Independence Day weekend: Detroit expects record tourist footfall

 Saturday, July 3, 2021 

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Detroit expects huge tourist footfall during this July weekend. Carrie Johnston, the president of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, estimated businesses lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue in 2020, during the height of the pandemic.

The streets and waters of Detroit Lakes, Minn., were already filling up with people Tuesday, June 29, ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

Carrie Johnston, the president of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, said seeing this happen this close to the holiday is a sigh of relief compared to last year.

Johnston added this is starting to be a complete flip from 2020, as she estimated most businesses in town lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of those businesses was Mainstream Boutique, where owner Barbara Zahasky said sales were down 22% last year. She said this year is the most vibrant she’s seen downtown in her eight years of being downtown.

Hub41, a restaurant just across from Detroit Lake, was limited to just having outdoor seating at this time, according to owner Gretchen Hunter. Hunter said even though her employees are now trying to push past food shortages this year, she’s happy to have a steady flow of customers again.

The growth hasn’t been limited to just businesses, as city leaders are also gearing up to cut the ribbon on the Heartland Trail, a nearly five-mile multiuse trail between Detroit Lakes and Frazee, Minn., on Thursday, July 1.

Chleone Stewart, Detroit Lakes’ tourism director, said state legislators helped fund the project, and she can’t wait for them to see what she calls the “fruits of their labour.”

With hundreds more expected to be on the water this year from last year, and the city’s firework show expected to be back after getting canceled last year, business owners are hoping the the wave of traffic lasts beyond July 4, as they continue the climb back to normalcy.

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