Photo by Curt Yeomans
Sam Davis, a lifeguard at “The Beach” at Clayton County International Park, inspects a turtle-shaped decoration in the park’s children’s pool on Wednesday. “The Beach” is scheduled to open today for its summer 2012 season.
Some people spend their time at a beach relaxing.
They lay out on the sand and work on their tan. They might also chat up their friends, build a sand castle, play a little beach volleyball, do a little flirting with members of the opposite sex, or get in a little bit of swimming.
Clayton County Parks and Recreation staff members who have been hanging out at “The Beach,” at Clayton County International Park, in recent weeks, however, have been doing anything but relaxing. They have spent the last two months painting facilities, going through orientations and training sessions, and getting everything lined up for their annual Memorial Day Opening Weekend celebration.
“This is it,” said Troy Stubbs, the deputy administrator for Clayton County International Park, on Wednesday. “It’s crunch time.”
The county recreation department will officially open “The Beach” for its summer 2012 season, Saturday, at 10 a.m., and the festivities are set to run until 9 p.m. Thousands of people are expected to pass through International Park, located at 2300 Ga. Hwy. 138, in Jonesboro, through the Memorial Day weekend, according to Stubbs.
Last year, Stubbs said, 5,200 people came to the park during “The Beach’s” opening weekend. “It’s probably our second-biggest weekend of the year, with the Fourth of July weekend being our biggest weekend, of course,” he said. He added that admission to “The Beach” is set to cost $10 per person, but parking will be free during the weekend.
This year, recreation staff have added live music, provided by The Contagious Band, to the opening day festivities. Stubbs said the band will perform four sets throughout the afternoon and evening, between noon and 8 p.m. A fireworks show is scheduled to take place after the band’s final set, he added.
In the week leading up to today’s opening, Clayton County Parks and Recreation staff trained 45 lifeguards to work at the beach, according to the park’s deputy administrator. They also held orientation for their ticket operators, and staff who will work in “The Beach’s” birthday room, he said.
Stubbs spent Wednesday afternoon working to make sure the computer system at the park’s front gates was operational. A pair of staff members, meanwhile, were stocking “The Beach Store” with inflatable arm bands, goggles, beach hats and other beach supplies.
The staff’s work over the last two months has come down to the party set to kick off another season at the beach. Stubbs said the weather, which is traditionally unpredictable in April and May, has been largely cooperative this year, so the staff had more opportunities to get everything ready so other people could relax at “The Beach” Saturday.
“This year, we got pretty lucky, and it all just kind of came together at the end,” Stubbs said.