By Nicholette Carlson
The Wawasee Winter Carnival is back with even more fun festivities for the whole family on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26.
A soup supper sponsored by the Wawasee Kiwanis will start things off from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, at the Syracuse Community Center. There will also be a soup competition with winners based on the preparer in the categories individual, business, restaurant and nonprofit organization as well as an overall winner. Those wishing to compete should register on the Wawasee Kiwanis website, prepare five gallons of soup and take it to the community center by 4:30 p.m. Friday. To taste and vote on the delicious soups costs $6 per person.
This will be followed by the revival of the Winter Carnival Dance by Chautauqua-Wawasee at the Oakwood event center from 8 to 11 p.m. The dance is a masquerade ball and The Hubie Ashcraft Band will be providing the entertainment. Tickets are available on the event’s Facebook page.
Start off your Saturday, Jan. 26, morning with the annual Wawasee Winter Warm-Up 5K beginning at 8 a.m. at the old Syracuse Elementary School. This is a chip timed race on the roads of Syracuse and ends at the old elementary school where hot chocolate and snacks await the participants. Pre-registration is $15, while registration the day of the event is $20. Prizes will be awarded to the fastest runner in the following age categories: age 50 and older male and female, adults 16 to 49 years old male and female and youth 15 years of age and younger male and female. The fastest man and woman overall will also be awarded prizes.
For those who have worked up an appetite, breakfast will be served at the Syracuse Public Library. There will be a wide variety including biscuits and gravy, french toast, egg and cheese casserole, fruit salad, sausage, potatoes, coffee, orange juice and tea. After enjoying a hearty breakfast, shop the library’s book sale.
Head over to the Oakwood event center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ice carving demonstrations will entertain as they make ice come to life. There will also be a princess meet and greet with Frozen’s Anna and Elsa, family games, a magician, a winter craft, balloon animals courtesy of Pipsqueak and Clarabelle and a hot cocoa bar. Sleigh rides will be available outside to take visitors around the beautiful Oakwood grounds thanks to Cornelius Carriages. S’mores stations can be found on the ball field.
Convinced you have the best looking beard? Compete against other beards to win a trophy for “Longest Beard” and “Best Styled Beard.” Registration is $10 and will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the beach. Competition begins at 1 p.m. on the event center stage with all proceeds going to Chautauqua Wawasee.
Dive in to this year’s “Fire and Ice” polar plunge at Oakwood Park during the winter carnival. Check in to take the plunge will be at 11:30 a.m. at the beach. The cost is $15 for an individual or $50 for a team of six with participants needing to be at least 18 years old. Everyone will take the plunge at noon. There will be prizes for the best individual and team costumes. All proceeds will benefit the Turkey Creek Fire Department.
Afterward warm up with some food and live entertainment at The Pier and Back Porch. A chili and grilled cheese buffet will be the lunch special for the day until 4 p.m. SoulShot featuring John Kirkwood will be playing from noon to 4 p.m.
Visit the ball field at 12:30 p.m. to meet some friendly sled dogs. At 1 p.m. the sled dogs will demonstrate their skills for the public.
Due to the warmer weather, the snowmobile drag races have been rescheduled to Saturday, Feb. 2. The ice fishing derby is currently still planned but has an alternate date of Saturday, Feb. 9. Check the Wawasee Winter Carnival Facebook page or InkFreeNews.com for changes.