As the Labor Day weekend approaches, businesses in the Southern Adirondacks are preparing for one last hurrah for the summer season, and a transition to lead the months ahead.
Labor Day weekend is traditionally seen as the end to the summer season. School starts and the large crowds disappear, but while many are hoping for a strong showing on one last long weekend under the sun, some are also looking ahead to the cooler months.
Gina DaBiere-Gibbs, Director of Tourism at the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce, says this past summer was a good one for the campsites along the Great Sacandaga Lake.
"You can't come in on a Friday night during the summer and expect to find a campsite," said DaBiere-Gibbs.
Lisa King, a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said in an email that many DEC campgrounds are at capacity during the Labor Day weekend. She also said the DEC does “increase the number of forest rangers and environmental conservation officers patrolling the campgrounds during the busy weekend.”
DaBiere-Gibbs said that attractions are gearing up for a final push this weekend. She mentioned the ring of fire along the Sacandaga Lake as a perennial tradition on Sunday night before Labor Day, and also mentioned how Labor Day acts as a fulcrum for the transition to the autumn season, a time for apple orchards and craft fairs.
Michael Consuelo, Executive Director of the Lake George Chamber of Commerce, said the beginning of the tourist season for businesses was a bit slower due to rainy weather. Consuelo said he also anticipates many local businesses gearing up for the last hurrah of summer.
"If I were a business person I'd really want that final push to get as much business as I can before it starts to tail off a little bit," said Consuelo.
But Consuelo also mentioned how weekend activities into September, such as the Adirondack Nationals Car Show, provide incentive for seasonal businesses to stay open longer.
"Traditionally you might see the folks getting ready to close up right after Labor Day but now they're seeing weekend activities and they're extending their seasons a little bit longer," said Consuelo.
Beth Hill, President and CEO of Fort Ticonderoga, said the Fort is also gearing up for a Labor Day weekend with expanded activities. Meanwhile, the museum will operate into the fall with weekend events. Hill says regional businesses and attractions are looking to bring in visitors beyond the narrow summer window.
"That's one of the greater challenges for others in the region - again, whether if they're a destination and relying on hotels and restaurants and so on to have amenities that our guests today expect versus something that's outdated and not up to standard," said Hill, "as well for the organizations, destinations, and businesses to invest in their experiences to meet today's audience."
Hill added that Fort Ticonderoga saw better numbers as summer wore on. She said the summer got off to a wet start, but the August numbers are already ahead of last year, a season with a 6 percent growth in attendance over the previous year.