Thursday, July 27th, 2017
The Force will be with group at Celina Lake Festival
By William Kincaid
Members of the 501st Ohio Garrison, a volunteer club of "Star Wars" costume enth. . .
CELINA - A cadre of characters from a galaxy far, far away will blast into town on Saturday to help residents celebrate the 2017 Celina Lake Festival.
Also, a merchant hopes to breathe new life into the festival's downtown sidewalk sales, which he said have stagnated over the last several years after organizers moved the craft show and vendors to Lakeshore Park.
At the invitation of the Grand Lake Rotarians, members of the 501st Ohio Garrison, a volunteer club of Star Wars costume enthusiasts, including Celina native Kurt Ramsey, will host a meet-and-greet from 3-5 p.m. Saturday at the Gathering Place, 225 S. Buckeye St., just north of Lakeshore Park.
Afterward, they'll appear on the Grand Lake Rotarians' express train at the festival's parade, set for 6:30 p.m.
"We were just looking for something that would be different," Grand Lake Rotary Secretary Jim Mustard told the newspaper, pointing out that Ramsey, who now lives in Columbus, will likely visit as a stormtrooper.
Mustard said the public is invited to have pictures taken with the group.
"We've got a Chewbacca coming. I think we've got at least six (members) coming now ... and a variety of different characters," Mustard said. "I'm not sure where they're going to get pictures like that anywhere else."
Rotarians will accept goodwill offerings, Mustard said.
"Anything we get goes to Polio Plus, which is the international Rotary charity, and we ask them to bring their own cameras," he said.
The public also will get a chance to meet the roughly 30 members of the Grand Lake Rotary that was established in February 2016.
"We're a pretty young group," Mustard said, noting that most members will be on hand for the meet-and-greet and parade.
On Friday, Rockford radio channel 101.3 WRKD DJ Tha Joker will host a live broadcast and prize giveaway in front of Bob Heitkamp's Gamarama store at 124 S. Main St., Celina.
"We want to do things that are going to bring people downtown into all of these stores," Heitkamp said.
Tha Joker has a host of goodies to give out - free movie tickets and free coupons for pizzas and other food - and promises to bring a party, to get "people out here in front of these businesses."
"We're going to get down," said Tha Joker, who was wearing a mask and wouldn't reveal his true identity. "Anything that anybody wants to hear, that's what I want to play."
"We kind of want a party atmosphere ... (to) bring back the atmosphere we had 10 years ago," Heitkamp added. "We want to revitalize downtown and bring back the sidewalk sales."
Heitkamp said before the craft show and vendors were redirected to Lakeshore Park, he would take in more money in two days of sidewalk sales than in all of July.
The annual city celebration officially got underway on Monday with the crowning of Celina native Clista Hellwarth as 2017 Miss Lake Festival at Monday night's scholarship pageant competition.
Returning events this year include a fireworks show, car show, cruise-in, pony rides, Amphicar swim-in, craft show, children's fishing derby and lift-a-thon. The U.S. Freshwater Boaters Alliance will again provide free pontoon boat rides during the weekend. For a full list of activities visit www.lakefestival.com.
• 9 a.m. - sidewalk sales, downtown; craft show, Lakeshore Park
• 4 p.m. - Rides
• 7:45 p.m. - Amphicar swim-in, hot water hole
• 9 p.m. - Blame it on Shorty, entertainment tent
• 10 p.m. - grand fireworks
• 8 a.m. - 5K run, Lakeshore Park
• 8:15 a.m. - Women's Walk
for Wellness, boardwalk
• 9 a.m. - craft show, Lakeshore Park; collectors' car show, Main Street; sidewalk sales, downtown
• 6:30 p.m. - grand parade
• 9 p.m - Hard Day's Night, entertainment tent
• 8:30 a.m. - all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast, Lake Shore Drive
• 10:30 a.m. - Grand Lake United Methodist Church and Celina First Church of God community church service, Lake Shore Drive
• 11 a.m.-4 p.m.- craft show and concessions, Lakeshore Park
• 11 a.m. - barbecue chicken dinners, Lakeshore Park
• 11:30 a.m. - children's fishing derby, Lakeshore Park
• noon - rides open
• 1 p.m.- kiddie tractor pull
• 1 p.m. - BB gun and archery, Lakeshore Park
• 2 p.m. - Duck for a Cure; hot water hole.
Street closings announced:
Numerous streets will be closed to accommodate the 2017 Celina Lake Festival.
"We urge everyone to be patient with traffic and pedestrians and wish everyone have a safe and fun weekend," Celina Police Chief Tom Wale said.
Vehicles on closed streets are subject to towing at the owner's expense, Wale said.
Today through Sunday
• Lake Shore Drive from Elmgrove to Main Street.
Saturday morning starting at 5 a.m. for car show
• South Main Street from Market to Warren streets
• half block east and half block west of South Main Street on Fayette Street.
• city parking lot in the 200 block of South Main Street.
Saturday, 7-10 a.m. for 5k run
• all of Westbank Road
Saturday, starting at 3 p.m. for parade
• East Livingston Street from County Road to Vine Street
• East Fulton Street from Armstrong Street to College Avenue
• East Anthony Street from Armstrong Street to College Avenue
• College Street from East Wayne to East Livingston streets
• Fountain Street from East Wayne to East Livingston streets
Saturday, starting at 5 p.m. for parade
• East Market Street at County Road to Main Street.
• North Main Street from Market Street to Johnson Avenue.
• Johnson Avenue From North Main to Holly streets
• East Wayne Street from Meadowview Drive to Linden Avenue.