Thousands flock to the lakes of central NC over Memorial Day weekend

WAKE FOREST, NC (WNCN) – It’s the unofficial start of summer and warmer weather means more time outdoors for many.

After a number of COVID restrictions were eased, some people took to the water on Sunday to relax at Falls Lake over Memorial Day weekend.

Things could be very different this Memorial Day compared to last year. Whether you’re traveling, flying or just bringing the family together for a BBQ.

“You know, it’s Memorial Day weekend. We’re just trying to do something different. We usually have cookouts, but this time we’re getting on a boat,” said Travis Baity.

Baity and his family also celebrated a birthday over the bank holiday weekend.

“It’s good for the family to get together and kind of share and appreciate each other for being here,” Baity said.

This is the first time since the pandemic that many families can celebrate the holiday together without restrictions.

Lakegoers like Ashley Hinson and Christy Simpson said they just wanted to have fun and pay tribute to those who died serving our country.

“I’m super excited! I mean, it’s perfect weather out here, you know, bank holiday weekend,” Hinson said. “So far it’s good. Perfect weather, couldn’t ask for a better day.”

“Definitely have fun, enjoy good food. We tend to lean towards the sane side, play good music and dance, you know. I want to take her to Zumba a little bit,” Simpson said, laughing.

Many other lake visitors said partying is beautiful and fun when done with friends and family – but experts want them to remember to stay safe.

CBS 17 spoke to Cally Edwards, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross.

“The Red Cross encourages people to be safe in the water and to ensure everyone can swim. If you’re near water with a group, make sure you know who in your group can swim and who can’t,” Edwards said.

The Red Cross also offers swimming lessons for those who want to learn.

She also said families in crowded areas should look out for each other.

Lakegoers like Teya Richards said it’s important to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day.

“It’s meant to honor those who have served our country, so this is a good start. And that’s always the best way to start a summer,” Richards said.

CBS17 also spoke to a ranger at Falls Lake, who said they expect to see thousands of families on the lake and in the surrounding areas Sunday and Monday.

As a reminder, due to government reasons, no alcoholic beverages are allowed and if caught, disciplinary action could be taken.

For more information on guidelines to follow when visiting a public lake, click here. Thousands flock to the lakes of central NC over Memorial Day weekend

Dais Johnston

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