WINONA LAKE — The 10th-annual Northern Indiana Lakes Festival, May 25-27, began with live music and ended with a splash. In between, it offered activities to meet every interest. From art to kayaking to athletics, this year’s Lakes Festival was especially memorable. More than 6,000 community members and other visitors attended, a record for the weekend.
Nearly 500 children and adults learned about the lakes through the Lakes Festival passports. In order to complete the passports and turn them in for prizes, participants visited each education vendor. They had the opportunity to talk about the lakes and learn how to take care of them from the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams, City of Warsaw Stormwater Utility, Clean Waters Partnership and others.
Saturday’s key events were three workshops, Caffeinated Canvas, the rain barrel workshop and a cooking demonstration by the Olive Branch; the first-ever Lakes Festival parade; Silly Safari with Coyote Chris; the Lake Games 5K; three evening concerts and the fireworks. Silly Safari with Coyote Chris and the concerts were especially well-attended. The first boasted scores of children; the latter offered entertainment to thousands of adults and young people.
The concerts were immediately followed by an unparalleled fireworks show. As one observer exclaimed, “That’s what’s been missing this whole time. Fireworks were made to be set to music!” The show was synced to “Great Balls of Fire” and other classic songs. Each set of fireworks was met with a chorus of delighted cries from the crowd.
Although Sunday was sweltering, festival-goers waded or swam in Center Lake to stave off the warmth, biding their time until the Memorial Day Ceremony and Lake City Skiers. Meanwhile, winners of the Lilly Center’s art contest were given a special ceremony in the Center Lake Park pavilion. The students’ artwork was displayed at the festival, and each received a certificate. The artwork will be compiled into a 2019 calendar, available later this year.
Capping off the festival, Lake City Skiers took Center Lake on their boats and skis, presenting a tremendous show. It was the first of their season. The athletes did jumps, 360-degree spins, built pyramids three levels high and wowed the crowd with each new trick. They seemed to defy gravity, skimming along the lake with ease.
Already, the Lilly Center team is prepping for the 2019 festival. To stay ahead of the latest news, find the Lilly Center on Facebook or join the monthly e-newsletter list. For more information, visit lakes.grace.edu or call (574) 372-5100, ext. 6446.