Before the rapidly darkening sky did its best impersonation of William Wells restless spirit on Saturday afternoon, the William Wells Day celebration was a low-key affair.
Dan Wire of Friends of the Rivers was on hand to talk about Wells and to explain the kick-butt joke on the back of the official William Wells T-shirt.
Eat Your Heart Out, it said.
Wire said that the Caucasian Wells, who was raised as a Miami Indian but moved between American Indian and early American societies in various official and unofficial capacities, was paid a great compliment after he was killed when his heart was eaten by one or more of the American Indian warriors who had slain him.
The warriors thought that if they ate his heart, theyd get strong. That was the nature of his mystique, Wire said.
Saturdays William Wells Day celebration in the shadow of the Wells Street Bridge commemorated the 200th anniversary of Wells death with activities – canoe races, face-painting, wood-sculpting, guitar-strumming – that were about 98 percent more sedate than the circumstances of that death.
In the first round of the canoe races, the Moorhead Family was bested by the Scholz Family.
It takes a lot more energy than youd think, dad Steve Moorhead explained. We went canoeing the other day at Chain O Lakes so maybe were still a little beat from that.
The key to winning, said Connor Sholz, 10, is to just keep rowing.
Folks who have tried for the last four years to raise funds to get the Wells Street Bridge covered with subdued blue lighting may still have some more rowing to do.
Wire said the lighting project, which he said could cost from $30,000 to $60,000, is one of the ideas on the mayors table as he considers what to do with Fort Waynes $75 million Legacy fund.
This is such a small piece of that, he said. I am confident that it will go forward.