Lights on the Lake: send off summer with a bang
Lake Tahoe summer, we hardly knew you.
South Shore’s pyrotechnic Labor Day Weekend tradition will be Sunday, Sept. 5. The 16-minute fireworks show starts at approximately 8:30 p.m. and will be synchronized to music from radio stations KRLT-FM 93.9 and KOWL-AM 1490.
The fireworks are visible throughout town for a projected crowd of 70,000 spectators with numerous vantage points including the Tahoe Queen and M.S. Dixie II paddlewheelers, Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Regan, El Dorado and Nevada beaches.
“What’s really wild about the fireworks is there’s a whole bunch of people involved in doing this,” the executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, Carol Chaplin, said. “We’ve got this water element that make it just wild.”
Numerous agencies are involved because Lake Tahoe is in two states.
“When we have our officials’ meeting, the people sitting in the room are the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, their boat patrol guys, the El Dorado County boat patrol guys, the Douglas County boat patrol guys, the Coast Guard, the Coast guard Auxiliary, Harrah’s because they supply a lot of the maintenance tools and they also set the boundary for the barges, and the South Tahoe and Douglas County fire departments, said Mike Frye, the LTVA sales and marketing manager. “That’s really a lot of people cooperating.”
Sponsored by the South Shore lodging community, the fireworks show is one of two held each year. The Fourth of July show is known as the largest musically synchronized fireworks show west of the Mississippi River. The 22-minute show drew an estimated 100,000 spectators.
KTHO-FM 96.1 and 590 AM morning hosts Dan and Jen will broadcast from outside the Riva Grill at the Ski Run Marina giving away prizes and playing beach-themed music.
KRLT’s preshow broadcast starts at 5 p.m. with morning host Howie Nave and afternoon personality Stacy Lynn. George Alm and Donna Baxter will report from the rooftop of the Horizon Casino Resort.
“I consider the Labor Day fireworks show the one for the locals,” Nave said. “Everyone is here for the Fourth of July fireworks show, which is great, but Labor Day is definitely the locals’ fireworks show. Sort of a celebration that we live here and that the shoulder season is coming up shortly.”
A Tahoe term, shoulder season is the period between summertime and ski season. The LTVA has a different sobriquet this fall: “Kickoff to Indian Summer.” Tahoe’s average high September temperature is in the 70s, providing outdoor opportunities like biking, running, kayaking or swimming around the lake all while observing the aspens transform into magnificent orange, red and gold, the agency wrote in a press statement.
There are some special events slated for this month.
“We’ve got Curtis Fong’s Tour de Tahoe (Bike Big Blue),” Frye said. “You’ve got Iron Girl (Triathlon) the week after that, and the week after that is Lake Tahoe Marathon week. So this is participatory sport event month. I think Curtis has about 1,800 folks riding, over 400 ladies signed up for Iron Girl and Les (Wright, the organizer) typically gets a couple thousand, 3,000 people for marathon week, so that’s pretty cool stuff.”
Tahoe’s summer economy was better this year than in 2009, the LTVA officials said. June, of course, was hurt by lingering snowfall, but led by record attendance at the celebrity golf championship July was strong for lodging and retailers. August was about the same as the previous year.
“There’s not quite the level of spending when people are here but people are feeling better about travel in general,” Chaplin said.