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Forecast calls for fun
Sunny skies, full Lanier lifts holiday hopes
Royale WEB 1
Visitors head to boats Tuesday at Port Royale Marina. A full lake and beautiful forecast have businesses looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend, which kicks off summer. - photo by Crystal Ledford

Get your sunscreen, beach towels and backyard grills ready.

Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, and merchants that specialize in summertime fun are getting ready for a busy season.

“Really for us [this weekend] is a temperature gauge to see how the whole summer’s going to be,” said William Archer, vice president of boat rentals at Port Royale Marina in north Forsyth.

With temperatures this week topping 80 degrees, and Lake Lanier well above full pool, Archer and his peers in the lake business are probably in for an active summer.  

The lake hit summer full pool of 1,071 feet above sea level several weeks ago and currently stands more than two feet above that mark. According to Archer, a full lake has its pros and cons, but overall helps draw business.

“Sometimes that’s a good thing and bad thing — a lot of floating debris out there and things,” he said. “But I think it’s up enough now that people are used to it and it’s definitely great PR. It’s always a good plug for us that encourages people to come out.”

Archer said this weekend’s forecast should also be a boon for businesses on the lake.

“Everybody was crying the blues like me with all the cool, rainy weather we’ve had since April,” he said. “I think it’s going to take a little while to catch up. Everybody’s probably down 30 to 40 percent, but I think we’re going to have probably one of the best Memorial Day weekends we’ve had in a while.”

The weather forecast is calling for temperatures in the 80s and a less than 10 percent chance of rain all three days.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a Memorial Day weekend where all three days were just perfect in a while, Archer said. “So it’s going to be overwhelming and I hope it is.”

So far, all signs seem to point to a vibrant weekend, with boat rentals at Port Royale about nearly 75 percent.

“We have extra staff here this week getting ready and taking all the calls for reservations,” Archer said.

For Forsyth County residents not spending time on the water, backyard barbecues and camping likely will be popular ways to spend the long weekend.

“It’s a big holiday and we’re ready for it,” said Scott Barnes, manager of Publix at Hammond’s Crossing in north Forsyth.

The grocery store stocks on up on all the traditional grilling fare — hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and sodas — in preparation for holiday shoppers.

“For Memorial Day, it’s all almost hamburgers, steaks and kabobs, really anything you can put on the grill,” said meat department manager Tim Seay.

The bakery department also stays busy, decorating plenty of red, white and blue cakes, cupcakes and cookies, as well as preparing traditional favorites like apple pies.

There’s also a large display at the front entrance with patriotic floral displays, balloons and beach supplies like sunscreen, towels, floats and kids’ sand buckets.

Shady Grove Campground in northeastern Forsyth likely will welcome plenty of campers this weekend.

The grounds opened for the season, which runs through Nov. 3, in late March.

With 109 acres, the campground off Shadburn Road boasts more than 110 campsites, which are usually full every day of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

No matter how Forsyth residents spend the holiday weekend, it should be a nice start to summer.

“It’s going to be mid-80s and lots of sunshine. It’s just perfect,” Archer said. “It’s like perfect 10s all three days, so that’s great for everybody.”