PISMO BEACH, Calif. – A busy year for tourism in Pismo Beach is about to reach its high point this weekend. With the Fourth of July landing on a Friday, thousands of visitors are expected to descend upon this popular beach town.
According to Peter Candela, Chief Executive Officer of the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce, business has been booming so far this year. "2014 in tourism is great. It looks like it's going to be the best year we've had in years," said Candela.
The holiday comes less than two weeks after the annual car show, which is another one of the city's busiest weekends. That event drew more than 150,000 visitors over its three day run. Thousands more will arrive this weekend, which is good news for local businesses.
"We're definitely going to have full crew working all the weekend," said Susan Ford, manager of Pier Gifts. Located in the downtown area on Pomeroy Avenue, the souvenir shop was busy on Wednesday with tourists buying everything from tee shirts to sunglasses to magnets. Among those in the store was the McBride family from Farmersville, who say Pismo Beach is a more economical destination than other tourist attractions in the state. "It's cheaper over this way. We go to San Francisco, we like to go watch the games, but it's a lot more expensive. It's just cheaper to come down here and not as much money to have fun with the family."
While some tourists are visiting because of economical considerations, there is one attraction in particular that is a big reason the city has been popular with tourists, especially those from the Central Valley, for generations. "The weather! It's like 105 today in Bakersfield. To come over here when it's 65 is nice. It's nice to come over here and enjoy some of the cooler weather," said Daniel Farris of Bakersfield.
To entertain the large number of tourists this weekend, the city is holding its annual Fourth of July celebration this Friday at the parking lot next to the pier. Scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. is a full day of festivities, including music, food, arts and crafts. The feature attraction is the fireworks display above the pier beginning at 9:00 p.m.