Winona Lake hosts events before and after July 4

The weekends before and after July 4 will be busy ones in the town of Winona Lake.

At the town council meeting Tuesday, Town Coordinator Craig Allebach gave a rundown of all the events and times happening those two weekends and a couple of other activities.

On June 30, events start at 8 a.m. with the Warsaw Breakfast Optimist Triathlon in the park. He said there was a change in the date this year.

Later that day, the Winona Lake Great Fourth of July Celebration starts with the Cutie Contest in the Winona Lake Senior Center. The Prince & Princess Winona is for 3- to 4-year-olds while the King & Queen Winona is for 5- to 6-year-olds. Registration is from 2 to 2:45 p.m. with a 3 p.m. start time. Pageants will run back to back with crowning immediately following.

Registration and lineup for the parade is at 5:15 p.m. at the corner of Columbia Drive and Park Avenue. The parade begins at 6 p.m. This year the theme is “Jungle Safari.”

Parade awards will be at about 6:45 p.m. near the DJ tent. The parade route starts at Columbia Drive, heads north on Park Avenue, west on Administration Boulevard, then south on Canal Street, ending at Fort Wayne Street.

There will be free blow-up activities from 5 to 9 p.m., but inflatables will be shut down during the parade.

A live DJ will play a variety of music on the main stage from 5 to 9 p.m.

At 8 p.m., the “Rockin’ with the Symphony” concert will take place at the Tabernacle Field. It was formerly the Patriotic Pops Concert.

The day will culminate with fireworks over the lake at dusk. Allebach said that’s usually at 10 p.m., if not a little later.

There also will be food vendors, face painting, pony rides and more.

That weekend’s events finish off on July 1 with the 2018 Winona Lake Flotilla, rain or shine. Cancellation only will occur if there’s lightning. It’s theme also is “Jungle Safari.”

Registration for the flotilla starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Winona Lake Beach pier. The parade will line up in numerical order in front of the beach and will begin at 8 p.m.

“We will go, I believe, counterclockwise around the lake. Last year we had very good participation. We’ve got a lot of sponsors and awards. We’ll go around the lake. It’ll probably take us the better part of an hour,” Allebach said.

Awards will be presented at the pier after the parade. Entries will be judged on decorations, creativity and overall theme. Prizes will be awarded for first through sixth place, oldest and youngest participant and dash plaques for the first 25 boats registered.

On the following Saturday, July 7, the first annual Family Fest will be in the park.

“Previously, the community had a community dinner in November, and we usually honored someone as the Reneker Award recipient. Last year, we decided to change the structure of that. We wanted to get more of the community involved, so this year we’re actually having another celebration for the residents of Winona Lake – the Family Festival,” Allebach explained.

The event is from 3 to 7 p.m., with dinner at 5:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend for the residents of Winona Lake.

“Again, we’ve got a lot of great sponsors that have put money forth in order that every resident can eat free, or at least about the first 1,000. Hopefully, we’ll get 1,000 and have to worry about ordering more next year. That would just be great,” Allebach said.

In subsequent years, he said the Family Festival probably will have a different time and date but for this year July 7 was the only weekend available.

The last two events Allebach mentioned was the Touch-A-Truck in the Village at Winona from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 14, and the Jazz Festival at the amphitheater July 28. No time for the Jazz Festival was given.

Nick Hauck, managing director at the Village at Winona, brought up the Kettleheads’ Homebrew Festival to benefit Combined Community Services is this Saturday. It is in a large tent in the parking lot near The Garden at Cerulean.

General admission is 6 to 9 p.m. with VIPs admitted at 5 p.m. General admission tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance online at or at the door. VIP ticket sare limited to 50 and are $45 in advance.