Christmas on Broadway tree lighting dedicated to late Komets owner

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 10:30 AM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Every year on the Friday before Thanksgiving, the Christmas tree on Broadway lights up and the holiday season begins in Fort Wayne.

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“It’s a special night and it kicks off Christmas,” David Franke said.

For Komets owner David Franke, Christmas on Broadway has a special meaning.

On top of the Komets sponsoring the fireworks every year, David’s late brother Richard, who passed away in July, played a big role in selecting the tree each year.

“Richard was an integral part of the whole promotion, finding the tree is probably the most important,” Franke said.

Organizer Steve Shine, a Fort Wayne attorney, wanted to make sure Richard’s memory lived on by dedicating this year’s tree lighting after him.

“It means a lot to us and I’m sure it would mean a lot to Richard,” Franke said. “For Steve and his partners to do this for Richard, I think it really shows the true friendship they had.”

While David says his brother’s presence will be missed, he’s excited to help provide some holiday joy to the people of Fort Wayne.

“It’s just something we like to do for the community, I mean, we get so much support, the Komets get so much support from the Fort Wayne community and surrounding area, so when we had the opportunity to do this, we jumped at it, and it’s been a lot of fun,” Franke said.