Strong business expected for Fourth of July |

Strong business expected for Fourth of July

EDL fireworks KA 7-3-07

EAGLE COUNTY — Mid-week holidays can be tricky things — it’s hard to tell just how many people are coming or how long they’ll stay. In the Vail Valley, it looks like Thursday — the Fourth of July — will be the start of a long weekend for many.

At The Sebastian Hotel in Vail, general manager Lance Thompson said lodge is fully booked for July 3 and 4, with a few rooms open on July 5 and 6. The hotel’s residence club is also largely booked for the weekend, Thompson said.

In Avon, the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa is fully booked for July 4-6, but some rooms are still available July 3. That’s a bit odd in Avon, given that’s the night of the town’s annual Salute to the USA celebrations. In fact, The Westin is running a one-night “local’s special,” with rooms starting at $199 to get the hotel filled up.

One Avon business owner is expecting good crowds Wednesday, especially after the fireworks end.

Kent Beidel, one of the owners of Loaded Joe’s coffee shop and bar, said the Avon store is generally busy all day on Salute to the USA day. But, he said, people tend to linger at his place while traffic clears out of town.

“It’s just crazy until we close that night,” Beidel said.

With locations in Avon and Vail Village, Beidel said Loaded Joe’s is staffed up and ready for crowds at both locations, with basically everyone who works at the stores called in for duty. Still, with a history of good summer business, Beidel said covering the busy times won’t be a problem. And it looks as if the long weekend will be a busy one.

The Vail Valley Partnership tracks reservations in the area — and books many of them. Partnership CEO Chris Romer said reservations so far this year — at least as measured last week — are peaking the night of July 4. Historically, July 3 and 5 have been the peak nights.

What that means, though, is a little tough to understand. Still, it looks as though a lot of people are coming for a long weekend.

Reservations are pacing ahead of last year, Romer said, and occupancy for July 3 and 5 is “a bit better” than last year’s pace.

The difference, at least in part, may be fireworks. Last year, in the midst of a historic stretch of hot dry weather, communities all over the state cancelled fireworks, with predictable drops in crowd sizes at events like Salute to the USA.

This year, part of the challenge in booking for July 3 might be getting out the word that the fireworks are back on, Pryor said.

“I’m glad to see we’ll be back to somewhat normal travel patterns this year,” Romer said.

At least based on early reservations, it looks like Vail’s efforts to stretch its Fourth of July celebration over several days are paying off.

“This year at least, having (the holiday) on Thursday is great for us,” Romer said.

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