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Winterfest returns Jan. 30

BUCKEYE LAKE – Rise and shine for the second annual Winterfest celebration at Buckeye Lake.

“It’s pretty crazy how fast this took off last year,” said Buckeye Lake Region Chamber of Commerce secretary and Boat Boys owner Tim Figgins. “We have a lot more interest and variety of events this year.” Of course, returning will be “Benny the Bass,” Buckeye Lake’s answer to Punxsutawney Phil, who will predict a short (or long) end to winter.

Winterfest begins at dawn on Saturday, Jan. 30, at Buckeye Lake’s North Shore State Park. There will be fireworks just prior to dawn, a Winterfest proclamation will designate Benny the Bass as the official mascot of Winterfest, and Benny (a live large mouth bass) will make his prediction of the coming of spring.

Immediately following the prognostication, businesses throughout the lake area will be open special hours, host unique activities, contests and exhibits, and offer special Winterfest products and pricing to keep people circling the lake throughout the day and into the night.

The 2015 event was a resounding success attracting visitors from throughout the Central Ohio Region and media attention.

Figgins said the goal is for businesses in the Buckeye Lake Region to benefit from increased sales, marketing, and exposure in the weeks leading up to the event as well as the day of the event. Winterfest is designed to increase traffic to businesses during the slower winter months but has become much more important considering the economic climate this year as ODNR keeps the lake at low pool while the state replaces Buckeye Lake’s 4.1 mile earthen dam. The loss of the lake’s summer season has left many businesses struggling to survive.

Figgins said the details for this year’s Winterfest are still in the planning stages, although there are some businesses who already know what they will offer. “We’re just getting the line-up together so please contact the proprietors to get the official word on what they are offering,” he said. “We do know a couple cool things were added this year with Buckeye Lake Brewery creating “Winterfest Ale” with the Winterfest logo on a 12 oz. can.”

This will be Buckeye Lake Brewery’s first 12 oz. can it has produced. Figgins said the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club is opening to the public and will have an art show and an ice sculptor doing an ice statute of Benny the Bass. Also, he said Woody’s (formerly Sailor Joe’s) is open and participating this year, joining all of last year’s participants.

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