For the past five years, Englewood Beach, Fla., has hosted the Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships as part of its Waterfest event, set this year for November 21-14. The Saturday and Sunday races will again anchor the four-day happening. According to Englewood Beach organizer Ray LaBadie, the event, which annually generates more than $5 million in economic impact for the area, costs $350,000 to produce.
Yesterday, the Charlotte County Commissioners made a $50,000 commitment to the event. Combined with $43,000 the organizers secured from the Marine Advisory Committee for the sixth annual event, that came a great news to organizer Ray LaBadie, the local point-man for the OPA contests, and his fellow organizers.
As it has for the past five years, the Englewood Beach Waterfest celebration is receiving strong support from the local community. Photo from the 2019 OPA World Championships by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com.
“The Englewood Beach Waterfest organizers and the Englewood Beach community are grateful for the continued support of these agencies,” he said. “Producing Waterfest would not be possible without their support.”
The Charlotte County Commission funding commitment, according to LaBadie, is for “in-kind” city services.
“That helps pay for the Community Services and Parks and Recreation departments convert the beach into our Race Village,” he said. “It also helps pay for the fire department, emergency medical services and some on-water operations. The Marine Advisory Committee grant program will help cover the crane, the rescue divers and more.”
As previously reported, the Englewood Beach event organizers have been proactively planning the event in concert with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 pandemic guidelines. In light of no less than four offshore powerboat cancellations so far this season, LaBadie said he is expecting a strong turnout for the 2020 OPA event as part of Waterfest.