Spring Break and SandFest were like pop quizzes for the town of Port Aransas and its road to recovery. Now, the final test – Memorial Day Weekend – is coming up.
The success from the first two weekends has many, including Alice Bearrow, the manager at Virginia’s on the Bay, feeling hopeful for the summer tourist season.
"It was very good for Sandfest," Bearrow said. "We had a lot of people. It was so nice."
However, many businesses like Virginia’s are cramming to make the last-minute preparations for the holiday weekend.
"We’ve already increased our staff, our kitchen, and so we’re prepared for them," Bearrow said.
Despite many businesses still closed, the beach and waters remain untouched. Meanwhile, Cathy Kelsey, a clerk at Dolphin Dock Inc., says the phones have been ringing non-stop.
"We’re extremely busy. I think that’s pretty much for all of the fishing companies here," Kelsey said. "Most of the time we have every phone line on hold, working with customers that are walking in as well as calling in."
Law enforcement is also making sure their staff is ready for the Memorial Day crowds. The police department is re-working schedules and bringing in more officers to work the holiday weekend. Unlike last year, Police Chief Scott Burroughs, says the crowds have changed. After all, nearly 50% of lodging and hotels remain closed after Harvey.
"The crowd has shifted. So we’re expecting a lot of day-trippers, people that are going to stay in Corpus or Portland or Aransas Pass and drive in for the day."