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Here’s everything you need to know about the Water Follies this weekend

This weekend’s 2018 HAPO Columbia Cup & Over the River Air Show is expected to draw large crowds to the shores of the Columbia River. Gates open at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday and at 7 a.m. Sunday.
This weekend’s 2018 HAPO Columbia Cup & Over the River Air Show is expected to draw large crowds to the shores of the Columbia River. Gates open at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday and at 7 a.m. Sunday. Tri-City Herald

For the 53rd year, hydroplanes are set to skim across the Columbia River, and fighter jets and planes will shoot through the sky.

The 2018 HAPO Columbia Cup & Over the River Air Show — the 53rd showing of the popular event — kicks off it’s weekend-long frenzy on Friday.

The biggest annual event in the Tri-Cities will have crowds come from all over the area flock to both shores of the Columbia River — Columbia Park in Kennewick and Wade Park in Pasco.

They're loud, they're proud and they're fast: The Grand Prix boats make some noise on the Columbia River.

The parks open at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday. Tickets are available at the gate. Admission is free Friday. Tickets are required Saturday and Sunday.

Washington State Patrol will have extra patrols in the surrounding area throughout the weekend, according to WSP.

Weather

The weekend will be extremely hot in the Tri-Cities, with highs from 99 on Friday and 101 on Saturday to as hot as 104 on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

What to bring

With intense heat and sunny skies expected, you’ll need sunscreen, water, a hat for face shade, proper shoes, chairs, blankets and shade umbrellas.

Bags and coolers are subject to search at viewing areas. Prohibited items include weapons, squirt bottles, squirt guns, glass cups or bottles, drones, fireworks, skateboards, golf carts, bicycles and scooters.

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited except in special areas. Beer gardens will be on both sides.

Pets should be left at home.

Smoking is not permitted in the pit areas.

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The 2018 HAPO Columbia Cup & Over the River Air Show is Friday through Sunday. File Tri-City Herald

Where to go

Entrance gates are at the east and west ends of Columbia Park, and the Pasco viewing side is accessible off West Sylvester Street between the east and west ends of Wade Park.

Westbound Highway 240 exit ramp at Edison Street will be closed from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the weekend for exit traffic flow.

Parking at Columbia Park is $5 Friday and Saturday and $10 Sunday. Parking is free Friday on the Pasco side, $5 on Saturday and $10 on Sunday.

Special needs area

A special needs viewing area hosted by Tri-Cities Sunrise Rotary is on the Kennewick side. It will include a shaded tent, cooling misters, water, tables and chairs.

Ben Franklin Transit’s Dial-A-Ride service will be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday for eligible patrons. To make a reservation, call 509-735-0160 or go online.

Handicap parking also is available off of the main Highway 240 entrance.

Get your tickets

The races are free for everyone all day Friday until the park closes.

A two-day pass for Saturday and Sunday is $25 for adults and $10 for kids ages 6 to 12. One-day passes for Saturday are $15 and $5; Sunday passes are $25 and $5.

Daily pit passes are $10 but do not include park admission. Three-day event passes with pit admission are $45.

Children ages 5 and younger are admitted for free all weekend.

Tickets are available at Tri-City Albertsons and Safeway stores, at the Tri-City Water Follies office, 621 N. Gum St., Suite A, in Kennewick, and at the gate. Tickets can also be purchased over the phone at 509-783-4675.

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July 28, 2017 - Buck Roetman flies his Pitt S2S just behind Barry Hancock’s plane, a North American Aviation T-6 Texan, on Thursday over Pasco. Both pilots will be a part of the Tri-City Water Follies for the HAPO “Over the River” Airshow. Noelle Haro-Gomez Tri-City Herald

Taking the bus

Ben Franklin Transit buses will be running on Saturday and Sunday.

Buses will take off hourly 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. from 22nd Avenue Transit Center in Pasco, the Knight Street Transit Center in Richland and Dayton Transfer Point in Kennewick. The last bus will leave 15 minutes after the last race each day.

Cost each way is $1.50 per person or $4 per family of up to five people. Children 5 and under ride for free.

Activities

The HAPO Over the River Air Show features U.S. Special Operations Command Para-Commandos, A-10 Thunderbolt II, Air Force Heritage Flight, B-25D Mitchell, Pitts S-1-11B, Edge 540, and a T-33 Fighter.

Shows will start at 11 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. each day.

A kids zone will be available on both sides of the river featuring face painting, a bouncy house and arts and crafts. Pasco’s will be held in Wade Park while Kennewick’s will be held in Columbia Park.

On the Kennewick side, a laser tag course and helicopter rides will be offered.

Autograph sessions are planned for Saturday at the stage on the Kennewick side, with boat drivers at noon and air show pilots at 2:30 p.m.

Pit tours are available Friday and Saturday for $5. Tickets are available at the Water Follies office and the park.

A full schedule for Water Follies events is available online.

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