Visit Michigan City LaPorte announced yesterday that the second annual Maple City Grand Prix in LaPorte, Ind., topped both attendance and economic impact numbers from last year’s inaugural race. According to tourism and race officials, the three-day tunnel boat race and festival attracted nearly 20,000 spectators and pumped more than $1.5 million into the local economy—topping last year’s numbers of 15,000 and $1 million.
“The Maple City Grand Prix was an outstanding weekend that helped showcase some of our greatest assets: our lakes, our businesses, our parks and most importantly our hospitality,” said LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo. “I look forward to the opportunity to hopefully increase our presence in the US F1 circuit as the drivers and teams love coming to LaPorte and enjoying all that we have to offer as their premier venue.”
Tourism officials admit that weather played a major role in expanded attendance as temperatures were in the 70s and 80s with sunny skies all weekend. In addition to good weather—last year’s event was plagued by cold, rainy and windy weather—the race committee added things like fireworks and children’s rides to the weekend activities.
“It is really exciting to hear the great economic impact that the US F1 Powerboat Tour event had on LaPorte,” said US F1 President Jose Mendana. “As great as LaPorte has been to us in the first two years, it is really satisfying that we can return that favor and provide something that gives not only families a fan-friendly event, but a local economic boost that can benefit them. We look forward to our continued growth in the future with LaPorte.”
Crowds packed Stone Lake Beach all three days of the event and joined almost all of the 35 race teams in downtown LaPorte on Friday for the boat parade and block party. A large crowd also attended Saturday night’s fireworks.
“We couldn’t be happier with these numbers and the continued success of the Maple City Grand Prix,” said Jack Arnett, executive director at Visit Michigan City LaPorte. “US F1 brings amazing racing here and everyone involved locally with putting this race on did a great job. We love being able to bring such a high-level event to Stone Lake and LaPorte.”