Basin prepares for Fourth festivities |

Basin prepares for Fourth festivities

Emily Aughinbaugh

Wearing a glitter-fringed festive hat and vest, Charla Elliott staked out her section of El Dorado Beach at 6 a.m. Wednesday to ensure a clear view of South Shore’s fireworks.

Elliott has been coming up the hill from her Shingle Springs home for 16 years to camp during Fourth of July week.

Like many Independence Day visitors, Elliott and her group, sometimes numbering 25 people, camp out across the street at Campground by the Lake so they don’t have to mess with the holiday traffic.

However, Elliott said congestion on and off the roads seemed minimal this year.

“Usually if there’s just one little inch of grass people will ask you to move over so they can squeeze in,” she said. “It’s nice with less people here. This year we might not have that problem.”

With hundreds of feet between family barbecue spots, Malcolm and Jeanie Mitchell might not have needed to rope off their four chairs that lined El Dorado Beach.

The Mitchells have traveled from Valencia with their motor home club for the past eight years to see the fireworks. They were also pleasantly surprised to see plenty of prime firework vistas still available Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m astonished. Last year at this time their wasn’t any spot left,” Jeanie Mitchell said. “We went to Sprouts this morning expecting a wait and we just walked right in.”

Many people attributed the lackluster turnout to overcast weather, soaring gas prices and the holiday falling in the middle of the week.

Despite those factors, people like the Mitchell’s and Elliott stay true to Tahoe’s Fourth festivities.

“We’ve seen the fireworks in Washington, D.C., and these are every bit as good,” Elliott said. “It’s one of the longest shows. After the fireworks are over we like to watch the millions of boats swarm over to get back into their spots. I don’t know how they do it, but I guess that’s part of the fun.”

The Mitchell’s said they also were happy to come back to the lake, despite their cavalcade numbering just two of the 15 motor homes that usually venture to Tahoe.

“We love the campground, and we love this area,” Malcolm Mitchell said. “Last year the fireworks were the best we’ve seen.”

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