Many hotels and condos in Port Aransas are still closed after Hurricane Harvey. However, in less than three weeks, thousands of visitors will gather on Port Aransas beaches to enjoy the annual Texas SandFest.
2018 marks more than two decades of SandFest in Port Aransas. After Harvey, it was up in the air if the event would even go on, but event coordinator Lisa Shelton and other festival organizers knew the tradition had to continue.
"Our very first meeting, we all kind of looked at each other," Shelton said, "Like do we even want to do SandFest, and we were like ‘Yes, we have to.’"
Usually during this time of year, lodging and hotels are almost completely sold out, but the problem this year is that there aren’t enough hotels to accommodate visitors.
The Chamber of Commerce says only 30-40 percent of the overall lodging is up and running.
The good news is those places are filling up quickly. The chamber says golf cart rentals are also filling up.?
"Eight months ago, we were in the eye of a hurricane, and look how far we’ve come," Shelton said.
This year’s SandFest is one of the most important yet. It marks one more step for the long recovery ahead.
"This event for Port Aransas really is sort of the kick-off for our season," Garland said. "So we really welcome people. Come back to Port A, see how the recovery is coming along, and of course enjoy our beautiful beaches."