Hydroplanes weren't the only things cruising the waves at Sunday's 46th annual Water Follies.
A gaggle of about 20 Canada geese in close formation hugged the Pasco side of the Columbia River near turn three.
The birds steered well away from speeding boats as well as children floating on inner tubes, rubber rafts and a girl balanced on the back of a plastic porpoise.
The boat races that typically attract tens of thousands of spectators on both sides of the Columbia River ended Sunday with Dave Villwock's commanding win dashing Steve David's attempt at a fourth straight victory on the Columbia.
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This year's signature Tri-City summer event had nothing to mar the day, said police officials covering the Kennewick and Pasco sides of the river.
The weather and the crowd -- estimated by organizers between 100,000 and 120,000 for the weekend -- were pleasantly tolerable.
"It's going pretty good, said Pasco police Sgt. Mike Monroe, who noted that there were no arrests or citations along the river during the two days.
"We just had to take away some (alcoholic) drinks from three or four people each day. But people have been cooperative. We'd have to cite or arrest them if they didn't," he said.
This was Doug Anderson's 29th year attending the races, and he has a collection of race pins dating back to 1982 to prove it.
"We love the boat races and the Tri-Cities," said Anderson, 52, who was among the guests at the Total Sight Service tent in Pasco. "I like coming down and seeing my friends."
Lisa Chapman-Rosa, owner of Total Sight Service, said this year's event seemed to be more family friendly than ever.
Chuck Keltch, chairman of the Pasco operations for Water Follies, said ticket sales on the Franklin County side were close to 9,000, which would be about 3,000 more than last year.
Event director Kathy Powell agreed. "I've never seen the Pasco side so full," she said.
Mike Bennett, 39, of Richland, said he prefers to see the races from the Franklin County side because of what some believe is better spectator viewing around turn two.
"The crowd on this side seems to be growing every year, and there are more people in the water with tubes and rafts," said Bennett, who tries to never miss attending the Water Follies.
"There were definitely more airplanes in the air this year," he said, noting that the air show has become a big plus for boat race weekend.
He also appreciates seeing and hearing the vintage hydroplanes with their piston-powered engines.
This was the first year Roxie Schescke, owner of Indian Eyes, a consulting company at Hanford, sponsored one of the 25 corporate tents on the Pasco side.
She said the boat races have something for the entire family.
"The kids are genuinely attracted to the air show," Schescke said. "This is a family event. I love it," she added.
Schescke said she decided to become a corporate sponsor so she could have out-of-area guests attend Water Follies. "We have clients fly in from Nebraska, Texas, California and Oklahoma," she said.
"We are trying to get people who have never experienced Water Follies to come and see if they want to become a sponsor," Schescke said.
Dennis Burbanks of Edmond, Okla., was glad he accepted her invitation.
"The entire event was great, the air show, the boat races and the spread put on by Indian Eyes. This whole town puts on a great event. I'd like to come back next year with my wife and children," he said.
Sunday's action appeared to draw a larger crowd than on Saturday in Kennewick's Columbia Park, where vendors and emergency officials reported a slight uptick in business.
Dennis Ganz, owner of Krazy Dogs from Nampa, Idaho, said his breakfast business Sunday was up about 15 percent compared with Saturday.
Business for the weekend was about the same as last year, he said.
Sherry Slaney brought her ice cream cart Coney Express Sweet Scoops to the Follies for the first time this year. She was happy with her sales this weekend and plans to come back next year.
In the beer garden, sales of adult beverages on both sides of the river were improved over last year, with 104 kegs of beer sold and 45 cases of liquor, said Kyle Simmons of Country Gentleman Catering in Kennewick.
Simmons said sales were up in Pasco and slightly down in Kennewick, but an overall slight gain over 2010.
A few people enjoyed their alcoholic beverages outside the beer garden or corporate-sponsored tents, breaking the rules.
Police cited five people for alcohol-related issues in Columbia Park, said Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin.
Medics also had "a pretty quiet weekend," said Tamie Bradbury, spokeswoman for Kennewick General Hospital, which provided first-aid in Columbia Park.
There were some kids with scraped knees or stubbed toes, but hardly any sun or heat-related illnesses, she said.
A lot of people helped themselves to water from the large coolers KGH set up, she said. Nobody was transported to the hospital from KGH's medic tents, Bradbury said.
And medics from the Kennewick Fire Department helped 10 people Sunday, said Battalion Chief Mike Barnett.
Two were taken to hospitals -- an alcohol-related patient Saturday and someone with a minor head injury late Sunday afternoon.
Keltch, who has been involved with Water Follies since the mid-1970s, said it has become a major logistical challenge, and requires lots of volunteers, not to mention about 100 portable toilets and at least as many trash bins.
Randy Maurer of Spokane, whose father, Ken, helped bring hydroplane races to the Tri-Cities 46 years ago, said he hasn't missed a one.
"I remember as a kid living on Road 48, hearing the thunder of those boats and the pounding in my chest. We'd get on our bikes and ride down here just to see it," Maurer said.
Nearly a half-century later, Maurer still feels the thunder when those vintage piston-powered boats fly by.