By Todd Wels

Triplicate staff writer

The Fourth of July brought floods of cars, tourists and money into Crescent City, according to business owners.

Many posted record sales over the weekend with some reporting increases of as much as 40 percent from last year.

We were swamped busy over the weekend, said Northwoods Restaurant manager Stephen Wakefield, calling the weekend some of the biggest days weve ever had.

Holiday Inn Express manager Diana Donovan agreed with Wakefield.

Oh, it was crazy around here this weekend, in spite of a 10 percent increase in summer rates, she said.

Donovan had plenty of time to prepare for the tourist onslaught, though the Holiday Inn had been booked solid for this weekend a year in advance.

Its the same ones every year, she said, regarding the large number of repeat customers.

They come year after year, for event after event,agreed Royal Inn manager Suzan Sturman.

Sturman was concerned that skyrocketing gasoline prices, both locally and nationally, would keep customers away.

They didnt. Sturmans revenue was up 40 percent from last year.

Hotels and restaurants werent the only ones who benefitted from an influx of tourist money.

Non-profit organizations selling goods at both the pre-Fourth Deck Party at the Crescent City Cultural Center and the gathering in Beachfront Park also did well, according to Jeff Russell of the Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce.

The local Jaycees chapter, for example, sold 12 kegs of beer at the Beachfront Park gathering, with a total profit of $2,650, which will be used for scholarships and community events, according to board chairwoman Kelly Schellong.

Da Lucianna Ristorante manager Lino Ruiu credited his restaurants 15 percent revenue increase to the sunny weather the area has experienced recently.

Sturman credited Crescent Citys propensity for having a great Fourth of July celebration for the increasing number of tourists.

Tourists in town for the fireworks contributed to heavy traffic Tuesday night, but did not contribute significantly to an increase in crime.

Of 20 arrests made by Del Norte County law enforcement officials, only one involved someone from outside Del Norte County.

Its typical stuff related to the Fourth of July, including public intoxication, drunk driving and increased domestic violence said Operations Commander George Mina of the Del Norte County Sheriffs Department, regarding the types of arrests made.

Mina said reports of a brawl involving more than 200 people that was alleged to have taken place behind the Holiday Inn Express were exaggerated, despite the fact that city police and California Highway Patrol personnel were called in to assist the Sheriffs Department.

It was just an unruly crowd, he said. They dispersed right away.

On Wednesday, the tourists began to disperse as well, with Da Luciannas sales beginning to return to pre-Fourth levels.

At least some of the tourists will be returning next year. Sturman has already taken three reservations for July 4, 2001.