SYRACUSE — The entire family will have plenty to do at Syracuse-Wawasee Winter Carnival Feb. 13, whether or not there is enough ice on Syracuse Lake for the annual Wawasee Kiwanis Snowmobile Drags. The carnival, which is presented by the Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce, has bulked up since it got its start in the ’70s; in fact, this year is the “biggest ever” carnival.
Turn out bright and early for the biscuit and gravy cook-off — just like a chili cook-off. Food will be served from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church. Attendees will get to sample the biscuits and gravy concoctions available and vote for their favorites. Tickets are $5 per adult or $2 per child under 12. All extra money raised will be donated to Teen Parent Succeeding.
Athletes will want to swing by the Harold Schrock Sports Complex and participate in the Winter Fun Run. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the race following at 9 a.m.
From noon until 1 p.m., East Main Street will be hopping with food trucks and a dog show, contingent on participants. There is also scheduled to be a Iditarod dogsled race and demonstration around noon as well. Fans of chili will also want to visit Cub Scout Pack 3828’s fundraiser from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. across from the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce.
Ice Creations will also be on East Main Street, performing live ice sculpting demonstrations and creating unique sculptures for local businesses. Its demonstrations will start around noon.
Support a good cause and join the 2016 Polar Plunge, located at Lakeside Park, 1013 N. Long Drive. Registration is at 3 p.m. with the Plunge beginning around 3:30 p.m. Grab your friends, co-workers or family members and form a team of four, or come by yourself and take the plunge. Prizes will be awarded for Best Team Costume, Most Team Pledges, Individual Costume and Most Individual Pledges. Registration is $25 for individuals and $100 for teams of four. Proceeds benefit Boomerang Backpacks.
Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, 11586 SR 13, Syracuse, will also be hosting several activities from around noon until about 4 p.m., including pavilion-to-lakefront “sleigh rides,” tethered hot air balloon rides and ice boat rides. Visitors will also have the option of snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or hiking. A nature project will also occur periodically in the WACF Education Center, with additional refreshments and warming station in the Ruddell Pavilion.
Throughout the day, a shuttle will be available to take people back and forth between downtown Syracuse, the athletic complex and the WACF. Open ice skating will also be available all day at the Harold Schrock Athletic Complex.
The winter carnival will wrap up at around 6 p.m. with a beard contest. Would-be participants or spectators merely have to show up at Huntington Street Bar and Grill.
During the carnival, attendees are asked to share photos via social media platforms like Facebook Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag #WawaseeWinter. Those who do will have a chance to win a free winter carnival sweatshirt, which is being given away by Velocity Concepts LLC. The sweatshirts can also be purchased online at www.velocity-concepts.com and picked up at the chamber, or visitors to the winter carnival can buy them then at the chamber office.
Schedule of Events
• Biscuit and Gravy Cook-off — 8-10 a.m. Grace Lutheran Church, 203 E. Main St.
• Winter Fun Run — Registration 8 a.m.; race 9 a.m. at the Harold Schrock Athletic Complex, 900 W. Brooklyn St.
• Cub Scout Pack 3828 Chili Fundraiser — 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. across from the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, East Main Street
• Live ice demonstration, food trucks, Iditarod dogsled demonstration and more — Noon-3 p.m. East Main Street
• Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, winter trail hiking, nature project and more — Noon-4 p.m. at the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, 11586 SR 13
• 2016 Polar Plunge — Registration 3 p.m.; plunge 3:30 p.m. at Lakeside Park, 1013 N. Long Drive
• Beard Contest — 6 p.m. Huntington Street Bar and Grill, 704 N. Huntington St.