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Marinas open their doors as part of national celebration
Jeremy Saarda lowers a boat after taking it out of the dry storage area at Port Royale Marina. The former Lan-Mar Marina plans its grand opening Saturday during National Marina Day. - photo by Tom Reed

Several Lake Lanier marinas plan to open their doors Saturday to customers and visitors as part of National Marina Day.

"We want to make people aware of the marinas and the lake, but we also combine it with our customer appreciation day," said Janice Wagner, manager of Sunrise Cove Marina at 5725 Flat Creek Road in West Hall.

"Without the customers, you wouldn’t have the (national day)."

The Association of Marina Industries decided in 2001 to proclaim the second Saturday of August as National Marina Day.

The goal is to educate the public and government leaders "about the important role the marina industry plays ... as family-friendly gateways to boating and stewards of the environment," according to the organization’s Web site.

Port Royale Marina off Lan-Mar Road in Forsyth County plans to incorporate the grand opening, featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony, entertainment and giveaways, into the day.

The marina also is sponsoring a member appreciation event later in the day, with a band and food.

"It’s a multifunctional day, with all kinds of stuff going on," said Doug Traina, whose Atlanta-based company, TEI Industries, owns the marina.

The day also will give Traina an opportunity to show off future plans.

TEI bought the marina, which had been known as Lan-Mar Marina since the 1950s, three years ago.

Traina hopes to transform the 100-acre site into a lakeside community, with a 2,200-slip marina (up from the 990 when it was Lan-Mar), a subdivision, hotel and restaurant.

Future efforts, expected as the economy rebounds, also will include building a new road connecting the marina to Ga. 369.

"We wanted to bring (the marina) upscale," Traina said. "... Everything about the facility is going to be state-of-the-art."

He said he believes the marina, when completed, "will be one of the largest in the country."

Sunrise Cove is planning to sponsor a catered party and will feature a band and a "clown to paint (children’s) faces," Wagner said.

About 600 people have responded to an invitation to the event, she added.

Habersham Marina at 2200 Habersham Road in Forsyth County will give away door prizes, with eligible customers being "anyone who comes in the store," said Darlene Haddock, administrative assistant.

The gifts are a way to show appreciation, she said.

"We don’t have the space to accommodate a big set-up in the parking lots or anything like that," Haddock said. "We just try to do a little something for the people who do come out."

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