Portage Lakes State Park will draw as many as 50,000 visitors seeking fun in the sun to its 13 lakes this summer.
That's good news for business owners in the south Summit County communities that border the park. Their livelihood depends on great weather to beckon boaters and sunbathers to the area.
''If I had 100 more docks, I could use them,'' said Mark Norris, owner of several businesses that line the lakes.
The annual pilgrimage of water worshipers officially kicks off with the Memorial Day weekend as the boating season brings flocks of people to the lakes in South Akron and the communities of Green, Coventry Township and New Franklin.
They might stay a day, a weekend or a week. The money they spend can make or break the local service industry, New Franklin Mayor Al Bollas said.
Seasonal visitors boost revenue for local business owners by at least 20 percent, he said.
''The boating season is a big shot in the arm for our restaurants and bars,'' Bollas said.
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