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Tropical Storm Hermine interrupts Labor Day plans

By by jennifer preyss
Sept. 6, 2010 at 4:06 a.m.

Marissa Villarreal, 12; Joe Villarreal, 8; Ivory Caballero, 3, feed the ducks at Riverside Park in Victoria on Labor Day.

With gloomy skies looming overhead and wet soil moistening the bottoms of their shoes, Vincent Martinez and 13-year-old Vincent Martinez, Jr., made their way through Riverside Park's disc golf course.

"We'd been in the house all day and we thought we'd come out and see if anyone else was playing," Martinez said.

Though they planned to spend Labor Day outdoors, the Martinezes were trapped inside most of the day because of Tropical Storm Hermine moving through the Crossroads.

"It rained all day and my son kept saying, 'Dad, I'm bored, let's go play disc golf,'" Martinez said.

Only one day earlier, Martinez said he and his son were at Riverside Park and observed many families out barbecuing and playing disc golf. On Labor Day however, the park was sparse.

"Everybody that was trying to go do anything today, the rain spoiled it," Martinez said.

American Automobile Association (AAA) officials reported Friday that Labor Day travel would be up 10 percent in 2010 including hotel, car, and airline bookings. They predicted nearly 34 million Americans to travel between Thursday, Sept. 2 and Monday, Sept. 6, an increase of 3 million travelers from 2009.

But even if area families had travel plans, Hermine may have kept them home.

At least two area hotels said vacancies were lower this holiday weekend, and nearby coastal hotels weren't having any better luck retaining guests.

"Normally Monday is pretty busy here at the hotel, but today it's slow," Alfred Mata, Victoria Holiday Inn Express front desk staffer, said Monday.

At Candlewood Suites hotel in Victoria, manager Chris McPherson said his vacancy was similarly bare.

"For this particular holiday, our numbers are down, but our regular business is still good," McPherson said. "I would assume the economy and weather has something to do with it. There aren't a lot of people traveling, at least in Victoria."

Hotels in Port Lavaca and Port Aransas also reported low vacancies due to poor weather conditions associated with Tropical Storm Hermine.

"We were expected to have a busy weekend, but everybody left today because of the storm," Ashley Vint, a front desk employee at Port Aransas Beachgate CondoSuites and Motel, said.

Reiterating those sentiments, Joanne Lozano, a front desk staffer at the Best Western Port Lavaca Inn said, "We are so dead, the weather is keeping people away."

Even though Martinez said he didn't have plans to travel out of the region, he was disappointed he couldn't really enjoy the holiday.

"We didn't have a cookout today, the rain spoiled that idea," Martinez said. "But we're going through the disc golf course, and it's good time with my son."

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