With a population of approximately 35,000, Michigan City, Ind., on the southern shore of Lake Michigan holds several events a year. But none, according to Jack Arnette, the executive director of the Laporte County Convention and Visitors Bureau, are as important to the city and the county as this weekend’s 11th annual Great Lakes Grand Prix.
Organizers of the Great Lakes Grand Prix are expecting the biggest turnout in the history of the event. Photo from last weekend’s St. Clair River Classic courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“It is our signature event,” he said. “It has become a tradition in our community and the surrounding areas. Entire families come with their kids and grandkids.”
“There will be approximately 25,000 people along the parade route on Saturday night,” said Rick Wright, the Great Lakes Grand Prix race director. “According to our last economic impact report, the event brought 140,000 people to the area and had an economic impact of $12.4 million.
“The event has become a finely tuned machine,” he continued. “From our first responders to our mayor, everyone—all of our infrastructure—is on board.”
With an estimated 50 to 60 teams planning to race on Sunday, the 2019 Great Lakes Grand Prix—the fifth stop in the American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series produced by the Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1 groups—also will have the biggest turnout in its history. The largest fleet the event has attracted in the past 10 years has been 25 boats.
“Teams have been arriving since Monday,” said Wright. “OPA and Powerboat P1 have really delivered with this series. We are really excited to be part of this partnership.”
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