DICKINSON COUNTY, Iowa (KCAU) — Many people from across Siouxland have made it a tradition to come to West Lake Okoboji to celebrate the Fourth of July, but rising costs have made things difficult this year for tourists as well as city officials.

Melisah Rea and her family drive to West Lake every year from Omaha. Rea said she and her family don’t mind the 200-mile trip to the Iowa Great Lakes, but she said the high cost of gas might turn other tourists away.

“Friday before the 4th, I was thinking that there would be a lot more people, and when we went to the restaurant, there weren’t as many and I don’t think there are as many boats out on the lake as there usually is,” she said.

Gas prices aren’t the only obstacle for travelers this summer. Blain Andera is the president and CEO of the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. That group has provided the fireworks show for more than 40 years. He said those fireworks are much more expensive to purchase this year.

“Fireworks have went up a lot, 30% – 35%,” he said. “So we’ve seen an increase in our fireworks cost, but the community has really come together.”

Paul Plumb is the marketing director for Arnolds Park Amusement Park. He said park staff plan out the Fourth of July events a year in advance, so making changes due to higher prices is no easy task.

“It’s tough to go in and change prices now after we’ve had the whole plan in place, so it’s something that we look at though on a regular basis and if prices needed to be changed we would,” he said. “Obviously, wages in the area have gone up and we have followed that, so that does affect our bottom line too.”

Plumb said despite high gas prices, sales at the amusement park so far this year are on par with previous years.

Dickinson County will have fireworks displays Friday night through the 4th.

A list of fireworks locations can be found below:

  • Lake Park by Silver Lake on July 1
  • Arnold’s Park Amusement Park on July 2
  • Big Spirit Lake on July 3
  • Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Fireworks on the Fourth of July right in front of Arnold’s Park Amusement Park by West Lake Okoboji

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