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Great Lakes Grand Prix A Record-Setting Boon For Michigan City

With 249,400 offshore powerboat racing fans in town for the early August Great Lakes Grand Prix in Michigan City, Ind., the event generated S17.7 million for LaPorte County, according to a press release from the Michigan City LaPorte Visitors Bureau. Both are records for the 12-year-old event, which was the fifth stop in the six-race, second-year American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series produced by the Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1/P1 Offshore groups.

The Great Lakes Grand Prix delivered record-setting economic impact and attendance numbers for Michigan City, Ind., this year. Photo by Jeff Helmkamp copyright Helmkamp Photos.

Cancelled in 2020 as were all races in the APBA series in response to pandemic concerns, the Great Lakes Grand Prix added a day of AquaX personal watercraft racing—a Powerboat P1 property—to the mix in 2019.

“We were expecting good attendance and we didn’t get disappointed” said Jack Arnett, the executive cirector of Visit Michigan City LaPorte, in the release. “Adding the AquaX events again was a big success and we plan on growing that part of the event moving forward.”

Based in Lexington, Ky., Certec, Inc., a marketing analysis group, generated the economic impact report cited in the release. According to the report, fans came Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Florida and spent $11.8 million on food and beverages, shopping and transportation. Local residents added almost $1 million in additional spending, and jobs related to the Great Lakes Grand Prix generated more than $3.9 million in wages to LaPorte County workers.

“The Great Lakes Grand Prix is such an amazing event, and we are so lucky to have it in Michigan City at our beautiful lakefront,” said Duane Parry, the mayor of Michigan City, in the release. “The impact that this event has on our economy is huge, but equally as important is the social impact.

The 13th annual Great Lakes Grand Prix is scheduled for August 4-7, 2022.

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