This weekend’s 37th annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix expected to bring out thousands of race fans
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Before we hear the loud roar of the powerboats this weekend and see all that speed, race fans getting up close and personal with the race teams and their boats during a block party on Gulfstream Avenue in downtown Sarasota.
“They’re very nice and big and they go really fast,” said Karen and Stephanie, powerboat race fans from Houston, Texas.
One of those present at the block party Friday night is Sarasota native Stephen Kildahl. He’s a powerboat driver for the Scott Free Racing team. His dad will be in the cockpit with him.
“We’re a hometown team, this is what we do every 4th of July,” said Kildahl. “It’s so great to be here, the competition is great, there’s going to be lots of exciting action out there Saturday and Sunday for the fans.”
The top powerboat racers from all over the world are participating in the event this year.
“It’s an international event, it’s something that I remember since I was a student,” said Kyle Battie, Vice Mayor of Sarasota. “In the immortal words of Tom Cruise, I got a need for speed.”
It’s an event that brings out thousands of powerboat racing fans to Lido Beach.
“This has always been a standout event for Sarasota, one of the biggest economic impact events for the city,” said Cole McGowan, the Race Organizer and Director for Powerboat P1.
Race fans say this event is always a highlight of their holiday weekend.
“You’ve heard people say it’s the 4th of July, it’s a big tourism weekend,” said Virginia Haley, President of Visit Sarasota County. “But we’ve done the research that shows people come here year after year.”
All the powerboat racing gets underway Saturday morning at 8:30. It’ll be going on all weekend long at Lido Beach.
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