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Area businesses hope to draw fall tourists
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Jacky Wills prices various Halloween items for sale inside the Lake Lanier Islands Resort gift shop at the new Haunted Village.

Haunted Nights of Lights

When: 7-11 p.m. daily through Oct. 31
Where: Lake Lanier Islands Resort, 7000 Holiday Road, Lake Lanier Islands
Cost: $20 per vehicle for up to nine passengers Monday-Thursdays, $25 Friday-Sundays

Get Out

For more info about fall events in the area see Get Out, published Thursday's in The Times. 

Summer may be over, but area businesses are working hard to make sure local tourism doesn't freeze up with the cooling temperatures.

"Hall County is definitely a lake destination. We're busiest from the time that it warms up right after Easter to right after things start to cool off after Labor Day," said Stacey Dickson, Lake Lanier Convention and Visitor's Bureau president. "The fall leaves certainly bring more people to our area, but they tend to bypass us and go straight to the mountain areas."

Lake Lanier Islands Resort is doing its part to get more people to stop in Hall County during the cooler months. This week, the resort launched its Haunted Nights Of Lights - a 3.5-mile Halloween-themed animated lights display.

"This is the first year that we've done this," said Grier Todd, resort CEO. "We tried to think of a creative way to generate excitement about the Islands and all that we have to offer, even after the summer season."

Resort officials are hoping the haunted lights event, which is open nightly through Oct. 31, will become just as popular as the annual Magical Nights of Lights, the resort's annual Christmas display.

Islands officials also are hoping to use the fall activities as a way to remind folks there's plenty to do at Lake Lanier, even when the lake is too cold to swim in.

"Our slowest season is from January through March," Grier said. "We hope to create awareness about what other (amenities and activities) we have up here."

Other activities like corn mazes, festivals and even walking tours of the Flowery Branch Cotton District all help to draw more tourists - and their money - to Hall County.

"Anything that extends the lake season and brings tourists to our area is a bonus," Dickson said. "The more they stop and the longer they stay, the more familiar they get with all of the things that we have to offer."

Regional events