Terri Richardson didn’t grow up in Fort Wayne, but working as an editor here gave her the perfect training to write her first book – “100 Things to Do in Fort Wayne Before You Die”.
Richardson was editor of The Journal Gazette for more than two decades, overseeing sections that included hundreds of arts, entertainment, festivals and other events listings.
“It’s tedious, but I would say it’s a necessary thing,” she said. “People find things to do that they don’t know is going on, so I think that’s a service for a lot of people. “
Richardson’s book is a bucket list to combat boredom if you are a resident of the Fort Wayne area.
And if you’re not, consider this to be a full menu of tasty treats to entice you to visit Summit City.
The 51-year-old calls the volume “my love letter to Fort Wayne,” the hometown she adopted after growing up in West Virginia.
Richardson and her husband Scott, a fourth-grade teacher at Fort Wayne Community Schools, have lived here for 22 years and raised their children, Heather Tribbett, 25, and Garrett, 21.
“If you’ve never been to Fort Wayne, but also if you’re a long-time resident, I guarantee that if you pick up this (book) you’ll find out something you didn’t know,” she said.
The book covers a lot of ground, with chapters devoted to food and drink, sports and recreation, music and entertainment, culture and history, and shopping and fashion.
Featured are Fort Wayne’s famous Coney Island, the venerable downtown hot dog store, and the up-and-coming West Central Microcreamery & Cafe.
You can find out where to grab a cold Tini martini or cold feet while watching a curling game, as well as where you can become a holy roller (in the bowling alley in the Most Precious Blood Catholic School’s basement) or drop into a field of sunflowers (Salomon farm park).
Conveniently, the book also includes tour routes and seasonal highlights. Each attraction also has an insider tip section – imagine trying to browse the Johnny Appleseed Festival in high heels or not pre-registering for the Vera Bradley sale.
Richardson was approached by Reedy Press of St. Louis, an editor of a series of similar city books, to compile the volume on Fort Wayne.
She said Reedy was likely drawn to Fort Wayne because of its growth and location just a short drive from many metropolitan locations in the Midwest.
“You can’t help but look at this market,” she said.
Richardson said she had no trouble finding 100 things – she even has a list of leftovers.
And no one turned her down when she asked for information.
Meeting people and hearing their excitement about being in the book helped her keep going, Richardson said, adding that she had tried many things in the book.
– No, she said, laughing. “None of them were dangerous.”