Blue Jacket is excited to announce larger displays, more interactivity and some special touches in 2019 for the signature area holiday event.

This year the event is open from now through New Year’s Eve, 6-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is $10 per car to experience the route, with additional fees for 12+ passenger vans and busses.

The event features 119 scenes, made up of over 400 individual pieces, and over 300,000 LED lights through the Franke Park nearly two-mile route. It will also feature displays donated from Flagstar Bank that were previously used downtown on the skywalk.

“This event is very special to us, much like it is to so many families in and around Fort Wayne,” said Brad Saleik, Director of Marketing for Blue Jacket.

“We make a concerted effort to make it better and unique from one year to the next, as we have since we took it over in 2015. I am excited to see the reactions this year and in years to come — we have some ambitious future plans.”

In addition to the new displays, Fantasy of Lights will feature some new, unique opportunities. “Santa’s Cabin” gives patrons an opportunity to exit their cars before entering the bulk of the route to get free hot cocoa and popcorn, visit Santa on 11 scheduled dates, purchase exclusive ornaments created by Blue Jacket clients from bulbs that were used previously in actual displays from the event. It will also be professionally designed by local interior designer Cindy Friend and her associates. Santa’s Cabin is sponsored by Preferred Auto.

The largest new display, sponsored by Shambaugh and Sons Engineering and Construction firm, will feature a 75” monitor that will be used to display fun facts about the event, and provide news and updates for guests.

There will also be opportunities for groups to experience the lights in an open-aired hayride-style ride. Blue Jacket is working with Hops Harvester on that feature. To book spots, you can contact them by calling 260-245-2250 or going to their website at

Other fan favorites will be returning, including an expanded giveaway program held after each week on Blue Jacket’s Fantasy of Lights Facebook page that will feature a two-night stay at the downtown Hilton Grand Wayne Hotel, fine dining and an electric guitar.

“We are so overjoyed and humbled by the outpouring of support by our local businesses of our event that has become a staple of Fort Wayne’s holiday experience,” said Heather Maley, Blue Jacket’s Operations Manager. “There is truly something for everyone to enjoy in the prize packs we have been able to develop from their contributions.”

The event helps to fund Blue Jacket’s Career Academy pre-employment training program. Following graduation from the program, Blue Jacket provides transitional jobs, job placement, and case management.

For the second year in a row, Blue Jacket’s Career Academy was highlighted when the organization decided that, instead of using the 450 volunteers to staff the event as they have done in previous years, they hired 17 graduates of their program to work the event.

The Waynedale News Staff
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