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Fourth of July celebrations draw bigger crowds, more business to Northwoods communities

The weekend’s Fourth of July celebrations drew in crowds of people across the Northwoods, with some saying parade routes were more packed than ever.

The Northwoods of Wisconsin have become an increasingly popular summer vacation destination.

People flocked to the area during the height of COVID pandemic to escape city crowds, and they keep on coming.

Last year was a record setting year for visitor spending in Oneida County. Vilas, Lincoln, and Iron counties all saw visitor spending increase from pre-pandemic numbers.

If the weekend’s Fourth of July celebrations are any indication, that trend could continue into 2022.

“We had lots of people commenting that they felt the parade had even more participants viewing it than ever in the past,” says Kim Emerson, executive director of the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce. “I do know at Party at the Street it definitely seemed a lot busier than it has in past years.”

All of these viewers mean booming business for local restaurants and shops.

The Daily Grind in Eagle River had its busiest weekend on record.

Hooked & Tagged also had a busy holiday.

“It was pretty busy,” says one of the store’s owners, Sarah Zidek. “We were up from previous years.”

She attributes this partly to the dreary weather, which deters people from their lakeside plans.

Emerson agrees. But it might be more than that, she says.

Some businesses that take reservations are booked through the end of summer.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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