Boon and blast for Tahoe at Fourth of July |

Boon and blast for Tahoe at Fourth of July

by Sally J. Taylor

The Fourth of July holiday weekend was an economic blast, according to business representatives.

The holiday weekend “was fabulous,” said Jan McCarthy, secretary/treasurer of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association. “Jammed, crammed and we’re happy about it.”

“This has been the strongest Fourth of July weekend in decades,” said Douglas County Commissioner Don Miner.

The Fourth of July has been a big holiday since the beginnings of the tourism industry at Lake Tahoe. The effort made in the last decade to create a premier fireworks display is now drawing more attention and more tourists.

Hosts of the fireworks show, the Stateline casinos, Embassy Suites Resorts and the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority pool their resources to ensure they can boast it’s the “biggest show west of the Mississippi.”

This year, they invested about $150,000 to cover the fireworks, cleanup, staff time, advertising and other support costs, according the Skip Sayre, director of marketing for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

It seems to have paid off.

“The weekend was very good, business levels were very strong, better than last year,” Sayre said.

With nearly perfect weather and the holiday falling on a weekend, visitors poured into the South Shore from both ends of U.S. Highway 50. Many stopped for more information at the respective visitors centers.

“If the (Tahoe-Douglas) visitors center was any indication, (the holiday) was excellent,” said Kathleen Farrell, executive director of the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce.

About 300 people stopped at the center in Round Hill each day of the Fourth of July weekend.

“Usually we don’t start to do (that kind of volume) until August,” she said. “Hopefully they spent (money while here).”

At the foot of Echo Summit, more than 800 visitors stopped at the visitors center in Meyers. On a normal day, about 250 people stop, said South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Luana Craig.

“A few more weekends like that and we’d all be a lot happier,” Sayre said.

Sayre and other tourism officials are hoping for at least one more before the snow flies. Labor Day Lake Tahoe, with another fireworks display plus a sternwheeler race and lumberjack show, is being built on the momentum from the Fourth of July.

Though the numbers aren’t in yet, the momentum could be pretty brisk.

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