It’s a sultry summer evening in the 1930s. A series of trombone blasts drift faintly from the cheerfully lit Crystal Ballroom as couples twirl and hop to a catchy swing number. The stars are shining above, reflected as silver pinpricks in the still water and full of nothing but promise as you breathe in the evening air. You are equal parts awed, peaceful and unstoppable: This is summer at its best. This is Buckeye Lake, “The Playground of Ohio.”

Seventy years later, Buckeye Lake has changed. Gone are the roller coasters and midway, the ballroom and dance hall, the carnival games and Ferris wheel. As anyone who has been around for more than a century can attest, life has its ups and downs, and with each new season come new challenges — local hotspots are no exception.

Fortunately, on the heels of each new challenge come fresh starts.

Thanks to initiatives to rebuild Buckeye Lake — the tri-county alliance known as Buckeye Lake 2030 — efforts are already underway to restore the picturesque spot to its former glory, even as the lake’s old dam is being repaired and water levels are stabilizing. Not in the sense of swing dances and carnival rides (though really, the sky’s the limit), but in a sense of vibrancy and attraction — the same energy that drew crowds of locals, tourists and nationally acclaimed musicians; sailors, fishermen and stargazers; thrill seekers, dream chasers and lovers to the heart of Ohio every summer for decades.

It’s not too late in the season to be part of the Buckeye Lake summer magic, stop by any lakefront establishment to taste a locally brewed IPA or oak-aged Chardonnay; grab a bite to eat at one of the lake’s famous eateries or better yet, enjoy a few peaceful moments as the sun sets over the water. Watch the stars come out.
See what promise the future has to offer, and dream big: Buckeye Lake is counting on it.

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