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Top 10 Fort Wayne date ideas

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Looking for love

♦Friday: Breaking up is hard to do.

What do they have in common? They let you get to know someone.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 11:14 am

You know you're in trouble when you go to a Web site that lists the 10 best things to do in any selected city ... and under Fort Wayne, it has only five listings (and I wouldn't be caught dead taking a true lady to three out of five of those).

But to give the editors of www.10best.com a break, I ask, can you come up with 10 things to do for a date in the Fort?

I wasn't sure if I could myself. But I decided to give it a try and as Day 4 in our six-day series on “Lookin' for Love in the Fort,” I would see if I could come up with at least 10 decent date ideas.

Since I don't actually live in Fort Wayne (I only work and play here), and in order to give the city a fighting chance to make the grade, I asked my single male and female friends for some help (even some married ones, since they need to have some fun every now and then, too, right?).

As I expected, they all laughed, knowing how daunting a task this would be, but they agreed to help me. And I think among us all, we may have actually come up with 10 decent date ideas in the Fort — and one of my personal favorite options close by for extra credit.

These ideas are not really the best for that all-important “first date.” Nothing can beat the old tried-and-true “let's get together for lunch or coffee” for that initial get-together. After all, the goal of that first date is just to see if there is enough interest, spark and chemistry from both people to invest the required time for a second date.

Why is meeting for lunch or coffee the perfect first-meeting situation? You might be surprised how fast you can order, consume and pay for a meal if the person sitting across from you just doesn't spark your interest. On the other hand, if things start to click, there's always room for dessert to extend the experience.

Either way, after that first brief meeting, the next few dates should be about getting to know the other person. So creating a situation where comfortable conversation can occur is paramount.

And that is why you should never say, “How about dinner and a movie?” Sitting in a darkened room for two hours watching a movie does not offer the opportunity to create any conversation. That's why you won't find “dinner and a movie” on our top 10 date ideas for Fort Wayne.

1. Eight-ball in the corner pocket

Nothing sparks the conversation more than making a friendly bet about being able to make a combo-shot (2 ball into the 5 into the side pocket). And if the date is going well, the stakes in the game can always be raised (winner gets choice). But, remember, it's about the conversation — not the competition.

2. Celebrating life

During summer and fall, Fort Wayne and the surrounding areas have more regional festival events than you can shake a stick at. How about a day at the Three Rivers Festival, Johnny Appleseed Festival, Germanfest, Hispanic Heritage Festival, Ribfest, Muddy River Run or the 4-H Fair? Check out www.visit for more local festival events.

3. Classics at the coliseum

In a similar vein, Memorial Coliseum is never short of events. Looking at a huge tractor tire or obnoxiously large RV may not appear to be the most romantic event, but you might be surprised at the topics of conversation created. And exactly how many patterns are there at a Vera Bradley sale? Check out the Coliseum's Web site at www.memorialcoliseum.com for such events as the Home and Garden Show, RV Show and Boat Show.

4. Retro rolling

A little self-humiliation is always good to get the conversation rolling. And there is nothing more humbling than the first few minutes after lacing up either a pair of roller skates or bowling shoes. And whether you're bowling or skating, something is bound to fall down.

5. Live tunes

A glass of wine - or a cup of coffee - and an evening of live music: Yes, there are several options for getting to know one another while listening to music. Try Club Soda, Mid-City Grill, the Neon Armadillo, Triangle Park or the Anchor Room.

6. A rose by any other name

There are several beautiful parks around Fort Wayne, but if you really want to test the waters of romance, plan a picnic at Lakeside Park and Rose Garden, and see what blooms. Either an impromptu pizza on a blanket or a carefully planned lunch is sure to please.

7. Around the track after the back nine

Worried about your insurance rates going up, guys, if the date turns into something long-term? Then better see early on if she can drive by putting her behind the wheel of a go-kart at Putt-Putt Golf and Games. But let her beat you at a game of Putt-Putt first.

8. Lions and tigers and bears

Me, Tarzan! You ... Jane? Take a walk on the wild side and get your date cracking up as you show off your knowledge of animal behavior by communicating with your primate nephew (making you a monkey's uncle) at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. But remember, it is a children's zoo; no need to be a wild beast.

9. A little highbrow

Although not teeming with a huge number of museums, the city does offer several nice choices, such as the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Science Central and the Lincoln Museum. And there is always something going on at Cinema Center, First Presbyterian Church (art gallery and theater), Foellinger Outdoor Theatre, IPFW Department of Theatre, Embassy Theatre or Scottish Rite Center.

10. Take me out to the ballgame

Sometimes the margin of victory is more important than whether your team wins or loses. Just be careful not to collect a personal foul due to any incidental or unsportsmanlike conduct. Fort Wayne has no shortage of opportunities to test your date's competitive nature by attending a sporting event. Grab two tickets to the Mad Ants, Komets, an IPFW event or even a high school ballgame.

... And for extra credit An evening under and with the stars

Imagine a drive with the top down on a warm summer evening. A short 40-minute drive with the opportunity for some pleasant conversation. And to top it all off — dinner and a movie under the stars at the Huntington Drive-In, www.huntingtondrivein.com. (OK, so I lied, dinner and a movie can be a good date idea, but it is a different kind of movie).

Dorsey Price III is editorial systems manager for The News-Sentinel.