By Keith Knepp
SYRACUSE — Blue Barn Berry Farm and Event Center in rural Syracuse proved to be the ideal venue for the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee’s inaugural “Life is Better on the Trail” fundraiser, held Thursday, July 29.
Nearly 100 guests and committee members had the opportunity to enjoy an enticing variety of hors d’oeuvres, as well as a cash bar.
All proceeds from the event, including money raised from the event’s ticket sales, a membership drive, silent auction and live auction, will be used to help develop and expand the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail, which encompasses the town of Syracuse, Syracuse Lake and Lake Wawasee.
According to Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Executive Director Erlene Yentes, a total of $10,580 was raised through the “Raise the Paddle” annual giving drive, which encouraged membership pledge levels ranging from $100 to $5,000, and the two auctions, both silent and live.
“Our first annual Life is Better on the Trail fundraiser was a success,” said Executive Director Erlene Yentes. “The Blue Barn Berry Farm and Event Center was a perfect venue for our fundraiser. Guests enjoyed mingling and a short program that included an overview of our feasibility study and new annual giving levels. Brian Wuthrich made the live auction entertaining.
“Thanks again to our sponsors who hosted the event, including Maggie and Ben Brunner, Jamie and Brian Hull, Kyle Newcomer, Angie and Joe Racolta, Kristin and Charlie Roeder and Kay and Jim Young, and all the businesses that donated to our event. Thanks again to everyone who made this event a success!”
During the evening’s brief program, the gathered crowd heard from Yentes, Trail Committee President Kay Young and Wyatt Huber, project manager and roadway design engineer with USi Consultants Inc., the Indianapolis firm hired to conduct a feasibility study on the expansion of the Trail. Huber offered his thoughts on a recently completed site survey and the progress/timetable for the planned expansion. Following his update and report, Huber opened the floor for a question and answer opportunity.
Businesses and individuals making donations to the auctions included Tippecanoe Lake Country Club, Nauti Mule, Pro Wake Water Sports, Blue Barn Berry Farm, Kelly Jae’s Lakeside, Dynamic Spine, Wawachic, Overboards, Gift Shop at Wawasee, The Owls Nest, Bart’s Water Sports, Dockside Gifts and Apparel, Total Property Management, Absolutely Apparel & Gifts and Tonya Cross.
“We had a great evening and are looking forward to planning next year’s event,” added Yentes. “Anyone who has questions about the feasibility study or the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail is welcome to call me.”
Yentes can be reached by calling (574) 675-6433, or by email at [email protected]