Chautauqua-Wawasee invites you to apply to our juried fine arts festival. To apply as an exhibiting artist, please complete the application by May 1, 2023, or take advantage of the Early Bird Discount and submit your application prior to April 1, 2023. 

Booth space: 12’x12’ $125 per space, plus $25 application/jury fee (per medium).

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: $100 per space, plus $25 application/jury fee if received by April 1, 2023.

• Artists will be considered pre-juried if they were juried for any previous Wawasee Fine Arts Festival and will be displaying the same medium in the 2023 Festival. Only juried artwork will be allowed to be exhibited.

• Artist set-up on Saturday, May 27th begins at 6:00 a.m. Booth set-up MUST be complete by 8:30 a.m., and please allow yourself enough time to be completely torn down by 5:00 p.m. You will be able to drive right up to your booth area to set up and tear down, however, we ask that you PLEASE have your cars off the lawn at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the festival (8:45 a.m.)!

• Early set-up on Friday, May 26th is available from 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Because of other events held at Oakwood, it is very important that we stick to these times.

• All artists will transact their own sales and are responsible for complying with state and local sales tax regulations.

• White tents are preferred but not required.

• Special needs requests will be accepted but not guaranteed.

• Cancellations must be made in written form (mail or email). Cancellations prior to May 15th, 2023 will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be made for any act of God, local authority or weather-related cancellations of the event.

• Volunteer booth sitters will be available for your short-term needs / breaks.

• Wawasee Fine Arts Festival at Oakwood takes place rain or shine.

• No security for Friday night setup.

• Sorry, no access to electricity is available


Art Festival Application 2023

Devin Van Lue BSU Singers

Local Ball State University Singer Devin Van Lue shares his love of music.
By Devin Van Lue

My musical background began at Syracuse Elementary School with my music mentor, Kris Stump. Mrs. Stump offered me the role of a mouse in Wawasee High School’s production of “Cinderella.” From then on, I was involved with Wawasee Performing Arts as a lighting and sound operator, backstage crew, ensemble, and in leading roles. My most memorable role was playing Prince Eric in our production of “The Little Mermaid” this past spring. Mrs. Stump offered me the opportunity to play in Wawasee High Schools’ Marching Band. I played in the front ensemble, marched in the percussion battery, and served as a drum major for three years. I also played percussion and saxophone for Pep Band and Concert Band. In my freshman year, I auditioned for Vocal Motion, Wawasee’s top show choir. Music was a large part of my education at Wawasee, but It wasn’t all I did. I was also a member of the Key Club, Student Council, Drama Club, The International Thespian Society, National Honor Society, Boy Scouts, and Relay for Life. Being a part of all these programs made me into the man that I am today. I thoroughly enjoyed every program I was involved in. The programs gave me inspiration for choosing my future career as a music educator. These groups allowed me to grow as a leader and a student which tremendously prepared me for college.

When I first toured Ball State University, I heard of the Ball State University Singers, and I was excited to audition this past spring. I did not receive the chance to be in show choir all the way through high school, so I knew that this was something I wanted to do. The audition process was super easy but also intimidating. This past April, we were asked to prepare two songs, one upbeat and one slow. We sang our pieces in front of the director and all previous cast members. Following the singing portion of our audition, we then learned a dance with the dance captains and had to perform the song with choreography. My voice teacher, Shannon Rose, also attended my auditions and greatly helped me prepare for this. It wasn’t until June 16th that I learned I was a member of the Ball State University Singers. I was so excited to make this group because I knew it was going to be my favorite part of college. The director sent out an email to all the members that made the group that day. I was thrilled to get the news and I couldn’t wait to share it with my family and friends.

 The Ball State University Singers is currently in its 59th cast and is recognized as Indiana’s Official Goodwill Ambassadors singing songs of faith, hope, laughter, and love. These four pillars make up the foundation of the Ball State University Singers and our directors encourage us to follow these pillars in our everyday life. We as singers are expected to rehearse at least twice a week for several hours. We travel all over the state to run clinics with high school show choirs and we perform for Ball State and other community events. We prepare music with our theme of faith, hope, laughter, and love throughout the entire year. We will learn our music and the choreography that goes with it. All the music we prepare stays in our repertoire leading up to our annual Spectacular performance in April.

I was extremely blessed to be a part of this amazing cast. BSU Singers has transformed my college experience into an amazing one. I am honored to be able to represent the talent at Wawasee at a collegiate level. I plan to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in vocal and instrumental music education. I choose this degree because of my true passion for music and the amazing educators that got me to this point. Kris Stump, Shannon Rose, Connie Meadows, and Toni Pawlicki taught and trained me into the performer that I am today and for that, I am truly grateful. I could not have received this opportunity without their love and support. Being a member of the BSU Singers has given me more passion for pursuing this degree because of the amount of joy that is spread through this group. From a glee club member to an audience, everyone is in for a spectacular show. There is a treat for everyone throughout the entire performance sharing our faith, hope, laughter, and love. Here at Ball State, I was instantly surrounded by loving people pursuing their dreams. This made getting adjusted to college much easier. Along with the Ball State University Singers, I also participate in Concert Choir and Cardinal Chorus. These programs train us in an exciting way to be a performer of skill and consistency. During our performance, our audience will be thrilled with all sorts of music ranging from pop to musical theater. Following our performance, the glee club will be outside the auditorium to meet and greet. We would love to share with you more information on the group and future performances. I could not be where I am today without the support of my amazing community. We hope you enjoy the performance.


*Reprinted with the permission of the Mail-Journal.

Join us for a powerful celebration of faith, hope, laughter and love with a sparkling performance from the Ball State University Singers showcasing music that is encouraging, uplifting, and inspiring!

Friday February 10th, 6pm-7:30pm
Wawasee High School Auditorium
1 Warrior Path, Syracuse

General admission seats and VIP seating is available.

Click HERE to purchase tickets.

Five Things You Should Know About Chautauqua-Wawasee

The Mail-Journal recently sat down with Mark Knecht, the President of Chautauqua-Wawasee, to talk about their organization and future plans.

Mail-Journal: What do you want readers to know about Chautauqua?

Knecht: Well, a lot of people don’t know who we are and what we do, so that would be a good place to start.

Mail-Journal: Ok, let’s start with that.

Knecht: Our primary goal is to help make Syracuse and the region a great place to visit, work, live and raise a family. We try to do this by offering unique programs consistent with the four Chautauqua pillars: Arts, Education, Faith and Recreation.

Mail-Journal: That’s a very broad scope. How do you decide on programming with the pillars?

Knecht: Yes, it is very broad. So, we try to pick specific voids no one else is providing. For example, we have a Patriotic Speaker series around July 4. We brought an Abe Lincoln re-enactor one year, Thomas Jefferson this year and next year it will be Abagail Adams and Martha Washington. We’re excited!

Mail-Journal: Does Chautauqua-Wawasee do this all on its own?

Knecht: No. our goal is always to partner with another organization or two or sometimes more. As an example, for our Old Fashioned Christmas program, we team with the Town of Syracuse, the Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce, the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum, Syracuse Rotary Club, Boy Scouts, Oakwood Resort and Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation. It’s a huge effort led by Kip Schumm. Nearly 1,000 people attended in 2021. It’s always best to work as a team.

Mail-Journal: That makes sense. Looking back on 2022, what are you particularly proud of?

Knecht: Oh, that’s a tough one. The Fine Arts Festival is very successful. But I’d say I heard more comments about “Taps Across the Water at Dusk” program than any other program. We still have some areas on the three lakes where people have come out to listen, and couldn’t hear it. We’ve got to work on that again next year…The wind is a big factor affecting how far sound travels.

Mail-Journal: What kind of programs do you have in the Faith Pillar?

Knecht: This year Cliff Kindy is conducting a workshop around the question “what if Christians were as passionate about peace as warfighters are about war”. Cliff is an amazing person who lives his faith. He’s traveled to dangerous trouble spots around the world with Christian Peacekeeper Teams and will share some of his stories and experiences on September 28 as part of the National Chautauqua Conference meetings.

Mail-Journal: What’s that all about?

Knecht: We will be hosting the National Conference of North American Chautauqua organizations at the end of September. Chautauqua-Wawasee is one of 19 independent Chautauqua organizations. We all get together once a year to share ideas and learn from each other. This is the first time the National Conference is being held here in Syracuse.

Mail-Journal: How does Chautauqua-Wawasee function, since most of its programs are free to attend?

Knecht: 95% of the work is done by volunteers…Chautauqua’s and the partners we team with. We want as many people as possible to have access to our programs, so making them free to attend works best. Our funding comes from the Howard and Myra Brembeck Foundation, Kosciusko County Community Foundation, Harkless Foundation, Lilly Foundation and from donations received during our annual fundraising campaign.

Mail-Journal: How do people learn about the programs and events you offer?

Knecht: We publish an e-newsletter called “Five Things You Should Know” …five times a year. It’s a quick read. Our website, is always up-to-date, and we regularly post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Thank you to The Mail-Journal for allowing us to post this article. 

2022 Chautauqua Wawasee Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration

Chautauqua Wawasee Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration – 2022

Chautauqua-Wawasee’s annual event for mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, and kids of all ages!

Santa, live nativity, Grinch, Frosty, plus other characters, chapel reading of the Christmas story, live reindeer, musical groups, family photo booth, caroling, and more!  Come early to enjoy the music and festivities.

What: Outdoor family Event – dress for warmth
When: November 26, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Where: Oakwood Resort, Syracuse, Indiana
Cost: Free

Visit our Facebook page or call 574-377-7543 for more details.



Northern American History Series

Chautauqua-Wawasee and the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum are once again collaborating to offer a 3-day series of educational and entertaining programs focused on northern Indiana native American history. All programs are free to attend.

Thursday, September 1- 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Using Maps to Unlock the Past (1866 – 1903)

As Kosciusko County Surveyor, Mike Kissinger, has done a great deal of historical research and will share his findings and interest in Kosciusko County and the lakes area. Of special interest are old maps, Indian reservations, old schools/homes, and the stories of past residents.

About the Presenter: Mike Kissinger

Mike is a lifetime resident of the North Webster area and lives on the property that family acquired from the U.S. government in 1845. A 1979 graduate of Wawasee High School, he has worked in the County Surveyor’s Office for the past 41 years, Mike was licensed as a Professional Surveyor in 1999 and was selected as the County Surveyor when his friend & mentor, Richard Kemper, retired in 2015.


Friday, September 2- 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Reenacting Richard Stone’s Journal (1827-1842)

In 1827, as some of the first white settlers in Noble County, Richard Stone and his family set up a trading post at the junction of two highly traveled trails, known today as U.S. 33 & SR 5. The Indian village of Chiefs Papakeechie and Wawasee was just six miles away. Using Richard Stone’s journal, reenactor Jim Hossler will relate the life and times at the newly established trading post.

About the Presenter: Jim Hossler

Jim has lived in Noble County for the last 30 years. He has been a member of Stone’s Trace Historical Society for the last past 14 years, and the President for the last 9 years. Stone’s Trace is a historic site in Noble County that has restored Richard Stone’s tavern and three other pre-Civil War buildings. He and his wife, Pam, have five children and six grandchildren. He says “I’ve always enjoyed history, and I love teaching the kids and the people about Stone’s Trace.” Read more at A “Vintage Christmas” is planned for December 3, 1:00 –4:00pm. Jim owns and operates a small trucking company.



Saturday, September 3-  SIX individual programs are listed below 

Bring Your Own Artifact 10:00 – Noon /Led by Jim Bickel & Michelle Eddington

Do you have an old artifact that you aren’t sure what it is or when/where it originated? Jim and Michelle are available to examine your artifact and
(hopefully) tell you all about it.

Tribute to the Eastern Woodland Natives 10:00 – Noon /Led by Dan Lima, reenactor of Eastern Woodland Natives

Veteran reenactor Dan Lima will delight you with the lives of Potawatomi Chief Five Medals and Miami Chief Wawasee and his brother Chief
Papakeecha whose reservation was located near present-day Indian Village in Noble County.

 “Life and Times of Five Medals” discussion 10:00 – Noon  /Led by Mike Judson at WACF Amphitheater

Mike Judson, president of Five Medals Living History, Inc., will discuss the life and times of the Elkhart River Potawatomi Chief Wonongaseah (a.k.a. Five Medals).  Five Medals led his people in the defense of their homeland from the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 to the War of 1812.

1774 French Marine 10:00 – Noon /Led by Joe Zdziebko

Joe Zdziebko, dressed as a 1750s French Marine will display and discuss his equipment, uniform, musket, furs, maps, etc. He will also talk about old
sayings that are still used today.

Flintknapping Hands-on Demonstration 10:00 – Noon /Led by Jeff Mesaros

Want to know how native American artifacts were made by hand? Jeff Mesaros will show you how. And here’s your chance to try making one!

Atlatl Weapon Demonstration 10:00 – Noon /Led by Jamie Clemons

The atlatl was a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart or spear-throwing and includes a bearing surface that allows the user to
store energy during the throw. Jamie will be demonstrating types from around the nation and allowing the public to participate with samples.


Details: or

Chautauqua-Wawasee is holding the 8th annual Wawasee Oakwood Fine Arts Festival on May 28 in the park of Oakwood Resort in Syracuse, Indiana. This Festival brings together over 30 local and regional artists from around Indiana and beyond. All art has been juried to qualify for inclusion in the festival.  The beautiful outdoor setting provides a family-friendly environment. Children’s activities and playground are available. Food vendors are onsite for snacks and lunch, with outside seating available. Attendance is free. Stop by the Chautauqua booth for a free gift. The Art Festival will take place rain or shine.

What: Wawasee Oakwood Fine Art Festival
When: May 28, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Where: Oakwood Resort, Syracuse, Indiana
Cost: Free to attend
Follow us on Facebook, or give us a call at 574-377-7543

WACF Earth Day Event

Love Nature?

“How do you know it loves you back?

Chautauqua Wawasee has a unique program for WACF’s Earth Day, April 30.  For the first time ever, Dani Tippman, Cliff Kindy and John Edgerton are collaborating to discuss a message of hope, harmony, and humility. 

10:00 – 10:50 a.m.  REMEMBRANCE: 

Water is Life; Human/Plant diversity makes us stronger. (Facilitated by Dani Tippman)

11:00 – 11:50 a.m.  DIALOGUE: 

How can we accept the coming difficulties of our distressed planet, so that we and our children can meet them with courage, empathy and resilience? (Facilitated by Cliff Kindy)

12:45 – 1:35 p.m. EARTH STORIES:    

Sharing stories about how we each are needed in the web of life, and how harmony and mutual understanding are vital to our survival. These ancient stories are now beginning to be validated by modern science. (Facilitated by John Edgerton)


Learn about Native American methods for plant diversification; organic farming techniques with water conservation and carbon-free methods; and ancient stories that are now beginning to be validated by modern science.  This program is free.

Chautauqua Wawasee will also have a booth where Cindy Gackenheimer of Flutterby Gardens in Claypool will share information about Monarch butterflies and how to attract them in your yard.  Free flower seeds will be available.

Earth Day


When: WACF’s Earth Day April 30, 10:00 – 2:00  

Where:  WACF Amphitheater