‘I think he likes the green’

March 17, 2019

Green River. It’s not just a Creedence Clearwater Revival song.

It’s also an annual event in Fort Wayne. And Aiden Schweitzer was right in the middle of it Saturday.

The 9-year-old stood a few minutes after 11 a.m. with a few dozen onlookers on the Carole Lombard Memorial Bridge on West Main Street as gallons of green vegetable dye flowed from fire hoses off the bridge and into the St. Marys River. The River Greening is part of Get Green Fest, a family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day celebration run by the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters.

Aiden and others watching the greening were sprayed as wind gusts redirected some of the environmentally friendly dye back onto the bridge, but he didn’t mind.

“I get to see the colors in the river,” he said when asked about his favorite part of the event.

In a parking lot adjacent to the bridge, children jumped inside a bounce house and hungry festival-goers waited in line for food from vendors who lined the lot near the riverbank. Inside a large white tent, a leprechaun dropped gold coins for children to collect, a DJ played music, a Lucky Charms eating contest was held and green beer flowed like water.

It was the day before St. Paddy’s, but nearly everyone wore green.

Shane Wagaman stood with friends at a table outside the tent. Clearly, this wasn’t his first St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Wearing a kilt, a beard dyed green and a bright kelly green shirt to match, the 45-year-old Fort Wayne resident guessed he’s been celebrating the Irish saint over 20 years.

“It’s a holiday that you celebrate between all the other holidays,” he said.

Leslie and Phil Score took in the festivities with their son Max, 5.

“I think he likes the green,” Leslie Score said of her son, who was too shy to talk to a reporter. “He likes the shamrocks a lot.”

Get Green Fest began with the 5-Kilt Run/Walk, and Erin Edwards, 29, used the athletic event as a way to work toward a goal: Running in a mini-marathon in a few months.

“This is kind of a steppingstone,” she said.

It was Edwards’ first run at the festival, but it was not her first time enjoying the holiday. She said she used to serve beer at local celebrations.

“This is my first one as a civilian,” Edwards said with a laugh.