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Here comes summer
Weekend signals start of season
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Andy Kahn, Kurtis Jackson, Josh Kirsch and Eric Redderoth get ready to go out on Lake Lanier.

Get ready for fun in the sun.

Forsyth County businesses are adding the finishing touches in preparation for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the busy summer season.

Port Royale Marina in northeastern Forsyth will celebrate the grand opening of Pelican Pete’s bar and grill this weekend, the newest addition to the lakefront business.

“We’ve got great expectations for Memorial Day,” said Brent Danneman, general manager. “We’ve had the second busiest April in the history of our company and May is shaping up to be extremely good.

“With the lake at full pool, it sure has added to the excitement.”

The level of Lake Lanier was at 1,070.99 feet above sea level Wednesday. That’s just below full pool of 1,071 and more than 5 feet higher than this time last year.

Clay Cunningham is also ready for the holiday weekend.

The owner of Lake Lanier Catching Not Fishing Guide Service, Cunningham said business was horrible during the drought of 2007-09, but recently it’s been looking up.

“It’s been incredible,” he said. “People are showing up from everywhere.”

Cunningham, who offers guided fishing excursions along the lake, said he is booked solid for the weekend.

“I’m seeing more families than I have seen in a long time,” he said. “I think we just all have good memories of when we were kids fishing with our own parents.

“Some of the best memories I have are fishing with my family, and that just carries over. I want to take my own kids and create the same memories for them.”

After a long day of fishing, boating, swimming or just relaxing at home, it’s time for grocers like Publix to shine.

“The holiday is all about grilling out,” said Brenda Reid, Publix spokeswoman. “On display, you have a variety of things you need for grilling out. It’ll be everything from charcoal to chips.”

Steaks, spare ribs and other grilling favorites will also be on sale, Reid said. The bakery will offer festive treats from cakes shaped like hamburgers, watermelons and American flags to mini-cakes.

“Mini-cakes are very popular because people are trying to cut calories,” Reid said. “So this is a way for people to still buy an attractive dessert but not feel guilty.”

Memorial Day rivals July Fourth for crowds, Danneman said, making it one of the two busiest weekends of the year.

“We’re finding people are staying home and using area recreation, rather than taking a trip out of the state,” he said.

“We’ve tried to make Port Royale ... a destination for people and that’s working. They are coming out to see us.

“As they say, ‘Build it and they will come.’ And they did.”