LAKE TRAVIS, Texas (KXAN) - Sail andSki's Rod Malone knew he would get some attention with thehonor his northwest Austin boat dealership just received, but thataward went well beyond customers, peaking the interest oforganizers of the “World's Largest Party on theWater.”
"We were just named by BoatingIndustry Magazine as the #1 Dealer in North America,”Malone explained.
That area had record fuel sales, thousands of hotel roombookings, and an average of $100 in grocery sales per boat. Here athome, Malone is banking on that same success. Lake Travis needsit.
"(The event) could ultimately be ranked like SXSW or Austin CityLimits," he said.
Lake Travis lost a lot of water during a two-year drought. Newislands popped up as the bottom of the lake began to emerge. By theend of last summer, boaters were down to just one ramp.
“Most of the big boats are out,” said boater CaseyClawson, “because they're docked in the marinas. You justdon't see a lot of the weekend warriors out. It's not as busy as itnormally is."
Water is the biggest worry, wondering if the event could pullout. Last July, the level on Lake Travis was at 638 feet. It hasgone up about 20 feet since then but still has another 11 feet togo before reaching the normal level for this July when AquaPaloozais supposed to take place.
"Certainly, if there's not enough water in the lake,” saidLaura Mitchell, president of the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce,“the event can't happen, but we'll cross our fingers. ElNino's still around. We've had some good rain so far and hope thatwill continue."
Mitchell added during the drought, surrounding communities sawtheir sales tax revenues drop. Businesses have been waiting for aboost like this.
"Hopefully, that shot in the arm we need," she said.
If AquaPalooza is anything like what it's been in the past,Malone's boating business stands to make a lot of money, too.
"If you don't have a boat,” he joked, “get one. Ifyou have a friend that has a boat, load it up and come on out."
Organizers are still trying to finalize who will be the musicalacts and the exact site for the event, but we do know it will besomewhere in the area between Pace Bend Park and Mansfield Dam onone of the two last weekends of July.
Another big concern beyond the water is the security needed forall of those people. We've learned, in a stakeholder meeting, localpolice, the Travis County Sheriff's Office, the county parksdivision, LCRA, even private security do have concerns. They're allon board for now and just need to iron out the details.
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
Cold temperatures forecast for Saturday morning have prompted Georgetown officials to cancel the parade associated with the annual Christmas Stroll. The Stroll, however, will go on.
A Lago Vista couple faces child endangerment charges after authorities found their home covered in feces and garbage.
A man is charged with murder in the shooting death Wednesday of a woman at a North Austin auto repair shop, police said Friday.
It's the first criminal charge following a yearlong criminal investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
The man who fell into a flood control channel and drowned last month was identified Friday as 57-year-old Ronald M. Allen.