eating advocates have bartered for a change of the name and content of the area, but the efforts were largely unsuccessful. As its name suggests, Junk Food Alley is full of guilty pleasures such as fried candy bars, cotton candy, elephant ears, funnel cakes, ice cream novelties and much more. Savory items such as ribs, tenderloins, bison burgers, etc., have also been available in years past.

This year, helicopter rides, the Midway, and other attractions are back to make the Summit City’s biggest event of the summer come to life. For more information about the Three Rivers Festival, including parking and specific events, visit:


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