Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Terry Everhart and York County Sheriff's Office Lt. Tim Smith say the crowd this year could be as large or larger than any Fourth of July to date.
"It's gotten to be a pretty big event," said Everhart. "And this year with gas prices, we've seen more people staying closer to home, coming out on the water and anchoring in one spot and staying all day. It's more of a social atmosphere, the way the lake was 10 or 15 years ago."
Both officers are in charge of keeping everyone safe, and provided the following information:
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE WATER
• Extra enforcement will be on the lake, including two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department boats, two York County Sheriff's Office boats and two York County personal watercraft (during daylight hours).
• Officers will be looking for intoxicated boaters, reckless boaters and boats that do not have at least one properly-fitting life jacket for each passenger on board.
• Officers will ask that there is no swimming in congested areas or after dark, and that boaters not shoot fireworks from the boat.
• Increased boat traffic is expected. Memorial Day 2008 was more crowded than the Fourth of July and Labor Day the past three or four years, causing officers to believe an exceptionally large crowd could gather this weekend.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON LAND
• No parking will be allowed from Palisades Parkway in Steele Creek to Buster Boyd Bridge, including Red Fez Club Road.
• No parking will be allowed on S.C. 49 near River Hills on the sidewalks.
• Blucher Circle will be converted to a one-way road to prevent traffic problems.
• Exiting Lake Wylie after the fireworks display will be right-turn only. Vehicles entering S.C. 49 from the River Hills side will travel toward Buster Boyd Bridge while vehicles entering from the other side will travel south.
Where can I get gas on the lake? The average price of gas on Lake Wylie as of Monday morning was a little more than $4.50 a gallon at local marinas, with marina owners expecting those prices to hold steady through the holiday. A few spots where gas is available include: Lake Wylie Marina, $4.47; Lake Club Marina, $4.59; Tega Cay Marina, $4.59; Pier 49 Marina, $4.59; Pier 88 Yacht Club at River Hills Marina,$4.87ON LAND
As of Monday, several Steele Creek stations were lower than stations on S.C. 49 according to charlottegasprices.com. BP, 12922 Walker Branch Dr. at RiverGate, $3.89; Texaco, 9424 S. Tryon St.; $3.89; vs. Texacos, Shell Sam's Mart and BP, all S.C. 49, $3.91. Gas prices are not expected to rise significantly this week. Visit gasbuddy.com.
According to weather.com, the holiday weekend should start warm and cool with increasing chances of rain in the Lake Wylie area.
THURSDAY A high of 94 degrees is expected with a low of 70 degrees on a partly sunny day, with a 20 percent chance of rain.
FRIDAY A high of 92 degrees and a low of 71 degrees with partly cloudy skies brings a 10 percent chance of rain.
SATURDAY A high of 90 degrees and a low of 70 degrees, with scattered thunderstorms possible and a 40 percent chance of rain.
SUNDAY A high of 87 degrees and a low of 70 degrees, with scattered thunderstorms possible and a 40 percent chance of rain.
SHORT ON CASH FOR FLASH On Monday, Lake Wylie Fireworks Fund was $3,000 short of the needed $20,000 to light the fuse Friday, said Andy Kane, who manages the community fund through Camp Thunderbird. On June 10, the fireworks fund had only $7,000. Community contributions, including donations from the Red Fez Club, brought that total up within $3,000 of the needed total in only three weeks. Because a $10,000 deposit is due early next year for the 2009 fireworks display, organizers hope to exceed the goal. To make a donation, call (800) 732-3855 or send checks marked "Fireworks Fund" to One Thunderbird Lane, Lake Wylie, S.C. 29710.
What's happening9:45 P.M.
The annual Lake Wylie Fireworks Display shoots off from Camp Thunderbird, with prime viewing spots atop the lake in a boat or at Buster Boyd Access Area, T-Bones on the Lake, the deck at Rey Azteca and the patio of Lake Wylie Pizza and Italian. (803) 831-2827
The land parade, featuring public officials and cars and floats decorated by Tega Cay residents, winds through the city along Tega Cay Drive. (803) 548-3512
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Windjammer Park hosts a party including music, food, exhibits and prime viewing of several attractions including the boat parade, canoe joust and ski show. (803) 548-3512
The canoe joust at Windjammer Park pits teams of two--one paddler and one jouster--against each other in a tournament format. All ages can compete. (803) 548-3512
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
The city's annual boat parade begins at Nivens Creek and ends at Windjammer Park, lasting about an hour. Mayor Bob Runde will hand out prize certificates for the best decorations, which will be judged from Windjammer Park. (803) 548-3512
The Carolina Show Ski Team water ski show follows the boat parade at Windjammer Park. The show lasts an hour. (803) 548-3512
The Tega Cay Lions Club hosts its annual fish fry at the Philip T. Glennon Community Center in Tega Cay at a cost of $10 for adults and $5 for children. Flounder, chicken fingers, baked beans, potato salad, hushpuppies, slaw and iced tea are available. Bruster's Real Ice Cream will sell ice cream also. (803) 548-1648
The city birthday party takes place at the Philip T. Glennon Community Center, including a cake cutting celebrating the city's 26th birthday. (803) 548-3512
A fireworks display follows the city birthday party, with viewing available at the Philip T. Glennon Community Center. (803) 548-3512