- Associated Press - Thursday, July 10, 2014

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - Al Webster tries not to miss the festivities surrounding Boat Week, especially Saturday’s send-off for the Port Huron-to-Mackinac Island Sailboat Race.

For the Port Huron resident, this week’s Boat Week is a tradition.

“It’s my hometown, and I expect it,” Webster told the Times Herald of Port Huron (http://bwne.ws/1qOsbkD).

Like Webster, organizers, restaurants, businesses and boaters are preparing for the crowds they’ve learned to expect for Boat Week.

“I’ve been working on it for a couple weeks, already,” said Nancy Laming, manager for the Zebra Lounge.

“There’s extra everything. My beer order is probably two to three times bigger, and the food order is probably just as big.”

Scott Scandalito, co-owner of Lynch’s Irish Tavern, said he also is stocking up for the crowds of people headed to downtown Port Huron.

“It’s a big week,” Scandalito said. “We’re busier than normal the whole week and, of course, the weekend is very busy.”

As the demand at restaurants ticks up, so does business for Rick Dionne.

Dionne, vice president for Earl Smith Distributing Co., estimated the company would deliver 10,000 to 15,000 cases of beer, wine and soft drinks in the Port Huron area during Boat Week.

“It usually pops about 25 percent over the previous week,” Dionne said.

Dionne said Earl Smith Distributing works with retailers before Boat Week to ensure they’re fully stocked before road blocks, carnivals, and parades limit access to the restaurants.

“We’ve been involved in these types of events almost every year for the past several years,” Dionne said. “We’re used to it.”

Kristy Hazard, director of MainStreet Port Huron, said the days before Blue Water Fest will be filled with last minute painting, banners, and orders.

“I’m amazed at the number of late concessions that come in,” Hazard said.

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