Weather and timing help area businesses thrive |

Weather and timing help area businesses thrive

Rob Bhatt

Take a national celebration of freedom, add three days of sunny, clear blue skies, throw in a celebrity golf tournament, and you’ve got the ingredients of a festive weekend.

Lake Tahoe seemed to have all the ingredients, and then some, on the 221st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

The steady streams of inbound traffic last week filled up the areas hotels, motels and rentals as well as area beaches, restaurants, casinos, bike trails and just about everything else.

The wait at Bijou Municipal Golf Course, for instance, was listed at nearly two hours on Friday.

El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Fleck described the scene at Camp Richardson as “wall-to-wall people” on Independence Day.

And switchboard operators for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority booking hot line reported that rooms were scarce as reservations stayed at or near capacity during the entire weekend.

Anytime the Fourth of July extends to a three-day weekend, crowds at Tahoe are expected to be large, said Jean Persson, owner of the Tahoe Villa.

However, Persson called this year’s crowds smaller than past three-day Independence Day weekends. She compared filling rooms at her motel to a mother going through labor.

“It was not as strong as I was expecting,” she said. “It did fill up, but it was like giving birth.”

Persson said the no-vacancy signs at adjacent properties did not start to go up until Friday afternoon.

Network coverage of the Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship sent picture-perfect postcard views of the Jewel of the Sierra across the nation.

This year’s total attendance to the tournament at Edgewood was listed at 21,996. Overall, the numbers were less than last year’s mark of nearly 25,000, but the turnout was one of the best ever for the 8-year-old event, said Phil Weidinger of Weidinger Public Relations.

Weidinger speculated that the absence of basketball superstar Michael Jordan and some golf fans’ commitments to other Fourth of July activities may have accounted for the slight drop from last year.

However, with great weather, positive feedback from participants and favorable media coverage, event organizers seemed pleased.

“We’re real happy with it (the tournament),” Weidinger said. “The weather couldn’t have been better.”

A handful of local businesses did set records this weekend. These were the roughly five businesses at the new Ski Run Village that were able to open their doors for the holiday.

“All the remarks I heard were positive,” said Joan Seifert, who opened Cabin Fever on the Fourth of July. “This is something Tahoe needs.”

Seifert relocated her home furnishings shop from a commercial center farther away from the lake, and she appreciated the extra foot traffic at the new location.

“We have some things to work out as far as parking goes, but other than that, I’ve been quite pleased. It was a good opening,” Seifert said.

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