Jaisyn Petersen glues a pink paper puff his cherry blossom tree at the 11th annual Wabash FAME Festival on Saturday, April 22. Photo by Emma Rausch
By Emma Rausch
China returned to Wabash on Saturday, April 22, for the 11th annual Wabash FAME (Foundation of Art and Music in Education) Festival.
Thirty years ago, the FAME Festival was founded in Fort Wayne on the idea of giving students “a chance to perform their music, to display their artwork in a noncompetitive atmosphere away from school,” according to Judy Ward, local festival planning committee head.
In 2006, Ward assisted with bringing the festival to Wabash County.
This year, the local festival focused on China. The event first spotlighted the Chinese culture in 2015 and introduced local youth to its customs, writing and arts. At Saturday’s event, youth continued their exploration of the country’s heritage and had the opportunity to try more of its traditional artworks firsthand.
Coach Chris Rood amassed a record of 411-211-1 as head coach of the Wabash Apaches baseball team. Photo provided
By Kyle Kelshimer
Special to The Paper
From Bob Knight and IU Basketball, to Notre Dame Football and 11 national championships, to the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indy 500, Indiana sports scream tradition. But not any kind of tradition; it is a tradition that reflects the men and women of the state who call themselves Hoosiers.
It is an Indiana tradition.
Gritty, blue-collared, players often fused with unrelenting, outspoken, disciplined coaches who would mold their team, often unmatched and less talented, into believing that through concentration and execution they, as a team, could do anything.
Think Bob Knight.
Think Knute Rockne.
Think Thomas “Chris” Rood.
Chris Rood, to many in the state, has become more than just an old baseball coach. He has become a legend to those who knew him and knew of him.
Tahnee Fuentes and Ben Green
By The Paper staff
NORTH MANCHESTER — Two members of the Manchester High School swim team, Tahnee Fuentes and Ben Green, have been selected for the All America Team through the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association of America, Inc. (NISCA).
To be selected for this honor, athletes must meet the criteria for selection according to the NISCA guidelines. The requirements include, having a minimum GPA of 3.75 on a 4.00 scale, being a graduating senior, and lettering in your high school program during your senior year.
A Liking for Biking is a new monthly riding series. Photo provided
By The Paper staff
The Dam to Dam Ride (D2D) committee and Breakaway Bike and Fitness Shop have collaborated on a new health and wellness initiative that centers itself around the grassroots movement that started the annual Dam to Dam ride.
Beginning the first Saturday in May, the Liking for Biking riding series will kick off as a family friendly fun ride, connecting people who simply enjoy riding their bicycle.
by Eric Stearley
As you travel around the county, you may have noticed thin yellow signs with a bike and an arrow going up in many new locations. On Thursday, July 17, the last of 102 signs was fastened to its post outside Lagro to complete the 104-mile Wabash County Bike Trail.
Years ago, the county mapped the route for a bike trail based on features that cyclists look for in a route. The current route begins and ends at Paradise Spring Historical Park, taking cyclists along low-traffic roads past 17 historic points of interest from Lafontaine and Somerset to Roann and North Manchester. It also links Salamonie and Mississinewa reservoirs.
“When riders come into a new area to ride, they’re looking for certain types of pieces to a quality ride,” said Christine Flohr, executive director of tourism at the Wabash County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “One, is some hills and scenery, but they also want it to be unique and specific to that ride, and that’s what makes this unique. It is designed specifically to tell a part of our history and a part of our story.”
Though some form of the trial has been in place for decades, it lacked trail markers. Riders could look at a map of the trail, but remembering each turn on a trail as long as this was nearly impossible. With the signs now in place, following the trail is easy, even for those unfamiliar with the route.
“It’s not only important for new riders to know where the route is, but to remind vehicular traffic that this is actually a recognized bike route throughout our county,” said Flohr. “For their safety, it’s critical to make sure that vehicular traffic is aware that they’re sharing the road with riders. The motivation to install the signs was for safety.”
Flohr was sure to show gratitude to the groups that made the signs possible. The city and county allowed the signs to be placed, as did Miami County, into which the trail takes a brief departure as it crosses the Mississinewa Dam.
“But there’s an expense to them, so finding a financial contributor like Midwest Eye Consultants to help sponsor the cost of these signs is pinnacle,” said Flohr. “Dr. Greg Garner is a cyclist, and he’s an enthusiast about it and has enjoyed riding with the Rock City Bike Club for years, and he recognized the need for the signs as well.”
The signs will prove useful for local groups, such as the Rock City Bike Club, which Flohr estimates has about 60 members. In addition, a well-marked bike route will serve as a catalyst to draw in more riders from outside the county.
“We estimate about 3,300 cyclists cycle the trail from out of the county each year,” said Flohr, whose position requires her to monitor tourism in all forms.
It was critical that the sign installation was complete before September, as the Dam to Dam Century Ride is scheduled for the 14th. There are currently 112 riders signed up for the event, and Flohr expects that number to approach 200 by the day of the ride. This will be the first opportunity to showcase the newly marked trail to a large group of people. With riders traveling from four states for the event, Flohr hopes the signs will help to put Wabash on the map as a cycling destination.
“We’ve already seen a significant increase in interest in our community just since we launched the Dam to Dam Century bike ride,’ said Flohr. “We can look at places like Wisconsin and Ohio and Michigan that are specifically interested in our area since we launched our Dam to Dam bike ride, because that’s what our analytics tell us, so seeing about a 47% increase just in website traffic that is specific to this ride tells us that it’s going to increase and drive more tourism.
“People who are driving far distances are coming into our area and staying the night. That’s what we want,” Flohr added. “We want people to enjoy Wabash County as a day trip, as a weekend trip, and eventually grow it to be weeklong vacation trips.”
This year’s Dam to Dam Century Ride will include: a Friday night screening of the Heartland Film Festival Grand Prize Winner, Rising From Ashes, a movie about the Rwandan National Cycling Team; a discounted spaghetti dinner at Harvey Hinklemeyer’s; post-ride entertainment; and “swag bags” with items from Living Essentials and Cliff Bar, among others. Thanks to local government, the Wabash County Highway Department, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and Midwest Eye Consultants, the ride will be complete with a well-marked route.