LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — Memorial Day marks one of the Lake’s three biggest weekends of the year; the other two are Independence Day and Labor Day. And as Missouri reopens from coronavirus shutdowns, Lake of the Ozarks waterfront business owners, from restaurants to resorts to marinas, say this Memorial Day weekend was one for the books.
Kyle Kelly, of Kelly’s Port Marine, says the weekend set a new high-water mark for Memorial Day fuel sales. “We broke a record. Again…” he said, referencing a particularly busy Saturday in April of this year. On that Saturday, as boaters from across the Midwest had already opted to shelter from coronavirus shutdowns at Lake of the Ozarks, Kelly’s Port’s gas dock did more fuel sales than they ever had, in their 44-year history. Read more here: https://www.lakeexpo.com/boating/the_lake/lake-of-the-ozarks-boat-sales-broke-multiple-records-in-april-in-spite-of-covid/article_44c80f60-909d-11ea-a76d-5b5e23cefa89.html
Michael Spriggs, owner of Point Randall Resort, said he too thinks he had record sales at his gas dock. “It sure seemed busier than a usual Memorial Day weekend,” he added.
It was certainly busy: boaters criss-crossed the Lake under sunny skies on Saturday and Sunday, but the weekend was markedly devoid of serious boating accidents. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported a single injury resulting from a PWC rider who fell off his watercraft, and a minor accident in which one boat hit another while docking.
Rob Shields, owner of Nautifish Rum Bar, said customer traffic at his lakefront restaurant in Camdenton was immense: if not record-breaking, then close to it. ___________________
“I believe—Aquapalooza excluded—Saturday was our biggest day we’ve ever had,” said Luke Hagedorn, General Manager of Dog Days Bar & Grill, one of the busiest waterfront hotspots at the Lake. (The venue annually hosts a lakefront concert series in July dubbed “AquaPalooza” that draws massive crowds all day long.)
Pool bars are a relatively recent trend at Lake of the Ozarks, but they proved to be a popular one, and in a matter of a few years, many of the major lakefront hotspots had one (or two). At Dog Days, the pool is a major draw, Hagedorn said. “The year we put the pool in, we were breaking records every day,” he recalled.
This Memorial Day weekend was important for Dog Days: not just for the owners and management, but also for the many young people who wait tables and bartend. One waitress told LakeExpo she made a lot of money last weekend at Dog Days, money that she’ll stash away and help pay for college expenses when she leaves the Lake for her final semester of college this fall. The big weekend is also helping repair the economic damage done by shutdowns earlier this spring. “It started out really rough,” Hagedorn said of this year’s boating season. “But we’re quickly working towards making up all the losses we had from the spring.”
Hagedorn said after Memorial Day weekend Lakefront businesses traditionally experience a brief lull, as school is still in session for some areas, and camps and summer school compete with trips to the Lake. “There’s always a let-down,” Hagedorn said. “I’ve got a feeling we’re not going to have a let-down this year… We could be in for one of our best years ever.”