Moms find plenty to do downtown – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

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Discounts, drinks and freebies were among the goodies nearly three dozen attractions offered Sunday to help lure moms and their families to the Mother’s Day Downtown event, but Mother Nature seemed to trump those incentives with sunshine and warm temperatures.

“It’d be a crime to sit at home,” said Teri Cocklin, who attended the festivities with her daughter Nicole Cocklin.

Standing in the sun along West Wayne Street, the duo consulted the event map to determine their next stop.

Mother’s Day Downtown featured 34 participating sites – a mix of eateries, shops and entertainment venues – that visitors could travel to by foot or by trolley, an appealing mode of transportation to at least one person.

“He was excited about riding the trolley,” Jennyfer Balkema said of her 3-year-old son, Landry.

He also found a place at the Mad Hatter’s tea party co-hosted by Emiley’s Haute Cottage and Serendipitous, which share a West Wayne Street address. Balkema watched as he and another child played outside with a tea set containing imaginary drinks and food as others helped themselves to the nearby jugs of fruit-infused water.

Balkema summed up the event as a “fun, free excursion” that let her and friend Ruth Minkoff visit shops they’ve wanted to visit. Minkoff said she especially wanted to visit Smiley’s Joy on West Wayne Street, which has hours that conflict with her schedule.

Smiley’s Joy, among other stores, is usually closed Sunday but opened specifically for Mother’s Day Downtown.

“Trolley days are always the busiest days,” said Cathy Smiley, who owns the shop with her husband.

Liz Day, co-owner of neighboring business Outer Grace Boutique, said Sunday’s event brought many new and returning customers to the store, which offered a 10 percent discount on regularly priced items.

Cindi Odle and her mother, Janet Meyer, were flipping through a rack of clothes at Outer Grace after starting the afternoon at Cinema Center for a showing of “Mommie Dearest.”

“And free mimosas,” Meyer said, referencing Cinema Center’s treat for moms.

While shops offered opportunities to buy Mother’s Day gifts, the Allen County Public Library gave children a chance to create handmade cards and other crafts.

Veronica Anderson stood alongside her nephew Jayveen Weemes, 5, and daughters Sayah, 6, and Mikala Anderson, 8, as they worked.

They often visit the library, she said, complimenting the children’s programming.

“They really enjoy it,” she said.

asloboda@jg.net