West Shore event may extend summer season | SierraSun.com

West Shore event may extend summer season

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

The West Shore will premiere a new festival over Memorial Day Weekend created to kick-start Tahoe’s summer season.

The Opening Day at the Lake, a brainchild of the West Shore Association, is an effort not only to create a one-weekend festival, but also to change people’s perspective and coax them to visit Lake Tahoe earlier in the season.

“We want to get people to choose to come up this weekend,” said Ralph Silverman, who has helped spearhead the event. “We see a lot of traffic in July, but not much in June … [we should] show the world we’re open for business.”

Traditionally, second-homeowners, visitors and even residents wait until their calendars read June or even July before diving head-first into summer at the lake. But the West Shore Association wants to put boats in the water sooner.

“The [West Shore Association] is trying to give people good reasons to come and visit us during the shoulder seasons,” said West Shore Sports owner Rob Weston.

The business group will capitalize on local events like deck-opening parties coupled with the handful of homeowner associations that meet around Memorial Day, Weston said.

West Shore business owners also hope that other communities around the lake will jump on board for the inaugural event, or make similar efforts to shorten the shoulder seasons and extend business and tourism in the near future.

“We’re open for business and people should come down the West Shore,” Silverman said.

In marketing a series of existing and new events under one umbrella, the business association sent out 3,000 “Passports” to West Shore homeowners as part of the Opening Day at the Lake event. The passports list the Memorial Day Weekend festivities and give the holders a chance to earn passport stamps that can be redeemed for a dinner for two, bike rentals, mansion tours or even a ski pass.

Opening Day will feature some traditional events, including Sunnyside’s deck-opening party, Bridgetender’s patio opening, Chamber’s first day back in business and the Vikingsholm and Ehrman Mansion seasonal tours. New events include a boat poker run, Bike-a-thon and a swing dance fundraiser for the Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival, among others.

“We definitely want to be part of” Opening Day at the Lake, said California State Parks Lake Tahoe superintendent Susan Grove. “We like being part of the West Shore Association to encourage people to visit all the great things we do here on the West Shore. And we want to welcome everyone to our mansion openings.”