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September 3, 2013
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Labor Day weekend numbers up from last year

The preliminary numbers of people who visited the South Shore during Labor Day weekend have been reported as higher than last year by local officals, based on lodging and attendance statistics.

Staff at various events tracked the number of people who attended throughout the weekend, with some garnering tens of thousands.

The fireworks display Sunday drew 50,000 people in the area, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Director Carol Chaplin said.

Chaplain also said the entire weekend played to the city’s financial favor.

“This (assessment) is only kind of anecdotal,” Chaplin said. “From our perspective we did really well.”

The Tahoe Queen and the M.S. Dixie II reportedly sold out Saturday for The 2013 Great Lake Tahoe Sternwheeler Race, as did the Friday night Brad Paisley concert at Harvey’s Casino.

In its inaugural year, the Kiwanis Community Fair drew a sizeable attendance, officials said.

Richard Barna, president of Kiwanis Lake Tahoe, said even though the committee responsible for organizing the event was limited in funding advertising, it was a well-attended weekend.

“I would say that throughout the two and a half days we probably saw 2,500 people with children,” Barna said. “(The numbers) were right around what we expected, being a first-time event.”

Reports from officials at Sample the Sierra tallied 1,500 visitors from 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

South Lake Tahoe Tourism Improvement District chairman Jerry Bindel said there was a notable amount of cancellations due to smoke in the area, but there was a lot of infilling — people calling in for open rooms where others decline.

“It was a good, strong weekend,” he said. “There were a lot of reports of sell-outs to near sell-out and … a lot of the events made for a good strong Sunday night.”

Despite the damper of wildfire smoke, Bindel said lodges reported fairly decent occupancy.

“I think we recovered pretty nicely,” he said. “There was still demand for travel, and we’ll have to wait and see what the real numbers are.”

Bindel said some of the restaurant owners he talked with ended the summer season on a high note. Saturday was the peak volume time for tourists in the area.

“Thank goodness we’re only getting a little smoke and we’re not on fire,” Chaplain said. “But generally … trends point to good improvements, and now we wait for the snow.”

Bindel attributed the various events during the weekend for drawing so many visitors for one last summer fete.

“People like celebrating (the end of summer), but even in September you have busy weekends, weddings and other things like that,” Bindel said. “It’s been a real positive summer for us across the board.”

So far, numbers compared to last year have been higher in revenues and visitor numbers, Bindel said.

“Tourism Improvement District is reporting over 10 percent from last year to this year alone,” he said. “Revenues are up even more because rates are higher.”

Attendance numbers from the Lake Tahoe Tattoo Convention were not available by press time.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 4, 2013 06:23PM Published Sep 6, 2013 07:53PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.