Holiday travelers expectedRed Wing area businesses might just get a little more bang with their fireworks this year.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing area businesses might just get a little more bang with their fireworks this year.
AAA is predicting that 42.3 million people will travel 50 miles or more for the Fourth of July. That’s nearly a 5 percent increase over last year’s numbers. What’s more, if the projection is true, this will tie the 10-year high set in 2007.
Area businesses are already starting to see the uptick.
“We have been busy this week,” Tammy Wadley of the Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce said Friday. “It seems like there were more people in this week than there were last year at this time.”
And it seems as though those numbers will continue this week. Wadley said the chamber’s phone lines have been busy with out-of-town travelers asking where they can see Fourth of July6 displays in Red Wing.
“We’ve had several calls regarding the fireworks,” she said.
The same pattern can be seen at the St. James Hotel. General Manager Mike McKay said the hotel has taken plenty reservations for last week and this week.
“We’ve been booked solid,” he said.
Making that even more remarkable, McKay pointed out, is that generally the hotel isn’t fully booked for the July holiday. The St. James gears more toward couples, and July Fourth is typically a family holiday.
McKay added that the majority of the hotel’s guests this week are from out of town, but from fairly nearby places. People are coming from the metro area, Rochester, La Crosse, Wis., and Eau Claire, Wis.
“People are more local,” McKay said.
So what’s causing more people to venture away — though not too far away — from their hometowns this year?
“AAA’s projection for a decade high number of Independence Day travelers is being fed by … a mid-week holiday and lower gas prices,” vice president of AAA travel services Bill Sutherland said in a press release.
The fact that the holiday falls on a Wednesday means that people may get a few more days off work than they normally would. The organization defines the July Fourth travel period as Tuesday July 3 to Sunday July 8. According to an AAA poll, just over half of the travelers started their vacations this past weekend.
Gas prices are also relatively low. The national average for regular gasoline is $3.50 a gallon, which is 16 cents lower than last year at this time.
Still, no matter what the reason is, local business owners and organizations are excited for the holiday travelers to hit the sidewalks.
“We love when people come to Red Wing,” Wadley said.