By JENNIFER MEIER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
SYRACUSE – Land, lake and sky. Syracuse and Lake Wawasee have every outdoor venue covered for Saturday’s holiday celebrations.
Beginning at 10 a.m., from the corner of Main and Huntington (Ind. 13) to the railroad tracks, is Celebrate Syracuse!, a parade featuring the Wawasee High School marching band, floats, service clubs and other local organizations and businesses.
At 1:30 p.m. Lake Wawasee sets the scene for the 52nd annual Flotilla – a parade on water highlighting decorated pontoon, ski, wooden and antique boats.
And the skies will light up at dusk (around 10 p.m.) for annual and well-attended 25-minute fireworks display on Syracuse Lake.
For Flotilla chairperson Holly Tuttle, the parade on water is a favorite event.
“It’s as much fun to watch the Flotilla as it is to be in it. Everyone stands out on their piers to wave us on,” said Holly. “Because everyone wants to watch the flotilla pass by, it’s sometimes hard to get more entries.”
This year’s theme is the ‘Wide World of Sports’ and both Holly and her husband Thomas continue to encourage lake residents to decorate their homes and piers.
“We not only give awards to the families in the Flotilla, we will also give an ‘On-Shore’ award to the best decorated home or pier,” Thomas said. “It’s really priceless to see kids’ faces when they get a prize or a trophy. We’ve never had a family at the end of the Flotilla without smiles on their faces.”
Almost every entry motors away with some kind of a trophy, prize or souvenir.
“The coveted Commodore’s Cup award, a cut glass bowl, is what they really go crazy over.” Thomas said. ‘The whole thing is about tradition, being together with family and enjoying a trip around the lake.”
The Flotilla takes about two hours and winners receive their trophies and prizes following the event.
Presiding over the Flotilla festivities is this year’s Commodore, local business woman Kay Young.
She was chosen by a committee of past Commodores for her contributions to the community.
“Kay really deserves this award. She is well qualified,” said Commodore committee member Tom Prickett. “I think she’s done a lot of things that people don’t know about.”
Prickett was named Commodore in 1994.
Young spent her summers on the lake before moving there permanently in 1963. Early jobs included working at Lake City Bank and The Goshen News. In 1988 she earned her real estate license and joined Todd Realty as a sales associate. Shortly after, she received a broker’s license was also promoted to sales manager.
She is also past director and president of the Kosciusko Board of Realtors as well as the Kosciusko Board of Realtors, MLS.
Young’s community involvement includes serving on the Wawasee Property Owners Association board since 2002 and as its President since 2003. She was the 2010 recipient of the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation’s CATTAIL Award for outstanding environmental service.
She is also a member of the Syracuse/Wawasee Trails committee and is an active driver for the Kosciusko County Real Meals program. Young is a past director of Kosciusko County Habitat for Humanity.
“I am very honored to be chosen,” Young said. “A lot of very distinguished people from this community have been named Commodores. Being active in the community seems to come naturally to me as my mother especially was always active in community affairs and volunteering.”
Young said she feels that her work in the area is a great way to give back to a community that has done so much for her and her family.
Kay and husband Jim have five children, 10 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Young, along with members of the Wawasee/Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, will ride in the lead Flotilla boat.