Laguna Beach Has Record Labor Gay Weekend

LAGUNA BEACH, CA – Laguna is back. In speaking to residents, visitors, and gay and straight business owners in Laguna Beach the past two weeks, it is apparent that the 2006 three-day Labor Day Weekend broke all records.

“There has been a buzz here all summer,” said Joel Herzer, owner of Woody’s at the Beach, 1305 South Coast Highway, a predominantly gay Restaurant and Bar in Laguna Beach. “Business has really picked up over this past summer, and we just recorded a 25% increase in our sales and profit over last Labor Day. And Labor Day 2005 had been our biggest Labor Day Weekend since we opened our doors in 1998.

“Thanks to all of the attention that the Boom Boom Room has been getting throughout the summer, the whole town has really picked up. We are getting so many first-time visitors to Laguna and our old customers are going out more often. It reminds me of when I first moved to Laguna Beach in the mid-’80s. The gay vibe is definitely back in Laguna,” stated Herzer.

The Boom Boom Room was recently given a second life thanks to building owner Steven Udvar-Hazy, who extended the landmark bar’s lease for another year. The Boom was set to close on September 4th, but the extension will keep it open. It has been a gay bar in the same location for over 60 years and is the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the western United States.

The grassroots effort to SAVE the BOOM!!! began a petition drive Memorial Weekend and during the summer was successful in gathering over 5,000 signatures from residents and visitors alike. The petition urges the Laguna Beach City Council to help keep the Boom Boom Room and the Coast Inn permanently open as a gay bar and hotel.

“Laguna Beach is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego,” added Herzer. There are over half a million gay people living within a 60-mile radius of Laguna Beach. If only 1% of them came to Laguna for a weekend the City would be flush with cash and all the gay and straight businesses would really prosper. We need to actively go after this $15 billion a year gay travel market,” concluded Herzer.

Joel can be reached at 949/376-8809