Businesses prep specials, events for Amgen Tour |

Businesses prep specials, events for Amgen Tour

Dylan Silver
Break-away leaders speed along during the sixth stage of the Tour of California cycling race Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Daily News, Tom Mendoza) ** LOS ANGELES TIMES OUT VENTURA COUNTY STAR OUT NEWHALL SIGNAL OUT ANTELOPE VALLEY PRESS OUT MAGS OUT NO SALES ONLINES OUT **

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Businesses all around Lake Tahoe are preparing to launch specials for the tourist boom of the Tour of California.

Come race day, U.S. Highway 50 through South Lake Tahoe may look more like a street carnival than the often pedestrian-less corridor it is.

“It’s kind of a tailgate kind of environment, where people bring their chairs out and make it a social scene,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, who went to one of the race stages last year. “It’s kind of cool for our community to do that. We don’t get a lot of opportunities for that kind of thing.”

Tour organizers expect 20,000-25,000 visitors and millions of dollars in revenue to local businesses from May 13-17.

Businesses are planning everything from barbecues and live music to full bicycle demonstrations and private viewing areas. Businesses have a big opportunity to show the visitors a good time and to show off their products, Chaplin said.

The city of South Lake Tahoe is encouraging businesses and organizations to come out for the event by offering 15 free event tents to the first nonprofits and businesses that ask to use them. They hope businesses will host parties, music, fundraisers and fun events every half mile or so along the seven-mile route through the city, said Nancy Kerry, South Lake Tahoe spokeswoman.

“The city has actually taken a very aggressive approach for the event,” Kerry said.

Many plans have already been made. Heavenly will open tubing and the Tamarack Lodge at the top of the gondola. Harrah’s is looking at hosting a speaker or live entertainment. Inn by the Lake plans on having a private viewing area for its guests, a DJ, food and drinks. The Brewery at Lake Tahoe will offer volunteers special happy hour prices and will likely be serving food and drinks on their patio, said general manager Debbie Brown.

“This is the beginning of being able to have other recreation opportunities,” Brown said. “We can own being the Mecca of recreation.”

The city Parks and Recreation Department is organizing a demonstration by Olympic BMX riders that will likely be held at the “Y,” Kerry said.

Manesh Patel, owner of Mo’s place, has something up his sleeve for the weekend, but he’s not sure of the details yet, he said. The Tahoe Center for Orthopedics will have a speaker discussing how to ride to your fullest potential, said spokeswoman Monica Sciuto.

Over on the North Shore pockets of party-like viewing areas will be set up, said Andy Chapman, director of tourism for the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. Businesses are brainstorming ways to appeal to the boom in tourists for the race. One idea was the “peloton pizza,” he said.

“Obviously it’s a very large undertaking,” Chapman said. “We have a collective of businesses that are very excited about this.”

Some of the main areas where businesses will set up booths and organizers will recommend to viewers are near the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort in Incline Village, the corner of Highway 28 and Highway 267 in Kings Beach and at Heritage Plaza in Tahoe City, Chapman said.

“(Viewers) are not going to stretch the entire distance (of the race),” he said. “We’re concentrating the areas.”

The immediate economic benefits of the race day is just one part of the three-part measurement of the race’s financial impact to the region.

Both the LTVA and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association are looking at the economic impact in the region from the day Lake Tahoe was announced as a host location and the financial prospects of being branded as a biking destination.

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