For Immediate release

The 23rd Annual Fantasy of Lights was a success and Blue Jacket credits this success with taking risks on a number of new ideas this year. 

FORT WAYNE, IN, JANUARY 3, 2018  - Adding to the total number of displays and the length of the route were just a few additions that engaged a record 20,680 vehicles, an estimated equivalence of 103,400 people.  Attendance was 3% greater than the previous record in 2015 and 10% higher than 2016, even with frigid temperatures. 

“We are so proud of the response time of our field team, who mitigated what seemed to be daily issues from traffic conundrums, electrical dysfunction, burned out light strands and a few bouts of vandalism,” said Tony Hudson, Executive Director of Blue Jacket. “Through all the issues, our dedicated field team and hundreds of volunteers certainly contributed to a successful year, and we can’t thank them enough.”  

In addition to 15 new displays, Blue Jacket purchased electric utility to expand into the Foellinger Theatre Parking Lot not only because the Franke Park loop was becoming overcrowded, but as a stepping stone for more expansion in years to come.  New displays from sponsors like Parkview Health, Dana, and Sweetwater Sound kept things fresh.  Blue Jacket internally constructed displays with hypnotic lights that dazzled guests.

Blue Jacket also rented the Pond Pavilion for 40 of the 42 nights, which became home to a concession area providing free popcorn and hot cocoa, Fantasy of Lights gear, picture taking backdrop, and frequent visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Blue Jacket leaders were pleasantly surprised to see that 12,100 people exited their vehicles to visit the pavilion. 

Blue Jacket recognized those on tight budgets by offering three (3) “Pay What You Want” evenings which also gave a chance for people to bless Blue Jacket’s mission who felt the $10 gate fee was too little, in total 788 vehicles took advantage of these evenings.

Other new ideas installed this year included a Christmas tree ornament in every program and buying tens of thousands of candy canes to award visitors that answered a quiz.  Reviews on the “Fort Wayne Fantasy of Lights” Facebook Page exhibited how many loved the interactive experiences creating memories and new traditions for families. 

Scattered throughout the route and literature, patrons viewed real life testimonials of successful Blue Jacket graduates helping hit home that net proceeds from this extensive fundraiser supports Blue Jacket’s Career Academy, a 2-week intensive training.  Blue Jacket’s mission is to provide training and opportunities to any disadvantaged person who is striving to earn a second chance at gainful employment.