Hotels, restaurants booked

Josh Coffman

In addition to last-minute tweaking on final papers and late-night cram sessions, students graduating this spring have another burden to add to their list of things to do before May 10 – making reservations for friends and family attending graduation ceremonies.

Area hotels are booked up and local restaurant owners expect to be slammed come graduation weekend.

Victoria LaRue, a reservationist at Holiday Inn-University Plaza, said that, in addition to graduation, several other events slated for the weekend are filling up hotel rooms.

The Corvette Museum and Beech Bend Raceway Park are hosting “The Gathering: Corvette ZR-1/ C-4.” And the Snickers Cup youth soccer tournament is kicking off at the Bowling Green Soccer Complex on Lovers Lane. Both events coincide with graduation weekend.

“We are completely booked,” LaRue said.

Don Redwine, assistant manager at Duray Inn, said rooms there have been booked since late February.

“Graduation, with the soccer tournament – that’s primarily got us up and running, and filled us up,” he said.

Many who come to watch students graduate will drive home that night. Jennifer Granger, a senior from Newburg, Ind. who is graduating this spring, said her family will make the 90-mile trip back to Indiana after ceremonies end.

Other students aren’t as sure about their families’ plans.

Lexington senior Michael Lusardi said his grandparents are driving from North Carolina to watch him graduate. He said he doesn’t think they made hotel reservations.

“I don’t know if they’ll get a hotel or not,” he said.

Lusardi was able to make dinner reservations for 25 people at Mariah’s Restaurant. But he said sleeping arrangements could prove to be difficult.

“If not, they can crash here,” he said, jokingly. “Nah. I don’t know. They might drive back.”

Area restaurants also expect to be packed on graduation weekend.

Jodi Fleming, general manager of Mariah’s Restaurant, said that in most years all of its tables for graduation week are booked up right after Christmas. Though now full, it took a little longer to fill up this year.

“We’re booked,” she said. “We have been booked, probably for six to eight weeks … (In the past) a lot of students realize its their last semester, and they call after the holidays.”

David Towell, co-owner and manager of Iron Skillet Restaurant, said tables should be available at his restaurant on graduation weekend.

He said the restaurant will stay open all day on Saturday, something it has not done in the past. Reservations are flowing in, despite this being the first time the restaurant will keep its doors open for all of graduation.

“We’re doing real well,” he said.

Other students are planning alternatives to reserving spots at local hotels and restaurants.

Louisville senior Kelly Dalton said he and his family are returning to Gallatin, Tenn. – where he is originally from – after commencement ceremonies.

“We’re just going to have a big cook-out,” he said.

Reach Josh Coffman at [email protected]