Great weather brings out Chicago

April 24, 2009 5:00:43 PM PDT
The temperature hit 80 degrees on Friday. People headed to the parks to enjoy the wonderful weather.

It has been six months since we have had such nice weather, October 12 to be exact. It was 82 degrees back on that day.

Boaters all over Chicago have been waiting anxiously for the warm weather.

On Friday, they were moving with haste at boat yards everywhere, allowing the weather to lift spirits and revenue streams as spring splashes down in Chicago.

"We want to get the boats in as quickly as possible. The boaters here in Chicago basically have 18 weekends in their season, so the weather plays a huge part in their lives," said Rick Haislip, general manager, Goose Island Boat Yard.

The boat yard will be cleared of shrink wrap and boats by Memorial Day. Friday's weather says the days of tight schedules are over for one crew.

"I looked out, saw the sun, if the wind was blowing or not and the day was already planned," said Dana Sacks, boater.

And an engine that needs tuning, sunny skies mean dollar signs for owners and service providers.

"Spring and fall are the most volatile times as far as winds here. At the beginning of spring when the winds are blowing out of the northeast, Lake Michigan is horrible, it's terrible. It becomes a scheduling nightmare . You cannot force people to go out in those conditions or bring their boat in those conditions," said Haislip.

"The good thing is that gas is about half the price it was last year. That just goes into the budget. But it's just a very nice way of life. We feel very fortunate we're able to enjoy it," said Sacks.

Crowds milled around Rush Street on Friday afternoon. Many cafes in the area were packed with people out enjoying the weather.

Nice weather perfect start for weekend

Many say that winter and spring have been torture, and that's why Chicagoans deserve these 80s. The sun is out, along with people on the dock, a sailboat and don't forget the grill and coolers.

Edward Morales and his friends have set up camp for a day at the beach. Others hit the lakefront early to bike, jog and walk. Some say they are breaking out of hibernation.

"I think we appreciate it in Chicago a lot more because it's not always beautiful like this. So take advantage of it around here," said Carrie Mitchell.

"I typically don't mind the winter, but this winter has seemed to last forever. I'm kind of glad to be able to get out and enjoy the sun, the beach and the beautiful city we live in," said Ted Eidukas.

Job hopefuls are taking the day a bit more seriously, coming to the popular Castaways Bar and Grill to apply for summer work.

The bar and grill was rushing to open Friday. Its official opening is not until mid-May, but managers say they aren't going to miss out on this opportunity to turn sunshine into money.

"We have 80-degree weather. We're going to try and make it work. It takes a lot to get ready, though. It takes weeks and weeks and weeks. We have just been hauling. We're getting lucky," said Neil Josefowicz, Castaways.

The Chicago Park District says that they do not officially open with lifeguards until Memorial Day weekend, so be careful if you are going to be swimming.


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