After a gloomy stretch of weather, Maine’s tourism industry got just what it needed: a hot, muggy Independence Day weekend that officials hope will portend good things for the rest of the summer.

The state saw sunny skies and balmy temperatures that drew people outside for cookouts, hiking in state parks and sunning on beaches.

It was so busy on the Fourth of July that some people had to wait an hour to get into the Sebago Lake State Park when the gates were opened in Casco. Beaches were packed as temperatures approached 90 degrees.

“It has been a very busy weekend. The weather helped out a lot,” said Josh Pelletier at the Grand Beach Inn in Old Orchard Beach, where all 97 rooms were booked for the holiday weekend.

Even Sunday afternoon, the Old Orchard Beach remained crowded with sunbathers and bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The weather held for the weekend. There were a few thunder showers, and a fog bank delayed the firing of Portland’s fireworks for a day. But the weather was sunny for the most part.

The temperature peaked at 94 degrees Saturday in Fryeburg, and many parts of the state saw 90-degree heat again Sunday.

It was so hot that some people had to interrupt their weekends to try to purchase some relief.

“We’re selling a lot of air conditioners, I can tell you that,” said Loris Ruff, operations manager at Best Buy in Bangor. The store was running low on some models before another truck arrived, she added.

Vaughn Stinson, executive director of the Maine Tourism Association, had said a good stretch of weather was badly needed to make up a lackluster seven-week span from mid-May to June.

“We really had seven weekends in a row that were pretty blah, and I’m being kind saying that,” he said.

Getting splashed in the face with 60-degree water proved to be just the ticket to staying cool on a hot and muggy weekend for whitewater rafters on the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers.

“It’s getting better every weekend,” said Kristin Skidgell at Northern Outdoors in The Forks, which was maxed out with 124 whitewater rafters on the Kennebec River on Saturday.

The Maine Turnpike Authority expected some 700,000 cars and trucks to travel the toll road over the weekend. State police patrol coverage was doubled to crack down traffic violators.


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