The Thunder Returned
If you were anywhere near the downtown area this weekend, you heard the unmistakable sounds of racing boats. Our riverfront, once again, welcomed power boats from all over the country to come and enjoy our hospitality and all that the river offers. And if you remember our past history, the Ohio River in New Martinsville is home to several speed records set since racing began in 1938. Boat racing and New Martinsville go hand and hand.
This weekend, boats in six different classes came to town to race on one of the fastest fresh water courses in the country. For the last five years, Super Sport – along with SST-F2 and SST- F3 tunnel boats – have come to town each September to race. This year they were unexpectedly joined by sixteen Formula 1 boats. This last minute addition was due to the storm-related problems in Texas, canceling the season’s final race determining the championship. And if you heard the familiar sounds of inboards engines echoing off the hills sides, you realized Grand National Hydro’s and the fast Sportsman Entry class had returned to our river course.
The weekend event was given the benefit of beautiful fall weather, along with mild temperatures to accommodate the many spectators that watched from the banks. Months of preparation by event organizers needed to be quickly adjusted to accommodate the Formula 1 boats. By RegattaFest weekend, fifty boats had registered to race. Even with the increase in racing classes, the weekend’s action was kept moving throughout the two day schedule without any major delays.
If boat racing was not your interest, you could walk through dozens of show cars in attendance for the Saturday event. Side streets, along with the parking lot behind the old Doolin building, was filled with polished show cars and trucks on display. In addition to the show cars, Corvettes by the dozens came to town for a rally. Many uniquely styled corvettes, not often seen, were on display.
Live musical entertainment, scavenger Hunt, Firemen’s Challenge – along with a kids play area – topped off the weekend’s event. Downtown was truly alive with many guests who came out to see boat racing and enjoy all the entertainment offered for the 2017 Riverfest.
The festival weekend event reminded me of a time long ago. You see, I have been a big boat racing fan since I was a kid. I grew up three miles out the creek near the 4-H camp. I still can remember each fall when the boats came to town, and the sounds of power boat engines that traveled as far as our small community. I would ride my bike into town and find a place in the fence to slip in and watch the racing. The memory of boats are very much part of my growing up. The sounds of the big inboards last weekend reminded me of those long ago days.
The festival was well planned and appeared to come off without a hitch. Those who worked and planned this year’s RegattaFest should be proud of the service they provided to the community. And the Powerboat Super League organization delivered excitement to all who viewed the festival. It is also important to remember, throughout this summer, other groups’ organized festivals and events that help to bring visitors to our town. For all the people who work hard to bring events and festivals to our community, I give you a Big Thanks. As to this year’s RegattaFest, the combination of great weather, unexpected problems in Texas, and lots of community support made for a great weekend event. I can only hope that this year’s event is a sign of many good things to come, as we look Through the Lens.