For decades, our community has gathered together to count down the lighting of Downtown’s iconic holiday lights, highlighted by the famous Fort Wayne Santa and his reindeer. This year, unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and the current CDC and State of Indiana guidance regarding public gatherings, the Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District will be replacing the annual in-person Night of Lights with a televised special on Wednesday, November 25.

This year, due to public safety concerns, no Downtown public lighting events will take place on Wednesday, November 25th.
Beginning at 7 p.m., viewers can tune in to WANE 15 to experience this annual tradition from the safety and comfort of their home as the Downtown Improvement District brings you Merry and Bright: A History of the Night of Lights presented by PNC Bank and sponsored by American Electric Power Foundation and WANE 15. For over 40 years, PNC has hosted the Santa and his reindeer display on the exterior of their Downtown office building.

“Our Fort Wayne community and the Downtown Improvement District have come together to create an alternative way to honor our annual tradition while keeping families safe during the ongoing challenges of this pandemic. While Santa and his reindeer would have loved to have us count down together for the lighting ceremony, we are certain he approves this safer option from the comfort of our homes,” said Corinna Ladd, PNC regional president of northern Indiana.

Join us during the televised special as we take you through the history of the iconic holiday displays throughout Downtown, featuring the story of Santa and His Reindeer. All the holiday displays and lights Downtown will remain lit through New Year’s Day 2021.

Merry and Bright: A Season of Lights: All season long you can enjoy lights and holiday displays throughout Downtown, like the I&M Merry Christmas wreath. We encourage you to bring your family and make your own special holiday memories with photo-ops throughout the holiday season. In addition to the familiar lighting displays, we invite you to decorate your Downtown home or business with holiday lights that would make Clark Griswold jealous. Take a photo using the hashtag #merryandbrightfw and share your creative displays with us.

Downtown Holiday Window Decorating: Bring your family Downtown this season to experience the annual Downtown Holiday Window Decorating Contest. Take a stroll and view the beautifully-decorated windows of our participating businesses and organizations decked out in this year’s theme of “Merry and Bright.” Voting will begin on Thanksgiving Day and includes three competitive categories this year to spur breathtaking creativity and originality. Nobody does the holidays like Downtown Fort Wayne!

Countdown to the holidays: Even though we will not be counting down in person, we can still count down together. Post a video of your family counting down your own holiday lighting and share it with us using the hashtag #merryandbrightfw
Holiday Activities: You can find information about more fun holiday activities like the Festival of Trees on our Downtown calendar at

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