2018-05-24 / Front Page

Plate set for pretty weekend

By Jen Murphy
of the Enterprise staff

The Summer Solstice is still four weeks away, but the busy season has arrived in Leelanau County. An increase in cars and people is being accompanied by an increase temperatures, which has been a long time coming to the peninsula.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Lutz said county residents and visitors can expect a very “summery pattern” for the Memorial Day weekend. Despite a small chance of rain, sunshine should abound. Predictions made earlier this week called for rain.

It’s the perfect setup for Memorial Day weekend activities. Superintendent Tom Ulrich said the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore staff is ready.

“We’re looking forward, after a slow start to the season after a late spring and April snow, to starting our year with a traditionally big Memorial Day weekend,” he said.

According to Ulrich, campers have been busy claiming coveted sites at the D.H. Day Campground. “We are full, or close to it,” he said.

2018 will be the last year campers will use a first-come, first-served priority for campsite assignments. Beginning next year, reservations for sites can be made up to six months in advance.

Camping is just the tip of the iceberg for those searching for weekend fun at Sleeping Bear.

“We have special events going on this weekend,” Ulrich said. “Glen Haven Days and the Star Party. Glen Haven Days is sort of an under-the-radar event for us. It’s really cool.”

The open-house style event will take place all day Friday and Saturday at the Glen Haven historic village and the lifesaving station.

Ulrich added that “star parties” offered by the National Lakeshore have increased in popularity. “The word has gotten out,” he said. “We partner with the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society. If it’s clear or partly cloudy, it’s a fabulous way to see the night sky. These events who don’t have telescopes at home, or don’t know much about celestial bodies, learn a lot.”

The Find Your Park After Dark star party will be Saturday from 9 to 11 p.m. at the Dune Climb.

The one exception to predicted idyllic weekend weather may be Friday evening.

Friday holds the highest temperatures with a high of 81 degrees and the highest chance of rain. “As people arrive for the weekend on Friday, they may see some rain. The chance looks like about 40 percent,” Lutz said.

For restaurants like La Bécasse in Maple City, that may be the night they see a spike in diners. Co-owner Brooke Hazael Massieux said rain can actually be beneficial to the restaurant business. “Rainy weather makes for earlier reservations since guests aren’t out on the water or the golf course - as long as it’s not too rainy so that they just decide to stay in and bunker down,” she said.

With temperatures predicted to to reach the mid-70s, Saturday and Sunday should remain dry with the exception of a possible thunderstorm or line of showers, according to Lutz.

“It’s going to be warm,” he said. “If there is rain, it will be hit and miss, or a small line of thunderstorms.”

Temps will be a little cooler on Monday with Memorial Day observances on tap in Suttons Bay Township and Northport, with highs in the low 70s, according to the National Weather Service.

With partly sunny skies painted blue and white, it should be a picture-perfect for Memorial Day celebrations across the county.

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