Smokin' jets will blast across Tri-City skies and super-fast boats will churn up the Columbia River as the Tri-Cities puts on its annual Water Follies weekend.
There's plenty of events to keep the entire family entertained.
Kicking off the weeklong series of festivities is the Miss Tri-Cities and Miss Outstanding Teen Tri-Cities competitions.
The teen event is July 16 and the women compete for Miss Tri-Cities the following night, both at 7 p.m. at Art Fuller Auditorium at Kennewick High School.
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On July 22, the Fluor Hydro Golf tournament starts at 1 p.m. at Canyon Lakes Golf Course in Kennewick.
Then the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup, featuring souped-up hydroplanes capable of speeds near 200 mph, begins with qualifying heats July 23-24 and climaxes with the big race July 25.
The Hapo Over the River Air Show will be held between racing heats July 24-25 with the Navy, Air Force, Army and Coast Guard military aircraft taking turns showing off their fancy flying over the river.
If you want to watch the air show from the Kennewick and Pasco shorelines, you'll need to buy a ticket to the boat races.
There will be demonstrations by military pilots in rescue helicopters, an Air Force Viper team of pilots flying F-16s, and the Navy's Rough Raiders and their fancy F-18 Hornets.
There also will be a Stealth bomber fly-by and various small-plane exhibitions. A complete schedule of events is at www.waterfollies.com.
Designated viewing areas are along both sides of the Columbia River in Kennewick in Columbia Park and in Pasco from the blue bridge to Road 44.
You can bring baskets of food and coolers into the viewing areas, but alcohol is not allowed. Beer gardens and food vendors are available on both sides of the river.
Race-goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and umbrellas to shield against the hot sun. But leave weapons, squirt bottles, any glass items and skateboards at home.
There will be a special needs area next to the bleachers in Columbia Park. the Benton and Franklin PUDs will provide volunteers to help special needs guests, and there will be chairs, tables and water and plenty of shade and misters.
For handicapped parking, use the main Highway 240 entrance and ask for directions. Golf cart shuttles from the parking lot to the viewing area will be available, and Ben Franklin Transit will provide service for prequalified Dial-a-Ride patrons.
Weekender two-day ticket is $25 for adults, $10 kids 6 to 12 and free for ages 5 and younger.
General admission for July 24 is $15 for adults, $5 kids 6 to 12, free for ages 5 and younger.
And admission July 25 is $25 for adults and $5 for ages 6-12.
A one-day pit pass, which does not include park admission, is $10. Three-day pit passes are $45. The pit pass allows entry into the pit area for closer viewing of the hydroplanes.
Parking fees are $5 for July 23-24 and $10 for July 25 for the Kennewick and Pasco viewing areas. A parking fee is charged each time visitors leave and re-enter.
Tickets are available at all Tri-City area Albertson stores and the follies office, 201 N. Edison St., Suite 232, Kennewick, or call 783-4675.
Columbia Park hours
The park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. on July 23-24. On July 25 the park opens at 7 a.m. The final race is about 4:40 p.m.
How to enter the park
Highway 240 at the east end of Columbia Park will be the main entrance during Follies week.
The Fruitland Street entrance via Columbia Drive will be open only to workers, vendors and boat teams.
The Edison and Columbia Center Boulevard entrances will be open to the public at the west end of the park.
Pasco parking areas are limited because its a residential area, so taking the transit might be a better way to the races on the Franklin County side of the river. But if you do decide to take your own car, then the main parking area is at Road 54 off Sylvester Street.
Bus service to the park
Ben Franklin Transit will provide shuttle service to both sides of the river July 23-25. Here's the schedule:
Buses leave the Dayton Street Transfer Center in Kennewick every hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday buses depart from the Knight Street Transit Center in Richland and the Huntington Transit Center in Kennewick at 8, 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and will drop passengers at a designated area in Columbia Park. Buses will leave the park 15 minutes after the last race of the day.
Cost is $1.25 each way or $3.50 for families of five or more. Kids 5 and younger are free. Dial-a-Ride patrons need to reserve a pickup by 5 p.m. July 22 for the next day or by noon July 23 for the next day.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org