With plenty of water in the rivers from recent rains, hot dry weather throughout the weekend, and a beer back in the hands of every rafter, the Fourth of July weekend is shaping up to be a monster for the New Braunfels water recreation industry, Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Kat Harrell reports.
"The town is already backed up with traffic which is a good sight to see," said Shane Wolf, president of Rockin R River rides and a leader in the recent fight to allow disposable bottles and cans back on the river. "Reservations are coming in, we're blowing up tubes, and getting ready for it."
This Fourth of July marks a breakthrough for the industry, which has struggled through low water levels on the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers due to the ongoing drought, and rainy holiday weekends like Memorial Day of this year.
But the biggest setback to the booming industry has been the ban on taking non returnable bottles and cans onto the rivers, which was passed by New Braunfels City Council in 2012 in the interest of cutting down on litter.
Outfitters say the summer of 2013 was their worst ever, with business down 50%.
The law was thrown out earlier this year by a judge in Austin on the grounds that the state, not municipalities, have authority over what happens on the state's navigable rivers. The judge also included an order that the ban cannot be reinstated while the city appeals.
Wolf says Memorial Day was slow, not just because of the rain, but because news that bottles and cans are allowed on the river again took a while to filter out to customers across the state.
He says he will urge his customers to be responsible in discarding their bottles and cans only in properly containers, and make sure they have a designated driver.
But he says this weekend will be a breakout.
"Big your sunscreen, sunglasses and a big hat," he said. " Outside of that, we have plenty of equipment and plenty of staff to treat everybody right and put them on the river to have a great time!"