FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – The long-running tradition of food and fun associated with the Three Rivers Festival was silenced in 2020 by the COVID-19 health threat.
But the major summer-time attraction is back on track in 2021.
The official kickoff of this year’s festival happened at 11 o’clock Friday morning, as TRF board members, the director of city parks and recreation and the owner of Ruoff Mortgage, the title sponsor, used scissors to cut a ribbon and launch the nine-day event.
Tantalizing smells from stands along Junk Food Alley drew patrons to the festival grounds around noon like a magnet.
There were not a lot of events on the calendar for day one.
At the Botanical Conservatory on South Calhoun Street, families could stroll through the “Visions of the Old West” garden exhibit, where kids and parents could try their hand at some amateur mining.
“This is pretty cool, we usually come here during Christmas-time, but this time it’s like different, we like it. They’re enjoying the water,” said Selvedina Dervisevic, who came to the exhibit with her children.
“They found gold, they think,” she said with a chuckle.
Mark Music, who owns Ruoff Mortgage, said the return of the festival this year, after the event was canceled last year due to the pandemic, brings back something that is hard to put a value on.
“In a digital world today, to have something that’s a little more analog, that’s a little more about coming together and being able to look each other in the eye and see each other’s humanity and have appreciation for that is really what we are as people, right?” Music said.