TAHOE/TRUCKEE — Massive crowds and little crime were the big trends during Fourth of July Weekend this year at Truckee and North Lake Tahoe, officials said.
The Truckee Police Department’s call volume increased with 345 requests for service from Thursday to Sunday this year, compared to 253 during the same timeframe in 2013 (when July 4 was a Thursday), said Chief Adam McGill.
Further, TPD arrested five people in 2013 vs. 14 this past weekend; the latter consisted mainly of suspected drunken driving and drunk in public, McGill said.
“We were busier, and more people lead to more incidents, but there was nothing of any significance this year … I can’t even recall any fights of significance,” McGill said. “I think it speaks to our residents … and to the guests we attract. Many other parts of California, with this size of a crowd, and you add alcohol and our road structure, it would likely lead to pretty significant events and probably even violence.
“I think it speaks positively to our residents that we had no major incidents.”
McGill, who’s been Truckee’s chief for three July 4 weekends now, said some in the department who’ve been in the region for a long time believed the crowd for the July 4 parade in downtown “was larger than they’ve ever seen.”
At Donner Lake’s West End Beach, the Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District sold 5,600 tickets for the Fourth of July, a few hundred more than average for that day and roughly 200 tickets from a record, said General Manager Steve Randall.
Further, the sale of roughly 1,400 tickets Saturday represented “the largest day outside of the Fourth that we’ve ever had,” he said.
“On the Fourth, I was the first one there and last one to go home,” Randall said. “... It was a big community event, and everything just went very smoothly. The people were all happy and in good moods. It was a very comfortable event.”
The beaches in Incline Village set an attendance record by way of 11,178 people on Friday — a 20 percent increase from the crowd size last year for the Fourth.
While the Fourth falling on a Friday this year helped bump crowd numbers, another factor was last winter’s poor snowfall, said Kayla Anderson, marketing manager for the Incline Village General Improvement District.
“With the lake level being a bit lower, we have 30 feet more of sand along the beaches … so there was a lot more room for people than there was last year,” she said.
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office made three arrests all weekend in Incline, one of which was for suspected DUI, said Lt. Jeff Clark.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office recorded 25 bookings from the holiday weekend at Lake Tahoe, which includes everywhere from Homewood to Kings Beach and Olympic Valley and portions of Northstar in between.
Five of the arrests were for suspected DUI, said Lt. Fred Guitron, while 19 others were for drunk in public.
Further, outside of some traffic issues after the fireworks show in Tahoe City Friday, things went fairly smoothly, Guitron said, and there are “no real issues in Kings Beach with the new roundabout” after the Thursday fireworks display.
“All in all, people were pretty well behaved,” he said.
While the Tahoe City Public Utility District didn’t have exact numbers, it was a standing-room-only crowd after 11 a.m. on Friday at Commons Beach, said Bob Bolton, TCPUD’s director of parks and recreation.
“... It was a good third more people than normal, and we definitely felt it,” Bolton said. “Our parks crew worked extremely hard to keep all the trash cans and restrooms cleaned … they were definitely tired after their work this weekend.”
“I think the crowds were pretty amazing,” Bolton added. “The Lake Forest boat ramp , for example, is very busy, but we had people out there helping each other — there was a cooperative spirit with the size of the crowds.”