Looking back to 1951 and seeing the changes that have come surrounding the celebration of Christmas since then, it is very interesting that a handful of Christians were motivated to plan an event out of concern for the secularization of how Christmas was celebrated in our community!
That group initiated the first Christ Child Festival at the South Side Market. In 1952, the festival moved to the Memorial Coliseum where it has continued through 2012. The idea of such a festival grew and spread. At one time there were approximately 100 Christ Child Festivals held in cities across America. Over time, many were discontinued. Fort Wayne is the only city we know of that has continued to offer an interdenominational Christian celebration named the Christ Child Festival, free of charge.
Our local festival was attracting crowds of many thousands in the 80's. The attendance declined steadily to a low of 700, but last year was able to attract 10,000! With a growing prayer team, renaming the event to Christmas in the Park, and recruiting people excited about what can be done when Christian churches, businesses, ministries and individuals work together, the hope is to continually improve the quality and ministry of the festival.