Buckeye Lake is a small body of water approximately 30 minutes from downtown Columbus, Ohio. It is immersed in legend, rich history and an eclectic mix of out-of-the-box natives. In the 40's it was a booming spot with an amusement park acting as it's anchor and heartbeat. Big Bands, restaurants, entertainment of all sorts, swimming pools, ball rooms, river boats, rumors of mob bosses passing through and all the things that went so well with waterside fun. An era so precious.
Over the years, the music faded, the amusement park caved in and the glamorous and legendary visitors faded away. Cottages became mansions, boating and lakeside bars became the primary reason for coming here and Buckeye Lake transitioned into a seasonal hang out for water enthusiasts from all over.
Just recently, there was a four point one mile dam renovation on Buckeye Lake.The Army Corp of Engineers deemed it unsafe. The lake was stopped in it's tracks for several years, the water level way down, boating was really lame and the residents found themselves smack dab in the middle of a construction zone that sometimes generated the noice of industrial war zone. For three plus years, the reimagining of the dam took place. In November of 2018, the construction fence went down, the monster machinery went away, the governor of Ohio conducted a Buckeye Lake Dam dedication ceremony and we found ourselves with a brand new bike/walking path that stretches lakefront for miles.
Buckeye Lake Winterfest, a brainchild of the Buckeye Lake Chamber of Commerce was born 5 years ago. Like many small village festivals, it was hatched, stood up on it's wobbly legs, and over the past 5 years began to gain muscle and stamina. This year does mark the 5th annual Buckeye Lake Winterfest. It consists of a solid weekend of participating bars, restaurants, businesses, music, art, food, beverage and partying.
As for art, it has offered a new road for this little piece of the world. I was not involved in the first Winterfest. I read about it, but basically didn't get it. It just went right past me. Four years ago, a member of the Yacht club messaged me and said she thought I should participate in the art show portion which was going to be held at the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club. I was mildly creating pieces of art at that time and posted my creations on Facebook. I thanked Lisa, the Yacht Club member, for asking but told her I felt that my stuff really wouldn't sell around here. She firmly disagreed, and encouraged me to participate.
SO, I started out by pulling things off my wall that I had painted from the past, making new things and scurrying to create my first Winterfest "art booth". It was fun. I did fairly well that day and was a new fan of Winterfest. In the subsequent years, I began making it a part of my life. I created material just for the festival which included a lot of nautical themed work. I consulted a friend about getting prints made. I taught myself how to paint with replication in mind, market with social medial, build a booth, and fine tune a presentation.
Here we are at year 5 of the Buckeye Lake Winterfest. 4th year for me. This year I have created my most professional booth. I invested in display panels, professional matting kits, many prints, marketing pieces and more bells and whistles than I have ever generated in my life. The response from the things I've posted on social medial has been great. We are 3 days away from the festival and the excitement for this event is mounting.
It all means a LOT to art in this area. Over my past four years of involvement, I have watched the growth. I observed that there was very little live music up until this year. I have noticed that there is live music galore for the 2019 festival. I have noticed professionally generated maps of businesses, bars, restaurants, entertainment and sponsors. All activities have been published and there is so much to choose from that it will be hard to MAKE a choice. Local business participants are striving to make sure their exclusive entertainment plans for all festival goers rise to the top. The first, to my knowledge, official Buckeye Lake Art Gallery will be opening the very day of Winterfest. January 26, 2019.
In summary and brevity, Buckeye Lake Winterfest has evolved into meaning a LOT for art. A seed planted, an idea spawned, an endeavor coming to fruition. Members of the Buckeye Lake Chamber of Commerce and Buckeye Lake Yacht Club have flexed their marketing muscles beautifully this year. I can only imagine what the future holds for us here in the realm of music and art. There are growing pains, the competition will gain speed and the bar will be raised. I am happy to be a part of it with my Smith Girl Arts booth.
January 26, 2019
Buckeye Lake Yacht Club
Buckeye Lake Winterfest Art Show