Bar Harbor Merchants Gearing Up for Tourist Season 

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer…and of course, the tourist season.Merchants in Bar Harbor are gearing up for what they hope will be a successful season…despite the rough economy.Amy Erickson has more.<"It's going to be a great summer. A great summer."Kip Stone owns "cool as a Moose" in downtown Bar Harbor...He says despite the doom and gloom over the national economy, things are looking good for the tourist season.It's even starting a little early, from the looks of license plates around town."i saw people today from georgia, florida, and it's not even 11 am, so they're here, they're coming, it's happening!"bite 15:58:55 "i think it's good. The whole town is up and going and the restaurants are full...people coming in and out and it's only we're just ramping up."At Ben & Bill's, the lobster ice cream is ready to go, and employees are prepping for big crowds on what's traditionally the kickoff of the season."we're feeling good. It's definitely picked up this past week or so."Employee Crystal Bridges says she's a bit worried that the economy could keep some folks from vacationing...but is hoping that if that's the case...they'll make up for it with all the Mainers doing "staycations" this year."we do get a lot of locals, too, so i'm thinking it might not affect us that much. But you never know...hopefully not!""this is my 22nd year in bar harbor and I think it's going to be one of the best years ever."Scott Lingley supplies food for many of the local eateries...he's not worried about the economy.He says if merchants could stay afloat last summer, with 4-dollar-a gallon gas prices, this year should be no problem."everyone's very optimistic and we don't have real things to stand in the way. People want to take their vacations and they're going to come to bar harbor.""we're off to a great start, one of the best starts ever, no matter what you year economically, people are going to come on vacation."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Bar Harbor.>