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Summer shines: Hot holiday weekend kicks off season
A-Summer Begins pic1
Swayde Stephens holds on to her German shepherd Vala as the two float down the Etowah River Sunday with her sister Sienna Stephens and friend Georgia Chester. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson County News

In a high-pitched squeak, 4-year-old Patience Finnegan ran toward her grandma.

"Look, Nanna, I'm soaking wet," she said, as she turned around and ran back into the sprinklers with her sister Kassidy at Rock Creek Park's Rotary Island.

Roxanne Zacharias of Cumming just smiled as she watched the little ones enjoy an afternoon cooling off from the sun's hot summer rays.

Memorial Day is considered by many to be the true beginning of summer, and by the crowds at the local pools, rivers and lake, the hot summer sun was a welcome distraction after spring that produced a few warm days but just as many cool ones.

With temperatures in the 90s for the long Memorial Day weekend, Zacharias said she and the grandkids plan to spend a lot of time outside this summer.

"My niece called and told me about [the waterpark]. I didn't even know it was here. We'll definitely be coming back," she said. "It's relaxing and not so crowded like the pools."

Sisters Swayde and Sienna Stephens, along with friend Georgia Chester, took advantage of the warm weather with a trip down the Etowah River.

Floating on tubes, the sisters also brought their German shepherd Vala along for the relaxing ride.
The girls said the pup enjoys cooling off in the river as much as they do.

Local authorities described the weekend as quiet and uneventful, though there were several reported incidents on busy Lake Lanier, which saw eight people ticketed for boating under the influence, according to Georgia Department of Natural Resources figures released Monday night.

DNR reported one boating incident and one injury over the same period, with the incident linked to alcohol, according to the agency.

All of those tickets, the incident and the injury came before the actual holiday.

The statistics accounted for the period from 12:01 a.m. Saturday through 8 p.m. Monday.