To many, Water Follies weekend is the best weekend of the year. The roar of the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors can be heard from anywhere in the Tri-Cities; the rev of the hydroplane engines can be heard up and down the shorelines of the Columbia.
The Tri-Cities Water Follies has something for everybody, and it has since its start in 1966. The past 51 years have been a rollercoaster ride of changes. An event that started as outboard racing along the Sacajawea Park shoreline morphed into something no one was expecting when the five founding fathers sponsored a boat in 1965 to show there was interest in bringing hydroplanes to the Tri-Cities.
For many, it’s an opportunity to get together and have a good time. But the festival is also fun for the whole family, with activities such as laser tag and the Kid’s Zone.
Event Director Kathy Powell credits the festival’s success to the community, saying that they “support the festival wholeheartedly.” This is shown through the numerous volunteers, the collaboration between the three cities, HAPO Community Credit Union, Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau and area hotels as well as the local businesses who provide sponsorships that help keep prices low.
Powell said it’s really exciting to be part of the Water Follies, and that it’s like “one big family.” The volunteers and the board of directors are continually working hard each year to make the festival bigger and better.