2009-07-04 / News

Gearing up for the 4th

By Scott Rawdon

LAKE AREA - Papa Boo's has no more storage space.

"We cram every nook and cranny with all the product we can carry," said Chase Gilroy, Papa Boo's manager. Like the other Buckeye Lake Area clubs and restaurants, Papa Boo's is stocked for the Fourth of July weekend - one of the lake's busiest, along with Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

Gilroy expects he'll sell roughly 80 percent of his inventory this weekend, when Independence Day falls on Saturday. He hopes his patrons will be able to see the fireworks on Friday. Last year, he said, the smoke from the fireworks drifted in front of Papa Boo's making hard to see the display. "We need a northerly wind," he said.

Down the shoreline, Capt'n Woody's Pub & Grub prepares for about 1,500 guests. "We hope so," said the venue's general manager, "Pedro." He anticipates about 500 patrons per day, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It's a three-day weekend for many people. Like Papa Boo's, Capt'n Woody's is completely stocked .

Kevin Gorham, manager of Buckeye Lake's Pizza Cottage, expects to sell roughly 4,000 pizzas from his Buckeye Lake location this weekend.

"Do your best to get your place staffed," he said. Organizing personnel for a weekend like the Fourth of July can be a real nightmare, said Gorham, because employees want time to enjoy the weekend, too. Gorham expects this Fourth of July weekend to be as busy as previous years. "The economy doesn't affect pizza and beer," he said. "It never has."

David Pierce, owner of Weldon's Ice Cream in Millersport, hopes the same holds true for ice cream. He's pulling for high temperatures. "My business is predicated on the weather," he said. The more the sun pounds, the more people want ice cream. He expects to sell about 500 gallons between the store and their satellite sales booths this weekend. Pierce is also looking forward to an 8 p.m. concert with Gayla Smith, fresh from cruise ship appearance, Friday at the Weldon's store. "We have fun," he said.

Pierce said his business is surviving the recession. "My grandfather opened the place during the Great Depression and survived," he said. Pierce believes the recession is actually helping people discover Buckeye Lake who may traditionally take their boats to Lake Erie.

But, visitors shouldn't expect the weekend to be a free-for-all; there will be plenty of security, especially for Friday night's fireworks. Ohio State Parks Region 6 Law Enforcement Manager Robert Pitakos said nearly 40 officers would patrol the lake area during the fireworks, along with staff from local fire departments and ODOT.

Pitakos said six officers and the Millersport Fire Department will be stationed at Fairfield Beach, two officers and auxiliaries will patrol Liebs Island; six officers and the Buckeye Lake Fire Department will staff the North Shore Boat Ramp; six officers from each agency will man a command center at Fairfield Beach; five watercraft units and various support staff will patrol the water, 12 officers from several departments will control traffic; and there will be three safety officers.

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