Waterfest 2018 expected to draw large crowds this weekend in Englewood

Waterfest 2018 expected to draw large crowds this weekend in Englewood

SARASOTA (WWSB) - The offshore racers and thousands of spectators are ready for this weekend. Waterfest is always one of the biggest and most fun events here on the Suncoast.

“I’ve been a hundred plus in a lot of boats and once you hit that 90 mile an hour range, it’s almost like your floating,” said Keith Lewis with the Miss Geico Offshore Racing Team.

Riding with Lewis, we hit about about 70 miles per hour, just to give us a taste of what it’s like in one of these offshore race boats. 50 world class racing teams are hand to compete this weekend at Waterfest in Englewood.

“If you’ve ever seen a boat going 150 miles an hour across water, making a lot of noise, it’s pretty exciting," said Steve Schroeder, President of Englewood Beach Waterfest 2018. "It’s the largest festival on the Southwest Coast of Florida, we’ll attract over 30,000 people.”

In addition to the racing, Schroeder says there’s something for everyone featuring food, music, exhibits including a butterfly exhibit and a family conservation center. Despite the recent cancellation of Paddlefest because of red tide, officials say the red tide situation has improved and even with some cooler temperatures, a huge crowd is expected which is a big boost to the local economy.

“We’re talking over six million dollars of economic impact per event," said Ed Hill, Executive Director with the Englewood Chamber of Commerce. "This is the fourth year, so as you can see it’s been a big, big important event for the Chamber of Commerce and for the area businesses.”

A Waterfest Block Party on Dearborn Avenue in Englewood kicks things off tomorrow from 5pm to 9pm. The racing gets underway at 11am on both Saturday and Sunday.

“I’m looking forward to it, it’s the end of the year, this is the world championship and this is what we strive for all year long is to come here and win the world championship,” said Lewis.

For tickets or more information on Waterfest you can log onto https://englewoodbeachwaterfest.com.

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