Celina Lake Festival – Celina, Ohio

Celina Lake Festival is a festival that offers a lot, including rides, music, food and amphicars, which perform in the Grand Lake St. Marys.

2024 DATE: July 26-28, 2024
Location: Downtown Celina
Website: https://www.facebook.com/lakefestival/


This post documents my experience on July 24, 2010.

When I told my uncle about the upcoming Celina Lake Festival, he responded, “Watch the algae.”

I didn’t know what he meant. I figured, since he traveled a lot, algae was something that Celina was known for. Maybe there were legends that their algae glowed at night, luring waterfowl into its toxic pool so that it could devour them, feathers and all.

Maybe it caused a bad foot rash.

This shirt at the festival helped me realize that this was more a recent occurrence.

As it turned out, a high level of toxic blue-green algae in Grand Lake St. Marys caused the festival’s lake events to get relocated to other areas. A fishing derby moved to a park, a duct tape boat race moved to a pond, and the annual amphicar swim-in moved to Hot Water Hole in Lakeshore Park. Fortunately, there were plenty of amphicars in Celina…

…just not in Grand Lake St. Marys…

.…where even this giant toxic fish decided to get out.

Apart from all the jokes listed in the paper (“Lake-less Festival,” “Lake-adjacent Fest”), I enjoyed the festival for giving me an excuse to see the cute town of Celina.

Doesn’t this look like a town you’d like to visit?

Aside from the lake this particular year, the festival was broken down into three parts.

The first part was near Grand Lake St. Marys and this consisted of…

…a ride area…

…two short rows of food vendors…

…and a gift vendor area that sold…

…plenty of lawn ornaments and other things.

The second part was set away from the lake in the downtown area. Although it was a short walk, the warm weather may have made the distance a little intimidating..


Fortunately, there was the free transfer tractor!

The downtown vendor area was really nice. Running down South Main Street….

…it helped you get a peak of the town…

…with its cool architecture.

And even though the items sold weren’t lake-related, like….

…the Native American and wolf nation collection…

…or the dressed geese and bears…

…the located of this section allowed the town’s business owners to take part in the festival, thereby helping the local economy.

This second area also had a few food vendors nestled along adjacent streets….

…including this guy who came all the way from Amherst.

The third part, although not present over the entire weekend, consisted of….

.…a car show….

…with tractors.

The car show was bigger than those I’ve seen in the past, covering a few blocks of road. But, unfortunately, it was also hidden behind the Mercer County Courthouse….

…a rather impressive building.

My discovery of the car show was the result of a chain reaction.

I ran north to take a picture of the courthouse. Starting back, I noticed a cute diner on an adjacent street with ice cream signs in the window. It was only by going down that street that I noticed the car show. And I’m glad I did.

There was a bit of everything there, including…


…classic cars…

…dragster cars…

…tractor cars…

…and lucky cars.

They even had a spooky car.