Action continued at the Play Tradez Great Lakes Grand Prix in Michigan City on Saturday. The day was packed full of offshore powerboat racing, live music, local food, and a massive block party capped by the return of the famous Boat Parade – where racers and teams from around the world greeted the community and showcased their powerful machines. Local business attend in support of this annual event and are happy to share why they do.
“This is Michigan City's annual showcase event and the EDCMC uses it to bring investors and site selectors to both enjoy and learn more about our wonderful community,” said Executive Director of Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City, Clarence Hulse.
This is the Grand Prix’s 13th year in Michigan City – standing out as one of the marquee events in the Region, drawing in an estimated 150,000 racers and spectators from across the globe. It’s become a core part of Michigan City’s summer culture, and captures new fans, and grows in scale every year.
“This is a truly epic event,” said Denise Conlon, public affairs economic development manager for NIPSCO, which is a race sponsor for the Grand Prix. “When you see all these people coming out and having fun, enjoying each other’s company, and celebrating God’s gift to us – this beautiful lake. It’s thanks to an amazing team – the city, Parks & Recreation, the visitor’s bureau, all kinds of organizations and people working together.”
Of course, there can be no Grand Prix without any racers and some teams came overseas to take part in the competition. Wayne Valder, owner of and driver for Power Floors Racing, hails from New Zealand and is a multi-year veteran participant in the Great Lakes Grand Prix – an event he said is like no other on the calendar.
“There’s definitely nothing else like it, this parade is outstanding and everyone loves coming to Michigan City because of what the local people do and put on for us,” Valder said. “It’s absolutely fantastic. To have the support of the town and city, doing what they do, makes us feel welcome to come here and race. As long as that continues, everyone’s going to want to turn up here and continue racing.”
Towards the end of the parade the procession of boats, some of which stood nearly multiple stories tall, paused as they made their way down Franklin Street. Racers like Valder made their way through the crowd, greeting fellow competitors and fans who had the chance to get a closer look at the machines – which can run at speeds up to and over 150 miles per hour.
It’s a peek into a unique racing culture, and when paired with the scenic beachside views, a menu full of local favorites, and plenty of other fun, the Great Lakes Grand Prix continues to impress new fans.
“This is my first time out here, we’ve been living here for six years but never came out until today,” said Laura Rice, a Michigan City resident who took part in Saturday’s festivities with her family. “I think it’s great. The sky is beautiful, the water looks absolutely stunning. It’s so fun to see all these people here. I’ve never seen boat race before, so I’m really looking forward to all the action – I heard it’s loud, like the Indy 500.”
The Play Tradez Great Lakes Grand Prix continues through Sunday, learn more and check out the full schedule of events at greatlakesgrandprix.com.