Chautauqua Wawasee celebrates 130 years of the Oakwood Park tradition.

For the past 12 years, Chautauqua Wawasee has offered life-enriching programs while continuing the 130-year Oakwood Park tradition. In 1893, Oakwood Park became a permanent camp meeting ground when purchased by the Indiana Conference of the Evangelical Church, succeeded by the Evangelical United Brethren Church and later the United Methodist Church. James S. Hook, the author of Oakwood’s First Century 1893-1993, said that the history of Oakwood Park is about “lives changed, lives enriched, vows made, relationships developed, dreams encouraged, hopes renewed, prayers said and the spiritual experienced.”

With the philanthropic commitment of Howard Brembeck, in 1993 the Oakwood Foundation received Oakwood Park’s hotel and other properties. The Foundation continued Oakwood Park’s long tradition as a recreational, cultural, and spiritual retreat center. Falling upon difficult financial times, the Foundation was placed into receivership from which the hotel and other properties were sold. During this time, the Oakwood Park tradition began its third life with the creation of Chautauqua Wawasee.

Lake Wawasee resident Ann Strong Wade was familiar with the Chautauqua Institution in New York, which also started as a Methodist church camp in 1874 and has its own traditions based upon four pillars (arts, education, religion, and recreation). At this time, Ann envisioned the possibility of having a Chautauqua-like organization in Syracuse and founded Chautauqua Wawasee. After three years of planning with the support of the receiver, Ann’s vision became a reality in 2011, with 14 events held over two weekends. In 2014, Chautauqua Wawasee was merged with the Oakwood Foundation as an independent non-profit organization. Ann has served on the organization’s board of directors since then.

Ann Strong Wade

Over the past 12 years, Chautauqua Wawasee has hosted or participated in over 120 programs. Events are based upon the four Chautauqua pillars with a mission to help make Syracuse and the region a great place to visit, live, work and raise a family. Chautauqua Wawasee adds new programs every year, reviews participant’s feedback, and maintains favorite past events including core programs such as the Oakwood Fine Art Festival, Patriotic Speaker series and Patriotic Pops concert, local history series, and Old-Fashioned Christmas.

The following is a list of all events over the past 12 years:

7/1 Children’s choir, balloon glow
7/2 Balloon race, flotilla run, Wawasee Days speaker, Ft. Wayne Philharmonic
7/3 Worship service, community picnic, Reimagining America program
7/16 Wawasee Days speaker, music performance
7/17 Worship service, Reimagining America program, campfire/sing along

7/19 Artistic evenings – Larry Rudolech
7/21 Hobby shop for children
7/21 The Ground Up – Jack Elam
7/22 Neighbors in our World series, Quaker religion – Jim McAdams
7/26 Artistic evenings – Douglas Grant
7/28 Hobby shop for children
7/28 Show N Tell
7/29 Neighbors in our World series, Amish faith – Susan Miller

7/21 Grassroots peacemaking in the Middle East from a Christian perspective-John Lapp
7/28 Muslim-Christian dialogue – Amir J. Tamir Rasheed & Dr. Terry Anderson, facilitated by Dr. L Michael Spath
8/4 How people of different faiths can work together for the common good – Dr. Kent Millard

5/30 Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Experience
6/28 Art Blast
6/28 Ft. Wayne Philharmonic Patriotic Pops Concert
7/4 Flotilla Road Race
7/7-7/11 Chautauqua Week
7/7 Past, present & preservation adventure, two-piano recital with dynamic duo Marianne Tobias and Anita Cast.
7/8 Peace pole project, Creative Fish, finding peace while searching for God – Rev. John Denson, Lunch & lecture with Ron Manahan, Knitting 101, Jazz performance with Kevin Piekarski & Dave Latchaw.
7/9 Building for tomorrow – George Srour, lunch & lecture – Dr. Welling Hall, Felted Flowers with Michelle, Sons of Bill outdoor concert
7/10 Peace pole project, Creative Fish (part 2), Is peace possible – R. Scott Appleby, Lunch & lecture Jim Brennaman, needle fleeting with Michelle, The Schmidts & First Love performance
7/11 Interfaith lecture, the religious scientific dialogue: how to debate ideas, Frank Levinson, Nate Bosch, Brian Murphy, Past, Present & preservation adventure Lillypad cruise – part 2
7/11-13 Paint Out
7/12 Tour Des Lakes Cycling
7/26 Hope Floats – Cardboard Boat Regatta
9/6 Oakwood Fine Arts Festival
10/11 OAKtoberfest

4/23 The promise and peril of human enhancement: will technology put an end to disability?
5/22 Josh Kaufman in concert
6/16 Learn what motivates and gives you meaning: the power of archetypes
7/5 Ft. Wayne Philharmonic concert
7/11 Tour des Lakes Cycling Adventure

7/23 Chautauqua on the Lawn: Multicultural musical experience with saxophonist George Wolfe & pianist James Helton
8/15 Holly Combs: Don’t label me!
9/12 Oakwood Fine Arts Festival
10/3 OAKtoberfest
10/11-13 Finding spiritual gold in the second half of life with Kaye Lindauer

4/15 Purdue Varsity Glee Club performance
5/27 Wine, Cheese & Chocolate experience
6/28 Ft. Wayne Philharmonic concert
7/4 Flotilla Road Race
7/9 Tour des Lakes
8/27 Oakwood Fine Arts Festival

4/10-15 RemedyLive schooled tour
5/15-20 Family series week
6/2 Wine, Cheese & Chocolate experience
6/5-8 Teen Comedy Improv camp
7/2 Ft. Wayne Philharmonic pops concert
7/4 Flotilla road race
7/6-7 iPhone photography seminar
8/26 Oakwood Fine Arts Festival
10/13 Purdue Varsity Glee Club
10/15 Lillypad Fall Color Tour
10/15-19 Chautauqua week
11/7 1 st Annual Chautauqua celebration

4/16 Bruised reeds & smoldering wicks – Chris Haughee
6/27 Ft. Wayne Philharmonic Patriotic concert
6/30 Oakwood SummerFest
7/13-15 Plein air painting
8/24 Art festival – wine reception
8/25 Oakwood fine arts festival
9/7-9 1 st annual Wawasee jazz party
10/1 Celebrate Chautauqua banquet
10/19 Funny & Alone – Bobby Bones
10/20 You’re not alone – Becky Savage

1/25 Winter Carnival Dance.
1/25-6 Winter Carnival

3/15 Zumba Party Oakwood Banquet Hall
3/15 Preventing Loss -Drug Prevention Program to Four High Schools convocations.
5/23 LillyPad Wawasee Cruise.
6/22 Oakwood Fine Arts Festival
6/15 Patriotic Pops Concert
9/5 Algonquin inhabitants of Indiana’s Forest – Joe Krom
9/6 Prehistory of northeast Indiana and the Midwest – Steve Hart
9/7 J.P. Dolan Native American Collection – Jamie Clemons, Ann Garceau, Jeff Mesaros
10/15 LillyPad Fall Color Tour
11/15 Being Mortal book discussion – Atul Gawande
11/30 Old-fashioned Christmas

1/24 The Book of Joy book discussion
2/8 Gardening in the face of a changing climate
2/20 Chair yoga for seniors
6/28 Patriotic pops concert (canceled due to covid)
7/30 Enhanced fitness for seniors with Parkview Y (canceled)
7/31 Historical “Then and Now” Lake Wawasee cruise
8/15 Oakwood fine arts festival
8/26 Mapping Indiana’s suffrage history
8/29 Woman’s suffrage centennial ice cream social
9/3 Elm bark canoe construction
9/4 Native American artifacts (weapons, tools & more)
9/5 Legends, lore & legacies of Northeast Indians
9/5 Hoosier suffragists who raised a ruckus
10/10 Lake Wawasee “Did you know?” fall cruise
10/23 Purdue Varsity Glee Club (canceled)
10/27 Fall prevention with Parkview Health (canceled)
11/28 Old Fashioned Christmas (canceled)

4/24 Gardening in the face of a changing climate – John Edgerton
5/1 WACF’s earth day
5/20 Historical Lake Wawasee cruise
5/30 Taps across the water
6/12 Oakwood Wawasee fine arts festival
6/27 Chautauqua patriot’s day: Abraham Lincoln talk
6/27 Chautauqua patriot’s day: Ft. Wayne Philharmonic pops concert
7/15 Lake fun
8/7 Chautauqua lakes film festival
9/2 Native American history of Northern Indiana
9/3 Kosciusko County: Paleo to Potawatomi
9/4 Native American history

10/6 Resurrection Peacemaking: Are we bold enough? – Cliff Kindy
10/7 “Then & Now” Lake Wawasee historical cruise
11/27 Old-fashioned Christmas

4/22 Purdue Varsity Glee Club
4/30 WACF earth day
5/19 Lake Wawasee “points of interest” historical cruise
5/29 Taps across the water as dusk
6/26 Patriot’s Day talk-Thomas Jefferson
6/26 Patriot’s Day pops concert – Ft. Wayne Philharmonic
8/6 Family fun film festival
9/1 Using maps to unlock the past
9/2 Reenacting Richard Stone’s journal
9/3 Northern Indiana history
9/27-29 Chautauqua trails annual meeting
9/28 Kindy workshop
9/29 Lake Wawasee “Then & Now” historical cruise
11/26 Old-fashioned Christmas