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|Three Rivers Festival|
|Begins||first Saturday after Independence Day|
|Location(s)||Fort Wayne, Indiana|
The Three Rivers Festival is an annual festival held in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The festival's run spans nine days in mid-July, starting on the first Friday after Independence Day. It is a celebration of the heritage of Fort Wayne, established during the French and Indian War at the confluence of three rivers, the Maumee, St. Marys, and St. Joseph. Events include a community parade through downtown, a food alley, amusement rides, a bed race, art and craft shows, children's and seniors mini-fests, an International Village, a shopping marketplace, Rivergames and a fireworks finale.
Indiana is a U.S. state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of North America. Indiana is the 38th-largest by area and the 17th-most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis. Indiana was admitted to the United States as the 19th U.S. state on December 11, 1816. Indiana borders Lake Michigan to the northwest, Michigan to the north, Ohio to the east, Kentucky to the south and southeast, and Illinois to the west.
Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states. The Congress had voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2, but it was not declared until July 4.
The French and Indian War (1754–1763) pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, each side supported by military units from the parent country and by American Indian allies. At the start of the war, the French colonies had a population of roughly 60,000 settlers, compared with 2 million in the British colonies. The outnumbered French particularly depended on the Indians.
At the first Three Rivers Festival in 1969, an estimated 100,000 people attended a grand parade, and 60 events on the Columbia Street Landing. The festival in 1973 attracted one million visitors. Among its highlights was the air show by the Navy's Blue Angels. In 1976, the Nation's Bicentennial, the festival included an international beer can collectors convention. That year attendance topped 2 million. In 1977, the festival added fireworks for the first time, and its opening day parade was the second largest in the state. When the festival opened in 1979, seven hundred balloons were released from the top of a city building. By 1980, the festival has grown to 206 events across the city. The following year, the festival introduced a children's parade and attempted to set a record for the World's Longest Hot Dog, at 527 feet long. Two years later the festival featured the World's Biggest Pretzel, at 10 feet in diameter.
The Blue Angels is the United States Navy's flight demonstration squadron which was initially formed in 1946, making it the second oldest formal flying aerobatic team in the world, after the French Patrouille de France formed in 1931. The Blue Angels' McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets are currently flown by five Navy demonstration pilots and one Marine Corps demonstration pilot.
The festival has continued to grow and add new attractions and fun events. In 1991 a $20,000 Arts United grant expanded Sunday in the Park to art events at Seniors Day and the Children's Festival. By 1999, the Art in the Park was expanded to include Main Street, featuring a juried show of 85 national artists. That same year, the Three Rivers Festival enjoyed crowds in excess of 500,000, maintaining its position as the second largest event in Indiana.
Three Rivers Festival is a 501(c)4 not-for-profit organization, founded in 1969, and funded entirely by vendor participation fees, souvenir sales, refreshment sales, entertainment ticket sales, and the sponsorship and support of area businesses.
For 2009 and 2010, Fort Wayne Newspapers was the Festival Title sponsor. National Serv-all was the 2010 sponsor of the Fireworks Finale. PNC, Sweetwater and STAR 88.3 were other major 2010 sponsors.
As the second largest festival in Indiana, the Three Rivers Festival has family-friendly events, centered in Headwaters Park in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. Many affiliated events are featured throughout the Fort Wayne area.
The first weekend of the Festival features "Art in the Park", a juried fine arts show & sale, located on Freimann Square, Main Street and Barr Street, adjacent to the Arts United Center and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in downtown Fort Wayne. Over 100 talented artists from northeast Indiana and across the country offer oils, watercolors, photography, sculpture, pottery, and more.
Beginning in the historic West Central neighborhood, the two-hour parade fills winds through downtown Fort Wayne. A local musical group typically opens the parade with the national anthem, followed by many parade units, area high school marching bands, local celebrities, the "Queen Bee" Helium Balloon from Vera Bradley, and approximately 100 other entries.
The Parade is broadcast live on Indiana's NewsCenter, with a repeat broadcast in early evening. The Parade route distance is approximately two miles, winding through the West Central Neighborhood and downtown. The first Parade unit steps off at approximately 9:45 a.m., and arrives at the downtown broadcast point shortly after 10:00 a.m. The Parade ends at Calhoun and Superior Streets.
Tens of thousands of area residents eagerly await Northeast Indiana's largest pyrotechnic show, marking the close of nine days of Three Rivers Festival.
Fort Wayne is a city in the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Allen County, United States. Located in northeastern Indiana, the city is 18 miles (29 km) west of the Ohio border and 50 miles (80 km) south of the Michigan border. With a population of 253,691 in the 2010 census, it is the second-most populous city in Indiana after Indianapolis, and the 75th-most populous city in the United States. It is the principal city of the Fort Wayne metropolitan area, consisting of Allen, Wells, and Whitley counties, a combined population of 419,453 as of 2011. Fort Wayne is the cultural and economic center of northeastern Indiana. The city is within a 300-mile radius of major population centers, including Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington, and Milwaukee. In addition to the three core counties, the combined statistical area (CSA) includes Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, and Steuben counties, with an estimated population of 615,077.
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