A car comes to life with a blanket of animatronic fish. An engineer pours a computer casing from liquid resin. Pedal-powered creations fly across a stretch of asphalt. Rather than let the processes of invention and tinkering stay confined to basements and workshops, the annual Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire, powered by TekVenture, thrusts them into Headwaters Park for a family-friendly outdoor event. Up to 100 "makers"—artists, scientists, and tinkerers who invent, experiment, and create—showcase their crafts through live demonstrations and hands-on interactive experiences. These displays cover the spectrum of technology, using materials ranging from wood and fabric to electronics. Beyond the exhibits, the annual event features engineering challenges, live sets from local musicians, and stunt-filled BMX demonstrations. Locally produced food is also available for purchase.
The knowledgeable winemakers at Hops & Harvest delight in teaching customers how to transmute grapes in varietals such as chardonnay and pinot noir into nuanced wines. Hops & Harvest stocks the tools and resources that beginning and veteran home-brewers need to concoct fresh, delicious organic wines from the comforts of their homes as well as the hops and malts needed to bottle, keg, and barrel homemade brews. Live displays, samples, and classes keep the spacious store abuzz. Most wines and beers can be made indoors at any time of year, eliminating the final reason to leave the house during January.
Nestled along the historic Old National Road, J&J Winery immerses visitors in the charming ambiance of a bucolic countryside estate, plying them with feasts of tasty Italian fare and mouth-watering homemade wines. Inside or on the deck, guests sample the winery's own crisp chardonnays or fruity cabernets over cheese plates, pulled-pork sandwiches, and portobello-and-gouda pizzas plucked from under the nose of a fire-breathing brick oven. Big Dawg Brew Haus, located on J&J's property, joins the winery in sharing the fruits of its labor, which include such brews as Saxy Blonde pale ale and Grandma's imperial oatmeal stout. In addition to regaling guests with tasty pours of beer and vino and delectable Italian feasts, J&J Winery hosts weddings and serenades crowds with live blues, folk, jazz, and whale sounds.
Taste Creative Cuisine entertains eardrums and taste buds at the same time by presenting a menu full of contemporary twists on classic Southern cooking and regular sets of live jazz. Like carving a family chicken dinner with a laser-knife, the food roster modernizes mainstays of country-style dining. Fried chicken rests atop sweet-potato waffles, creamy aioli garnishes Cajun catfish sandwiches, and artichoke butter sauce adds flavor to cornmeal-breaded walleye pike. Handcrafted cocktails complement the Louisiana-fusion fare, as muted jazz trumpets, wailing saxophones, and standup comics keep audiences dancing and laughing into the night.
Ed Sbragia of the Sbragia Family Vineyards is famous for his chardonnay and cabernet. Included in the Sbragia Family Vineyards tastings are two varietals: Home Ranch chardonnay ($26.99/bottle) and Andolsen Vineyard cabernet sauvignon ($35.99/bottle). From his experience at Beringer, Ed Sbragia also knows the inner grape workings of dozens of other varietals, knowledge applied to the creation of the three other tastable bottlings: the Home Ranch sauvignon blanc ($20.99/bottle), Home Ranch merlot ($26.99/bottle), and Gino's Vineyard zinfandel ($28.99/bottle).
Permeated with casual elegance, The Wine Gallery festoons its eclectic menu with classic bistro fare in the form of flavorful salads, soups, sandwiches, and specialties. Let the nibbling commence with starters of chips, dips, spreads, breads, and more, such as the cheese plate, a tour de fromage sidekicked by gourmet crackers and olives ($9), or its smokehouse doppelgänger ($9). Like a whole-wheat aqueduct, the mushroom-spinach pizza siphons a steady stream of silver-dollar mushrooms, mozzarella, feta, and provolone ($8). Chew through an English hedge maze of panko-coated eggplant caprese salad, with mozzarella, tomato, and basil ($5 half, $9 full), then celebrate victory with the succulent, spice-rubbed prime-rib sandwich ($8) or Italian basil-chicken sandwich ($8).