End of summer tourism bittersweet at Lake of the Ozarks

Families from many parts of the Midwest came to the Lake of the Ozarks Sunday to enjoy some end of summer activities on the water before September begins.

Kansas resident Tom Shipley brought his recently-repaired personal watercraft to the lake to test out the engine and spend time with his family.

â??Weâ??re going to ride this jet ski for as long as we can,â?? Shipley said. â??Weâ??ll stay here. Iâ??ve got some friends here that live on Lake of the Ozarks, they have houses right on the beach so Iâ??ll go down and visit them, have some barbeque.â??

Shipley said he is sad to see the summer come to an end, but mostly that his jet ski was broken throughout the prime tourism months.

At Public Beach #2 in Osage Beach, many people said the mild temperatures made it a great summer, and that as the fall comes there will be a lot to miss.

College Freshman Kayla Dabbs said it has been a bittersweet summer since she has headed off to college, and is glad to have the chance to reflect on what her favorite parts of summer are.

â??Just to hang out with my family and friends,â?? Dabbs said. â??Enjoy the lake and stay in a nice condo and possibly go boating.â??

Although most everyone spending time at the lake Sunday was happy to be doing so, business owners in the area had mixed feelings about the conclusion of this yearâ??s summer tourism season.

Putt nâ?? Stuff co-owner Phyllis Marose said since school starts earlier, the tourism season has gotten shorter and as a consequence, she has seen fewer miniature golfers come through.

â??I canâ??t say itâ??s been one of the better seasons as far as tourism goes,â?? Marose said. â??I canâ??t say itâ??s the worst. I would just say itâ??s pretty average.â??

In another part of town, Dogpatch manager Carolyn Richards said mild temperatures through most of the summer changed peopleâ??s buying habits.

â??In some ways that helps, but in other ways it hurts,â?? Richards said. â??When itâ??s cooler, you donâ??t sell as many water toys or that type of thing.â??

With fall coming, merchants and businesses in the lake area will begin preparing for a transition in tourist demographics by changing up their offerings to fall-themed festivals and events.

Lake resident Madaline Curtis said she looks forward to less congestion on the areaâ??s roads, and that switching to fall has turned her thoughts elsewhere.

â??I think this is the time of looking forward to Christmas now,â?? Curtis said. â??I donâ??t want to talk about it, but I think once Labor Dayâ??s gone, we start looking at Christmas coming on the horizon.â??