Don’t forget Buffalo Beach. That is what business owners along the Scott County town’s riverfront want. And that’s why they are hosting a tug of war on the beach in hopes of drawing people.
They say the beach’s popularity has dropped since Scott County banned alcohol from nearby Buffalo Shores beach. Though alcohol is still allowed on the city beach, that isn’t the point, said Lori Bahnks, manager of the Beach Pub.
“It is just letting everyone know of the resource we have here in Buffalo — the river,” she said. “You can walk the length of the town along the beach.”
The tug of war Saturday and Sunday is in conjunction with Buffalo Days, which runs Friday and Saturday, with a parade on Sunday.
Scott County banned alcohol at Buffalo Shores last August to curtail alcohol problems and lower the number of beach-goers. Marc Miller, deputy director of Scott County Conservation referred to a recent comment card from a visitor stating their family didn’t have to fight for space with boats on the beach and the campground was quiet at night.
“We’ve had a lot fewer incidents,” Miller said. “The rangers are really focusing on educating the public they can’t drink on the beach.
“It has become more family-oriented,” he said. “It has been nothing but a good thing from our view.”
The view isn’t as rosy from Les Miller’s point of view. He owns Biscuits Bar and Grill and Barely Afloat, an ice cream shop in Buffalo.
“I think pretty much everyone we talk to says there is no fun on Buffalo Beach,” Miller said. “It is a good place to have fun with your family and bring your beverages as long you don’t get out of control.”
Buffalo Mayor Doug Anderson points to a beach on an island on the other side of the channel directly across from Buffalo Beach.
“Our beach isn’t as busy as we used to be,” he said. “I could go to Les’ and there’s a handful of boats at our beach. Look across the river and it is packed.”
To draw attention and people the beach, a tug of war competition of seven-person teams will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday. On Sunday, volunteer fire departments around the area will pull in a tug starting at 10 a.m. to win the cash prize raised from the previous day’s entry fees.
Miller hopes the event takes hold. He wants to see more events on the beach.
“We have a front porch to the Mississippi River in Buffalo,” he said. “We need to utilize it and bring awareness to it. Buffalo has a lot of room to grow.”