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Weather worries can't cloud holiday hopes
Port WEB 1
Austin Chtham cleans out a rental boat Tuesday at Port Royale marina. Lake Lanier merchants are preparing for what they hope will be a busy Labor Day weekend. The holiday signals the unofficial end of summer. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Weather will play a big part in the success of Labor Day weekend for many Forsyth businesses.

With Hurricane Isaac moving into the U.S. interior, and likely bringing continued rainfall to the metro Atlanta area, Lake Lanier businesses are hoping for a decent holiday stretch.

“The percentage [for chance of rain] is down to about 30 or so, but what worries me is some people see that and they’re like, ‘Oh, let’s not chance it,’ especially on a boat rental,” said William Archer, vice president of boat rentals with Port Royale on Lake Lanier in northeastern Forsyth County.

Archer called the weekend “the last big hoorah” of the summer for his and other lake businesses.

“Naturally, we hope to get a little boost at the end of the summer with Labor Day, but that’s weather dependent,” he said.

“There’s three peak weekends for us — Labor Day, Memorial Day and Fourth of July — and that’s what makes the season for us, so it’s usually a huge weekend and the biggest one.”

Tommy Bruce, assistant director of the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department, is also hoping for good weather this weekend.

The county owns Shady Grove Campground on Lanier.  

“Usually our camp sites are full for Labor Day [weekend],” Bruce said. “We’ve got 110 sites and usually all those are rented out.”

Like Archer, Bruce said the three summer holidays are the busiest times for Shady Grove, which offers campsites and RV hookups.

But other weekends, especially during the spring and summer, can draw large crowds too.

“The weather has a big impact on camping,” he said. “If we have pretty weekends, we’re usually every weekend at about half to three-quarters full.

“If not, it drops off drastically.”

As for this weekend, Bruce said he’s not too worried.

“Since [Hurricane Isaac] has pretty much made the turn to the west, I think we’re going to be OK with it,” he said.

Archer is hoping the same.

“The weather forecast is iffy, so we have had calls about boat cancellations, but no one’s confirmed any cancellations,” he said, adding that the overall season has been more successful than some others.

“Memorial Day and Fourth of July were fantastic,” he said. “We’ll see. It’s one of those things. We really need the rain, so it’s it hard to say we don’t want it. I’d be OK with it raining up until Friday and then getting on out of here.

“This is the last hoorah and if we don’t get it, there’s no making it up, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for this one.”