Crowds, Businesses Savor Last Dose Of Summertime

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
A relatively safe and successful Labor Day weekend occurred in Benton County on Lake of the Ozarks as well as Truman Reservoir and the Osage River. KRMS Radio reported that beaches were opened at Harry S. Truman State Park in Warsaw, and at Lake of the Ozarks State Park Grand Glaize Beach, in Osage Beach. According to ABC 17 News, Lake of the Ozarks saw the busiest Labor Day weekend it has had in 20 years.
A boat parade that included supporters of President Trump drew some attention on Saturday, September 5, as it launched from Long Shoal and traveled to the Truman Dam. About 50 boats were expected and approximately 230 showed up, many traveling side by side. Other regattas for President Trump or Vice President Biden also took place in other areas of Missouri and around the nation. Participants were reportedly enjoying being out in their boats while supporting their favorite political candidate.
Some local businesses who were questioned about their sales during the Labor Day weekend, were very happy with the large numbers of customers on and off the water.
Beth’s Osage Mini Mart, in Warsaw, kept as busy as last year with numerous customers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and a slow down on Sunday when many out-of-towners were returning home. Owner, Beth Jones said that ice was the number one item requested by people who wanted it on their recreational boats.
Parkfield Inn, in Warsaw, was full on Saturday and Sunday nights, and only had 10 available rooms available early on Monday. Manager, Felicia Davis said that some customers came from Nebraska, but a lot were from Missouri.  Many were attending the boat races in Wheatland put on by Lucas Oil. Even though she did not expect to see many elderly people, there were old and young families. All in all it was a “Great Weekend!”
Local restaurants such as Cow Patties in Warsaw, reported being “slammed” with customers. Owner Bob Pike said that people were waiting outside the restaurant for their turn to enter and eat during Labor Day, and that ever since Missouri opened up, business had been great.
Cosmic Coffee was only open on Saturday during the weekend, but owner Shannon Noland said that “Breakfast was packed, and the crowds died out during lunch.” She said that she traditionally closes the eatery on Sunday and Monday during the Labor Day weekend.
Red Wing Coffee was also very busy all weekend and since coffee is its specialty, some of that became sold out. 
Don Eckers, who with his son Mike own Long Shoal Marina, said that business was outstanding over the long weekend, but wasn’t quite up to what it was in 2019. 
“Even with the virus, people wanted to social distance in their boats on the water,” said Don Eckers. “They were very good about wearing masks when they were out of their boats, and seemed to only be with their families for recreation. Very little fishing was going on. They were mostly tubing and skiing. We had plenty of everything including gas and food. We don’t run out.
Eckers did say that there are some things that are hard to get at this time because they have to come from China. He said that he has five suppliers and he wouldn’t be able to get ski ropes until next year. His customers were from places such as Nebraska, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kansas and Washington State.
Rick Gladson, owner (with Lisa Garrison) of Truman State Park Marina, said that the weekend was busy, and about the same as last year except on Saturday when it got busier at times during the day. He said that the Marina had opened a bar and grill, and had specials every week. The marina was one of the businesses that was able to stay open last summer when flooding kept others closed.
Sterett Creek Resort and Marina owners, Ken and Cathy Beyer, reported that they have been busy for a whole year, and on Labor Day weekend, the motel, campground and boat slips were full. There was even a crowd using the boat ramp during the holiday weekend, and they sold out of minnows every day. 
“We have the Minnow Bar and Grill, and it is busy non-stop with lots of food,” said Ken Beyer. “Our pizza oven is a new technology that cooks pizza in three minutes, and we were selling pizza every three minutes. We also sold a lot of gas. COVID-19 is still affecting our supply chain though. We can’t get wine, anchors or life jackets. We rely on Amazon and its delivery time has gone from two days to two weeks. Our food is from five different suppliers, but is still hard to get.”
Beyer said that it was interesting that for years the primary activity on the lake was fishing, but every year it becomes more recreational. He said that they had been getting a lot of new customers all during the summer because of COVID-19. He said most wanted to get out, but not go far, and that they were all social distancing.
Business at The Old Oar House was “really good” over the holiday weekend, according its manager. It is the first Labor Day that owner Rick Renno has had the property and business was said to be better than the past couple of years. Customers drove in and came by boat to enjoy specials of prime rib, crab, and catfish, as well as to enjoy a fireworks display on Saturday. Sunday was even busier.
Osage Bluff Marina owner Jason Reynolds reported that it was a really great weekend with a lot of people on the lake, beautiful weather and good fishing. He said they started to run out of some supplies, but that was intentional as he gets ready for reduced business in the fall and winter.
Although traffic was heavy on highways to and from the lakes, only one accident was reported (As of Sunday, September 7). It involved a 32-year old male who was injured in Camden County and transported to Lake Regional Hospital. Two separate incidents occurred on Lake of the Ozarks near Camden County, involving two different people being struck by a boat propeller. One person was seriously injured and the other was unhurt.