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      Profitable Independence Day Weekend at Lake

      The 4th of July weekend is coming to a close and Lake Area business owners say it was a profitable holiday.

      Thousands of people swarmed the Lake of the Ozarks during the expanded 4-day weekend and spent lots of money on food and fun.

      Lake of the Ozarks tourism officials said this year's 4th of July holiday attracted more people than last year because of nicer weather and an expanded 4-day holiday for many tourists.

      Keith Skinner is the general manager of J.B. Hooks Restaurant at the Lake of the Ozarks. Keith has been preparing for this year's 4th of July holiday since May by hiring extra staff and ordering extra food. His cooks worked overtime between Thursday and Sunday as they prepared meals for hundreds of tourists.

      Skinner said, "We're up from last year. We've been busy, busy, busy. There were more boats out on the water to watch the fireworks from the lodge and everything that I've ever seen. We've had a great 4th of July."

      Lake of the Ozarks tourism officials say this year's 4th of July fireworks celebrations were some of the best in recent years. They say great fireworks keep people returning to the Lake Area year after year. There were 6 displays at the lake on Independence Day.

      Lake Area Chamber of Commerce member Nancy Woodward said, "The highway at Horseshoe Bend was just bumper to bumper traffic. I know there were a lot of people at the Lake of the Ozarks."

      Despite the heavy traffic, Lake Area tourists enjoyed their Independence Day by fishing, golfing, shopping and eating fine foods.

      Lake Chamber of Commerce officials said their tourism season still has a long way to go with many more activities planned throughout the summer. Lake Area business owners expect larger crowds this year as the weather continues to heat up.

      The Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association along with some area businesses will host Aquapalooza on July 20.

      The event is the single largest one-day boating event at the Lake of the Ozarks.