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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Lauren Schloss and her daughter, Violet, 5, make their way through the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory on Sunday during Mother’s Day Downtown.

  • Guests line up to receive an apple blossom geranium as a Mother’s Day gift at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Tami Hockemeyer, right, and mother Sue Hammond check out the brochure in front of the Arts United Center so they can figure out what stops they want to make during Mother's Day Downtown on Sunday.  

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Haley Durbin, from Just Relax. Esthetic Services gives mother Trina Lampkin a massage at The City Exchange Shops during Mother's Day Downtown on Sunday.  

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Volunteer Dixie Bradley, left, helps dig up an Apple Blossom Geranium as a mother's day gift for mother Christina Solis at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory during Mother's Day Downtown on Sunday.  

Monday, May 14, 2018 1:00 am

Moms get downtown tour

Trolley whisks passengers to various venues

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

The families waiting to step aboard a trolley in downtown Fort Wayne on Sunday afternoon weren’t promised a seat.

In fact, those gathered outside The City Exchange Shops along Wayne Street were warned of standing-room-only capacity.

Thousands participated in the third annual Mother’s Day Downtown, the Downtown Improvement District event that let attendees explore more than 30 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues while celebrating mom.

Attendees could start at any participating site, but the Arts United Center was the main trolley hub and place for information.

“We’ve had great turnout,” said Rick Zolman, pausing conversation as trolleys arrived.

Counting trolley passengers helps the DID estimate attendance, which grew from 1,100 in 2016 to 2,500 in 2017.

This year’s tally should be the biggest yet, said Zolman, the DID’s events and programming manager.

“Hopefully they pick up on the momentum of downtown,” he said.

Jenna Davis of Fort Wayne was among those who used Mother’s Day Downtown as an opportunity to check out Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which opened this month. The upscale eatery offered brief tours and dessert for mom.

Another new downtown tenant – Alyssum Montessori School – opened its Calhoun Street doors for the event. Co-founder Suzy Ulmer called it the “perfect venue” to introduce the school to the community. Lessons begin Sept. 4 for children ages 3 to 8; enrollment will later expand to include children as old as 12.

Muncie residents Trina Lampkin, her daughter Carri McCammon and her granddaughter Payton Hicks visited the shops along the trolley route after eating brunch at a downtown hotel.

“It’s a lot of fun,” McCammon said as they rested outside a shop along Wayne Street near Fairfield Avenue, bags at their feet.

Davis – along with her mother and children, ages 3 and 10 – munched on popcorn from Poptique as they waited for a trolley. Mother’s Day Downtown gave the family a way to enjoy the day, she said.

“We didn’t have anything else to do,” Davis said. “ ... And my son likes to ride the trolley.”