LAKE OF THE OZARKS – The Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a three-day Mardi Gras Pub Crawl this weekend.
Over a three-day period, 16 local bars and restaurants will take part in the pub crawl. Traditionally, the pub crawl was only held in one evening, but the pandemic forced the Chamber of Commerce to make some changes.
Another change this year – there will be no shuttles between restaurants. People are expected to provide their own means of transportation via ridesharing, taxis, designated drivers, etc.
KC Cloke, the executive director of the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, said she wasn’t sure what the crowd would be like. She said they hadn’t put in place additional COVID-19 protocols.
“Our community has not taken on any additional mandates beyond what the state requires,” said Cloke. “I’ll say a lot of our venues are still promoting the face masks, and you’ll see. I mean you won’t see everyone walking around. “
This event comes after the lake received national attention from massive weekend parties on Memorial Day last year. The weekend prompted St. Louis County to issue a travel advisory and the Kansas City health director called for self-quarantine, according to NBC News.
Cloke said they decided to host the event again this year to help support local businesses.
“February brings our community over a million dollars in revenue that no other way is easy to put together,” said Cloke. “It is not only from you who participate by buying a bracelet, but also from your entire stay here at the lake.”
Derrick Dietrick is the operations manager at Dam Good Slice, a restaurant that participates in the Pub Crawl. He said he expected a good turnout.
“It’s a little difficult this year, but I still think we’ll have a pretty good turnout. I mean, I would say up to 5,000 people, ”said Dietrick. “We’ll just play it by ear and hope for the best.”
Dietrick said that while the lake is pretty open about COVID-19 precautions, people should still try to maintain social distance and use hand sanitizer.
“We have a lot of seating and space at our bar where we can fit 6 feet away and all that stuff too,” he said. “So nothing too important about precautions, just do what you can as an individual.”
Michael Harmison, co-owner of Harmy’s Cheese Store, is delighted that his restaurant is participating in the Pub Crawl for the first time this year.
“The pub crawl was something they were concerned about about the COVID restrictions and how well it was going to be,” Harmison said. “So we thought we’d offer a little help and get our name out.”
The Lake Pub Crawl uses an app as a passport and this year replaces the wristbands to identify the participants.