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Folks squeeze out the last few rays of summer fun
Mark Svendsen, left, and Perry Murphy prepare to head out Sunday on Lake Lanier for some fishing. Svendsen and Murphy were glad to find that one of the ramps was open at Clarks Bridge Park. - photo by Tom Reed


Kendra Finch of Gainesville enjoys a day at Laurel Park with her children, 8-year-old Ryan Walker and 7-year-old Karlesha Walker.

Members of Aposento Alto Church of God in Gainesville spent Labor Day relaxing at Laurel Park in North Hall and feasting on grilled chicken and steak.

But they also used the time "to talk about different things in our kids and our community," said Maria Roque, wife of the church’s pastor, Jose Roque.

"We’re here to help as many Hispanic families as possible," she added, speaking to the church’s mission.

The summer’s last three-day holiday offered other area residents the opportunity to get away, kick back and enjoy a day of light breezes and bright sunshine.

Many people visited area parks for family outings and picnics or simply a time of letting children climb through playgrounds and run on open lawns.

Low water levels at Lake Lanier didn’t detract Labor Day revelers.

Perry Murphy of Jackson County and Mark Svendsen of Atlanta launched their boat off a ramp at Clarks Bridge Park as they headed for an afternoon of fishing.

"We’re appreciative of Gainesville having this ramp here for us," said Murphy, who works in Buford at HD Marine.

"... We’ve been hurt by the ramps being closed in our business. Not only have we had the bad economy, like everybody else, but most of these big bass boats use so much fuel. It takes $200 to fill one up and then (boaters) can’t find a ramp to put it in at, with the lake dangerously low."

With the boat in the water and fishing gear at hand, Murphy said, "All right. We’re going to go have some fun."

Kendra Finch of West Hall said she and her children, 8-year-old Ryan Walker and 7-year-old Karlesha Walker, went to her parents’ home on Sunday before deciding to visit Laurel Park.

"We just wanted to take it easy and give the kids something to do," Finch said.

Her grandmother, visiting from Elberton, accompanied Finch and her children on the trip, saying that she wished she had brought her fishing rod and reel, Finch said.

Today’s plans call for visiting her brother in Flowery Branch for a cookout, she said.

Labor Day is a good time to stay close to home, "cook out and relax," Finch said. "This is about it."