Memorial Day signals the customary start of summer. And in these parts, that draws a lot of us to the water.
That wasn’t the case a year ago thanks to record rainfall. But now, the summer-loving businesses are looking forward to a much more profitable season.
Lake Eufaula went past flood stage three times last summer, and businesses took a hit. But this summer season is already off to a great start. The Memorial Day weekend has barely even begun, and already Eufaula Cove Marina is swamped with business.
“I'm so excited,” said lake-goer Jolea Ford. “It was high water, all the docks were closed.”
Ford spends every weekend on the water a Lake Eufaula; but because of last summer's flooding, Ford only got to go out a few times.
“Very happy to see that this summer is wide open and full speed ahead,” she said.
Eufaula businesses - both on land and water - bank on summer lake crowds to bring in money.
The city manager said summer sales tax revenue was down 30 to 40 percent last summer.
Eufaula Cove Marina's sales were cut in half. The owner said he's already done more business in just one day than he did the entire Memorial Day weekend last year.
Marina manager, Brenda Otis, said the excitement is higher this summer than those in recent memory.
“Excited for summer to be here and to get on the water,” Otis said. “People have been waiting, ya know, they got cheated last year, very cheated.”
But, for Otis, this weekend's not so much about the business or the boating, it's much more.
“To remember why we do celebrate it,” she said. “It is to remember those who gave us this freedom.”