Park officials decided early in the day to reschedule the opening until Sunday.
While not a large turnout, a number of folks did take advantage of the day’s reduced entrance fee, 25-cent hot dogs, and lower cost of renting paddle boats, and spent their Sunday afternoon at the beach. Some even ventured into the lake’s chilly waters for a swim.
“This is a great way to spend the day,” said Sarah Pegues of Charlotte. “I enjoy getting out in the sun and watching all the people.”
Sixteen-year-olds Shan-TwJuan Bellamy, of Fairmont, and Justine Jenkins and Christian Baxlay, both of Lumberton, agreed as they splashed around in the water.
“This is all about fun in the sun,” Baxlay shouted.
Park Superintendent Bryan Graham said he was a little disappointed by the opening day’s turnout, but also said that he would be more disappointed if beach use doesn’t pick up as the summer rolls along. During an average summer weekend, he said, the beach is usually packed with 500 to 1,000 people.
“We expected 150 to 200 people today,” Graham said. “Last year on opening day we had 200.”
The superintendent said that in preparation for the summer season $10,000 was recently spent for the purchase of new paddle boats and kayaks. Another $8,000 was spent for new canoes.
The beach is now open Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m., for swimming and other water-related activities. The entrance fee is $2 per person.
For an additional $2, paddle boats, canoes and kayaks can be rented for 30 minutes.
Memorial Day weekend is typically considered the beginning of the summer, but with students in public school until early June, families looking for a water fun might opt for Luther Britt rather than Myrtle Beach, S.C.