Text by RAY BALOGH
Photos by KEITH KNEPP
Despite Mother Nature’s reluctance to cooperate, Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitor Commission and Lakeland Youth Center have planned another Wawasee Winter Carnival jammed with family activities to be enjoyed by young and old alike.
The festival will begin with a soup supper fundraiser Friday evening, Jan. 24, and will continue with activities during the day Saturday, Jan. 25.
Kiwanis Soup Supper
Wawasee Kiwanis Club will sponsor its 11th annual soup supper from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Syracuse Community Center, 1013 N. Long Drive.
“The event proceeds benefit Riley Children’s Hospital and several local youth related charities,” said Alexis Mast, soup supper chairperson. The cost is $6 per person and “a wide selection of desserts will be available for purchase as well,” she said.
The event, which typically draws 250-300 people, will include a silent auction.
Mast said she is still receiving registration forms, but estimates having “between 14 to 18 soups” on which patrons can vote in the individual, business, restaurant and nonprofit categories. An overall winner will also be chosen.
“If anyone would like to prepare a soup and participate in the event, they can go to www.wawaseekiwanis.org to download a registration form or stop by the community center to pick one up,” said Mast.
For more information, call Mast at (260) 215-7089. All of Saturday’s events will take place on the grounds of Oakwood Resort and Conference Center, 702 E. Lake View Road, Syracuse.
The day’s activities will kick off with the Winter Warm Up 5K race at 8 a.m. Registration will start at 7 a.m. in the Event Center lobby. Participants may sign up at www.runsignup.com/race/in/syracuse/winterwarmup or the day of the race. The cost is $15 in advance or $20 after Wednesday, Jan. 22.
The race will start and end at the hotel. Prizes will be awarded in six categories: experienced adult male — and female — 50 years and older, male and female aged 16-49 and male and female 15 and under.
Dr. Ceri Myers of Dynamic Spine in Syracuse will provide soft tissue manipulation and stretching in the Event Center before and after the race. Proceeds will benefit the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail.
A variety of family activities will be available for free to the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside and outside the Event Center.
Activities include ice carving and glass blowing demonstrations, face painting, hot cocoa bar, photo opportunities with live animals, carnival games and popcorn courtesy of RE/MAX. Children’s favorites Clarabell and Pipsqueak will make balloon animals.
The local Boy Scouts will hand out s’mores around fire rings where attendees can warm up between activities. Children can meet Elsa and Anna from “Frozen.”
Heating stations will be available for those awaiting a 10- to 15-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride around the 27-acre Oakwood property. Pickup and dropoff will take place in the Event Center parking lot.
Inside the Event Center, vendors will be selling snacks and crafts such as stuffed animals similar to Build-A-Bear. Outside, patrons can purchase items from the Wire & Steam Coffee Co. truck or Roll-N SMOKE BBQ food truck.
At 12:30 p.m. sled dogs will be available for a meet and greet, followed by a demonstration at 1 p.m. at the Oakwood ball field. DJ Jeremy Van Lue will provide a mixture of music through the Wawasee Warrior radio station, 93.7 FM, throughout the family activity time.
The public is invited to participate in the Fire and Ice Polar Plunge fundraiser at Oakwood Beach. Registration in the hotel lobby area will begin at 11:30 a.m. and the plunge will commence at noon. The cost is $15 for individuals and $50 for teams up to six members.
Prizes will be awarded for the best individual and team costumes. Participants must be 18 or older. Proceeds will go to the Turkey Creek Fire Department.
Popular local band SoulShot, featuring John Kirkwood, will perform from 1 to 4 p.m. in The Pier Bar, located on the ground floor of the hotel.
The annual ice fishing tournament has been rescheduled to Saturday, Feb. 22, weather permitting, and the snowmobile races are canceled.
For more information, call Cassie Correll, event coordinator, at (574) 457-3055 or visit www.facebook.com/wawaseewinter.