Step Back in Time with “A Walk Down Memory Lane”

Chautauqua Wawasee and the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum are teaming up once again to present the second annual “A Walk Down Memory Lane” event. This free program, open to all ages, takes place on July 20th from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM at the Oakwood Resort in Syracuse.

The event will feature screenings of historic films showcasing Syracuse and Lake Wawasee, including from the Teetor and Rodabaugh families, among others. These cinematic treasures offer a unique glimpse into the lives and landscapes of yesteryear, showcasing how our area has evolved over time.

In addition to the film screenings, attendees will have the opportunity to contribute their own oral histories. Those unable to share their stories at the event can arrange a separate time with the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum to record their recollections.

Don’t miss this chance to immerse yourself in local history, share your stories, and connect with fellow community members. Mark your calendars for July 20th and join us at the Oakwood Resort for an afternoon of nostalgia, laughter, and discovery.
Remember, admission is free, but the memories you’ll make are priceless!

Wanted: Old Home Movies from Syracuse-Wawasee for the “Syracuse/Wawasee Walk Down Memory Lane” project.

Lights, camera, action! Chautauqua-Wawasee and the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum are teaming up for a blockbuster multi-year project to collect and preserve pre-1975 ephemeral films and home movies of the Syracuse and Wawasee area. The project, titled “Syracuse/Wawasee Walk Down Memory Lane”, is on a mission to track down and immortalize historical footage of our beloved community — but they need your help!

The first phase of the project kicked off in April of last year, culminating in a show-stopping premiere of three historic films from Lake Wawasee on July 22nd at the Syracuse Community Center. The program proved popular enough that the project will continue in 2024.”Since last year, we’ve uncovered a treasure trove of new vintage material,” Ann Garceau, the Syracuse Museum’s project mastermind, noted. “In anticipation of this year’s encore on July 20, we’re putting out an all-call for additional video gems!”A glittering showcase of selected footage is scheduled for this summer’s blockbuster event at Oakwood on July 20. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of Syracuse’s cinematic history!

The project is on the hunt for home movies and ephemeral films made locally before 1975 – black and white or color, it doesn’t matter! If you’ve got video materials that could contribute to capturing the Syracuse region’s storied past, give Jamie Clemons a call at 574-457-3599 (Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum), or reach out to Erin Lomax at 574-238-6089 or (Chautauqua-Wawasee).

Let’s make movie magic together!

Introduction to Plein Air Workshop. 

This 3-day workshop will focus on how to create a great landscape. Each day, we will have morning and afternoon demonstrations followed by personal painting time with plenty of one-on-one coaching. 

This 3-day workshop will focus on how to create a great landscape. Each day, we will have morning and afternoon demonstrations followed by personal painting time with plenty of one-on-one coaching. Topics include linear perspective; creating thumbnail sketches; Notan design methods; composition choice; palette and local color choice; the underpainting and how to finish.
Instructors: David M. Seward, an award-winning Plein Air artist and instructor, assisted by David Broerman, founder of NIPAA. Equipment, paint, canvases, and lunch will be provided and limited to 12 participants.
WHEN: May 29, 30 & 31st from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
WHERE: Each day will be located at a different location around Lake Wawasee and Syracuse Lake. COST: $300 for public ($275 for NIPAA members and Kosciusko County residents). Or, you may register for just 1 day for $125. You pick the day at checkout.
Register with Dave Broerman at (260) 417-6197, or simply click HERE.
Taps Across the Water

The annual tribute of Taps Across the Water is set for Sunday, May 26 for Lake Webster, Lake Wawasee, Syracuse, and Papakeechie Lakes. This event honors United States military personnel who died serving in the U.S. Armed Services. Trumpet players are distributed across the lakes and perform an Echo Cascading Rendition of Taps. With a staggered start, Taps is heard across the lakes for nearly four minutes from one side to the other. Participants and attendees share their experiences as reverent, contemplative, and memorable.

Dr. Matt Murdock, an educator who resides in Indianapolis and North Webster, has assembled nearly 40 bugler and trumpet players for two programs, one in North Webster and one in Syracuse. Participating musicians include members of our community and surrounding areas, including veterans, community bands, high school students and music directors, and professional musicians. Dr. Murdock makes the point “We are connected and inspired by Jari Villanueva’s Taps Across America. One of our goals is to bring awareness of the shortage of live trumpet players at military funerals. Jari retired from the U.S. Air Force, where he spent 23 years with the USAF Band in Washington, DC.” Murdock goes on to say, “As educators, it is our responsibility to instill in our students, especially those in high school bands, a sense of obligation to our communities. They may not fully realize the services they provide, whether it’s boosting school spirit at athletic events or fostering community spirit by participating in festivals. This event presents the students an opportunity to promote this experience personally with the intent of continuing community service after graduation.”

North Webster

A Memorial Service is planned for 6:15 p.m. at the Lake Webster Town Park. Participants and sponsors include the American Legion Post #253 and Dixie Sternwheeler. Following the service, musicians leave by pontoon for their designated locations around Lake Webster. Taps will be performed from piers at 6:30 p.m.
Following the Taps remembrance, a Trumpet Ensemble Concert of patriotic music will be performed at 7:00 at the Town Park. The Ensemble is composed of the trumpet players who sounded Taps during the ceremony. After the concert, many of the performers will travel to Syracuse to participate in the Wawasee, Syracuse, and Papakeechie Lakes program.


Chautauqua-Wawasee, Syracuse American Legion Post #223, and approximately 40 trumpet players, are collaborating for a Memorial Day weekend tribute on Lakes Wawasee, Syracuse, and Papakeechie.

The event starts with a trumpet ensemble concert of patriotic music at the Oakwood Resort gazebo on Sunday, May 26, from 8:10 to 8:40. Then the 40 musicians move to their designated locations distributed strategically around the three lakes to play Taps simultaneously at 9:09 pm. We ask that all guests observe one minute of silence at 9:08 p.m.


We are providing these maps as a guide, and ask that you please keep in mind that we put a lot of effort into carefully planning these locations. However, the direction of the wind can sometimes affect how the sound travels, and we’ve been made aware that it can make it difficult to hear. We’d also like to mention that many of our buglers are high school students with busy schedules. We apologize if you miss out on hearing the tribute as planned, but we are sure you can understand that many young people don’t have much control over their schedules and therefore may find themselves in a position in which they would possibly have to choose another obligation over the Taps Across the Water event at the last minute.

We genuinely appreciate your understanding and thank you for your patience, as so many things, including the fact that it’s a busy holiday weekend, can be a factor in hearing (or NOT hearing) this beautiful tribute despite our very best efforts.

Chautauqua-Wawasee is repeating last year’s successful “Lake Wawasee, Then & Now” cruise, narrated by local historian Ann Garceau of the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum.

As Ann shares interesting stories about historic structures that stood around the lake, you will be able to better visualize them with the aid of a provided pamphlet, Then and Now, picturing what you are hearing about while enjoying what is built there now. Among the places that Ann highlights will be the numerous hotels, marinas, entertainment venues, neighborhoods, and historic homes.

This event will sell out so buy your tickets early by clicking HERE!

WHEN: Thursday, September 26, 2024 from 1-3 p.m.

WHERE: The Frog Tavern-1116 South Harkless Drive Syracuse, IN 46567

Boarding begins at 12:45 at The Frog Tavern.

Wawasee Fine Arts Festival at Oakwood
10th annual Wawasee Fine Arts Festival at Oakwood

Chautauqua Wawasee is hosting the 10th annual Wawasee Fine Arts Festival at Oakwood Resort on May 25th, which features a diverse range of fine art including pottery, watercolor, oil painting, jewelry, and specialty art made from natural materials such as wood, glass, or metal to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces. This year, the number of artists has grown to 35, ensuring there will be plenty to see in 2024! All art has been juried to ensure suitability for this event. We strive to provide “fine art” products from true artisans, so you’ll be sure to find that perfect treasure to take home. Many of the designs reflect a Lake setting.

New this year is a Plein Air “paint out” sponsored by the Northern Indiana Plein Air Artists Association. Plein Air is the act of painting outdoors; the concept of landscape portraiture by which the artist paints directly onto canvas at the location of the landscape. These will all be paintings of the Syracuse/Wawasee area, and paintings made available for sale after awards are judged at 4:00 pm. For more information, please click HERE.

The festival will take place outdoors (rain or shine) in a beautiful lakefront park setting at Oakwood Resort in Syracuse, Indiana. Various activities, both recreational and artistic are available for children, so we encourage you to bring the whole family along to enjoy the day as there will be something for everyone.

Food and drinks will be available from on-site vendors or you may visit Oakwood’s Pier & Back Porch Restaurant. J-N-B Smokers, a BBQ food truck, is available as well as, popcorn, and ice cream by Sprinkle Express to cool off.

What: Wawasee Fine Art Festival at Oakwood
When: May 25, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Where: Oakwood Resort, Syracuse, Indiana
Cost: FREE to attend

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WACF Earth Day Festival

Love Nature?  Love butterflies?  Plan to join Chautauqua Wawasee for Earth Day at the Wawasee Area Conservancy (WACF).

We need your help!  Be sure to visit our interactive booth to learn how to help save the Monarch butterfly! Plan to learn from the butterfly lady herself, Cindy Gackenheimer, Flutterby Gardens, Claypool, Indiana as she shares about the metamorphosis of a butterfly, the Monarch migration pattern this year, and practical steps you can take to help the Monarch.

We have a very kid-friendly, hands-on learning experience where we’ll have a migration game attendees can play, a special craft that involves stamping the butterfly life cycle on a take-home canvas bag.  Take home some free pollinator seeds to plant, which encourage butterflies in your garden or landscape, and attract fluttering friends for years to come!

Please click HERE for a link to visit the WACF and learn more about this event.


When: Saturday, May 4th, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Where: Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation l  11586 IN-13, Syracuse, IN

Cost: FREE!



Super Star Shanna Zolman Mahaley Returns to Syracuse

The Wawasee High School graduate, who went on to star at the University of Tennessee and into the WNBA, is returning to Syracuse on May 7 for two programs at Wawasee High School. In the morning she will speak at a student assembly. Then, at 7 p.m., she will speak at a Chautauqua Wawasee-sponsored event, free and open to the public in the high school gymnasium. Active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Shanna will discuss her ministry, mentoring, and faith journey.

While playing for Wawasee, the Warriors went 74-19 during that stretch as Zolman led the state in scoring all four years as the team played in front of packed gyms throughout the area. She finished her career as an All-American, the Indiana Miss Basketball winner, co-MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game, and at that time the state’s all-time leading scorer for girls with 3,085 career points. Following an outstanding career at the University of Tennessee, where she ranks ninth in career scoring, Zolman played four seasons in the WNBA with the San Antonio Silver Stars and Tulsa Shock, averaging 7.9 points and shooting 41 percent from the 3-point line. Two knee injuries cut her playing career short.

She now lives in the Seattle area and works in ministry and mentoring with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “I’m trying to share my passion and love of Jesus,” she said. “That’s what makes me click. I really enjoy speaking around the country and sharing my passion and experiences. That’s where my focus is right now.” “I will be coming to share about the ministry God has me involved in around the Seattle area through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes,” Zolman said. “I will also be sharing how He has been working in and through me while using my basketball experiences as a platform to share and connect with others.

The event is free to attend, 7 – 8 p.m. at the Wawasee High School gymnasium in Syracuse.

It is remarkable how little many Hoosiers know about the history of our state and the amazing people it has spawned. Some of the greatest athletes, composers, entertainers, entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders, musicians, philanthropists, politicians, preachers, public servants, scientists, teachers, and writers in U.S. history were nurtured by this soil.  Chautauqua-Wawasee has embarked on an annual series to highlight Hoosiers who have impacted America. John Wooden will lead off this series with a presentation by Dr. Richard Gunderman, author of the book “Hoosier Beacons”. When you hear his presentation, you will be amazed at the nature and accomplishments of the man discussed and you will want to be a better person by simply hearing about Wooden’s long and successful life.

WHEN: July 13, 2024, beginning with refreshments at 4:30 PM followed by the presentation from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

WHERE: Oakwood Resort, located at 702 E. Lake View Road, Syracuse Indiana.

COST: FREE to attend!

Ben Franklin: In His Own Words

Ask Ben Franklin: In His Own Words

As part of Chautauqua’s annual Patriotic Speaker Series, the 2024 program will feature American patriot Ben Franklin. The performance will feature professional actor Barry Stevens as Ben Franklin. Meet and discuss events with this man, the most famous man in America at the time he lived. Franklin has a long list of accomplishments: printer, inventor (the Franklin stove, of course, the armonica, the lightning rod and an odometer, to name a few), scientist, politician, musician, postmaster, satirist and founder of the University of Pennsylvania and the first fire department in the colonies. In fact, Stevens says, Franklin is considered the “patron saint” of fire departments. As he traveled to locations throughout the Colonies, he was known as Dr. Franklin, and even traveled to Paris, France.

Barry Stevens has been presenting Benjamin Franklin while participating as a member of a company of Revolutionary War re-enactors since 2005. The performer has requested attendees to come with questions to “Ask Ben” which allows him to share historical information and anecdotes.

The performance is on June 30 from 4:30-5:30 at the Wawasee High School auditorium, in Syracuse Indiana. The program is free to attend.
Also in Syracuse, at 7:30, the annual Patriotic Pops concert by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra is performed on the lawn at Oakwood Resort.

Stop by the Chautauqua tent for a free flag and glow light. Attendance is free for this family-friendly event.
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