Businesses prepare for Labor Day tourism, holiday marks coming changes
by Matt Shinall
Sep 02, 2010 | 2883 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ryan Eberlein, Park Marina dock supervisor at at Red Top Mountain State Park gets a rental boat ready for the busy Labor Day weekend. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Ryan Eberlein, Park Marina dock supervisor at at Red Top Mountain State Park gets a rental boat ready for the busy Labor Day weekend. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
As Labor Day approaches, businesses gear up for a busy weekend. Lake activities and festival grounds will buzz with tourists and locals as others prepare for the changing seasons.

Locally, tourism looks for a bright weekend as forecasts predict clear skies to shine on Lake Allatoona and Red Top Mountain State Park, two of Labor Day's largest local attractions.

Regina Wheeler, deputy-director of the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention and Visitors Bureau, commented on the boost the holiday may present for local businesses.

"I do still see businesses, of course, honoring the Labor Day holiday on the Monday but I do think that the weekend is somewhat busier for people. Basically people have the holiday, they're off work, time to go out and do things," Wheeler said. "Both the state park and the Corps of Engineers' Allatoona Lake is very, very important to the local economy. While a lot of local residents do use that lake, it really is an attraction for people from all over the U.S.

"Even if they're not overnighting or camping, that's still a lot of money spent with restaurants, shops, gas stations, and even grocery stores are always a very popular stop when people are heading to the lake."

Marking the unofficial end of the summer season, Labor Day is an annual call to water for many hard-working Americans.

Bartow County will see traffic increasing on the lake as well as Red Top Mountain, one of the state's most popular parks, attracting more than 700,000 visitors annually.

Park Marina, located within the state park, has a rental fleet of 80 boats and personal watercraft -- all of which are expected to be on the water this weekend, said Russ Osborne, Park Marina rental manager.

"Out of all the holidays, this is the second busiest of the year, Fourth of July being the first. This one will be pretty busy. Usually about Thursday and Friday, the last two days before the weekend, we really book up on everything," Osborne said. "This year has been going well. It seems like a lot of folks, due to the economy, have opted for staying in town and just doing some camping in the state park and renting a boat versus going to Disney this year, so we've seen a little bit of an increase due to that."

Celebrating its second year in Cartersville, Pioneer Days will bring arts, crafts, carnival rides, music and games to Sam Smith Park from Friday through Monday. Wheeler commented on how this event and others like it attract out-of-town guests, and although figures have not yet been established for the event, its regional draw is apparent, she said.

"With the new Pioneer Days Festival only being in its second year, that's a great reason to come to the area, so we have seen an influx of travel because of that," Wheeler said. "You can go out to the parking lot out there and see that people do travel to come to that event because it has a good history having been with Acworth previously. And it's a good thing to have, the parade and things like that does bring people to town over the Labor Day holiday as opposed to going somewhere else."

For other businesses, Labor Day means something entirely different. Stephanie Hassinger, owner of Write on Main, noted that she does very little business this holiday and expects even less this year due to summer trends.

"I think this summer, more people went out of town than I expected to go out of town because July, which is usually a pretty decent month, was my slowest month this year," Hassinger said. "Traditionally, around a holiday I don't get a lot of shopping business; Christmas is a different story, but I find more people are with their families."

Instead, Hassinger uses this season-ending holiday to mark the beginning of a very exciting time for her shop, as she referred to with the Christmas shopping season. To kick off this year's holiday shopping, she will open a new store front elsewhere in downtown Cartersville to house her toy selections and embroidery service. On Tuesday, the first day of business after Labor Day, Write on Main Too will open its doors at 2 A Wall St. to prepare for fall and winter months.

The coming weekend also will bring a new season for Park Marina as summer winds down, and although their business stays steady through much of the fall, Labor Day certainly starts the shift away from the warmer lake days.

"It is typically the end of summer, that's the way most people look at it. But to be honest, Saturdays and Sundays throughout probably the first or second week of October, we'll stay fairly busy on the weekends," Osborne said. "Overall it should be a good holiday weekend, we're looking forward to it."