By late August, many northern Michiganders become a little cynical about festivals, events and visitors.

That feeling of winter marching closer as nights become chilly and sunsets inch earlier injects haste to our lazy summer weekends as we all scramble to the last few beach days. It also makes us a little cranky about slow-driving tourists and crowds at our favorite natural spots.

It’s an understandable adverse reaction to the throngs of people who flock to our home each summer to take advantage of the precious weeks sandwiched between the tips of the snowy season’s grip. They are the few weeks when so many of us author social media posts taunting friends with snapshots of walks on beaches and captions that read “we live where you vacation.”

Those scribbles hide an unconscious fear of the day when our lakes once again become crisp from the cold air.

That’s why the Grand Traverse region’s embrace of this weekend’s Ironman race rings an impressive note. We have heard few gripes as race officials worked to shoehorn the triathlon into our streets and bays. The lack of angst is strong evidence of race organizers’ efforts to communicate with us. It’s also a testament to our community’s warmth and graciousness.

There is no doubt traffic will move slower throughout the weekend, and many of us will need to find alternate routes to our final summer weekend destinations. But we encourage everyone to stop for at least a few moments and cheer on some racers.

After all, next weekend will be just as beautiful and this weekend we’ve got important visitors.

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