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  • Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Erica Stader plays with her 1-year-old daughter Ava Freiburger at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory on Sunday during the fourth annual Mother's Day Downtown.

  • Shirley Wissman and her daughter Kelly Wissman shop Sunday at The Find during Mother’s Day Downtown.

Monday, May 13, 2019 1:00 am

Mothers enjoy annual day downtown

Light rain doesn't stop fun, trolleys

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Despite the short, walkable distance between downtown attractions, Kelsey Edholm's two young daughters Sunday insisted on getting a lift – and not from just any vehicle.

Four trolleys spent about six hours shuttling families to more than three dozen shops, restaurants and venues participating in the fourth annual Mother's Day Downtown, presented by the Downtown Improvement District.

Edholm agreed to the trolley ride, which she thinks her daughters – Katie, 7, and Abby, 4 – remember most from a previous Mother's Day Downtown.

“Oh they love it,” the mother from Leo said, taking shelter under a nook from the afternoon rain.

Rain and cool temperatures aren't ideal conditions for the event, which in previous years had warm, sunny weather, said Rick Zolman, the DID's events and programming manager.

He expected attendance would be down from last year's turnout of 4,500.

Even so, he said, it could have been worse. He noted the rain held off the first three hours. 

“We've had full trolleys,” he said, standing under a tent at the trolley hub at the Allen County Public Library plaza.

Community Transportation Network also operated shuttles with wheelchair accessibility.

Participating locations included Visit Fort Wayne, DeBrand Fine Chocolates, Artlink, The Old Fort, Embassy Theatre and Trinity English Lutheran Church, which welcomed family photographs in its cloister garden. Many sites offered discounts or special offers, such as a free item with a purchase.

The hope is visitors find reason to return, Zolman said.

Jackie Rennie and her companions, Stephanie Rennie and Heather Muncie, waited for a ride under an overhang just outside Creative Women of the World, one of eight sites that shared the popular trolley stop at Wayne and Harrison streets.

“We're still having fun,” Stephanie Rennie said.

“Even if you have to carry an umbrella,” Jackie Rennie added, noting she wanted to go to the event after seeing it advertised.

Farther west on Wayne Street, Emma Browning manned Emmie's Flower Cart, which was keeping busy at its temporary location outside Outer Grace Boutique. Customers could build a bouquet with such varieties as carnations, lilies and larkspur.

“We're still in good spirits, despite the rain,” said Browning, the owner.

asloboda@jg.net