Discover Downtown Fort Wayne’s Beauty

Now that springtime is finally here, trees are starting to bloom, flowers are popping up, and cute animals are more prevalent. To celebrate this beauty, Downtown Fort Wayne has named its upcoming window decorating contest “Fort Wayne in Bloom – Nature’s Awakening.”

“We wanted a fun, entertaining and pretty way to make downtown look nice,” says Kim McCutchan, business services manager of Downtown Fort Wayne. “The inspiration came from an event in the United Kingdom called ‘Chelsea in Bloom,’ which is really elaborate and has been around a long time.”

Last year, 12 local businesses decorated their windows for the contest, McCutchan says. She expects just as many businesses, if not more, to participate this year.

“We actually launched this in 2020 as a COVID activity because we wanted to encourage people to shop local,” she adds. “Only a limited amount of people were able to be in stores at a time, so, we put the window decorating contest into play. While people were waiting their turn to get into stores, they could look at the windows. We’ve done this during the Christmas season for years, but 2020 was the start of doing this in the spring.”

As downtown businesses decorate their storefronts, shoppers can enjoy the beauty and vote for their favorite window between April 22 and May 19. Every voter is automatically entered into a drawing, in which one lucky winner will receive a $100 Yiftee gift card, which can be used at nearly 40 local businesses throughout downtown Fort Wayne. The gift card is digital, meaning users can print it out at home or pull it up on their phones. A complete list of participating stores and restaurants can be found at

“There will be a link for ‘Fort Wayne in Bloom’ votes, and it’s one vote per IP address,” McCutchan says. “We’ll have photos of each of the windows online, but we really hope people go and see the windows in person. It’s always better to enjoy the features that way, and hopefully, people will purchase something from these local businesses while they’re out – maybe a Mother’s Day gift, a birthday gift or graduation gift, or even just something for yourself.”

As a bonus, the first 50 people who purchase a Yiftee gift card of $40 or more between May 1 and May 10 will be entered into a separate drawing for a grand prize. The winner will receive another Yiftee gift card, plus gift cards to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Cottage Flowers, and other local destinations.

“We really encourage people to support local shops and restaurants,” McCutchan says. “This provides more incentive for people to do just that.”