BERN TWP., Pa. - If you have plans to celebrate Independence Day at Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County and aren't already there, don't bother.
The Dry Brooks Day Use Area, beach and picnic area in Bern Township were already filled to capacity by around noon Wednesday, said John Cave, park manager for Blue Marsh Lake.
"It's July 4th, our historically busiest day of the year, and we're just full to the maximum," said Blue Marsh Lake park manager John Cave.
The park, Cave said, couldn't accommodate any more visitors, so those arriving Wednesday afternoon were given the option of waiting for a possible opening or going elsewhere.
It's not the kind of news many folks wanted to hear as they planned to enjoy their Independence Day at Blue Marsh.
The park opened at 8 a.m., and cars were already lined up and ready to move in to the picnic spots by the lake's Dry Brooks Day Use Area, said Cave. In less than three hours, he said, the park was over capacity; all 700 parking spots were taken.
"Being the open space we are here with the lake, it attracts a lot of folks," Cave said. "There's probably 5,000, 6,000 people in the park right now."
Once the lines came to a standstill, many decided to find somewhere else to cool off from the heat.
"To dip our feet in the water? Isn't that ridiculous?" said David Cedeno.
Others decided to stay put for hours.
"Oh, two hours, two-and-a-half hours," said Alex Ridia.
"There's people that have waited that are in the front line now for two to three hours," said Cave.
"This is the closest you can get to a beach," said Ridia.
If drivers tried to cut in line, Cave said their trip might just as well have been a waste of time.
"We want to be fair to everybody. They have to go to the end of the line," said Cave.
Allentown, PA 18102