Tri-City Water Follies comes once a year, and when it shows up, a lot of happiness is in its wake.
Varied activities from sidewalk art to daredevil planes overhead ripple with fun for both young and old while boats roar to life on the river.
We’re thankful this event — and all who make it happen — continues to make a big splash in our community.
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Along with the thrill of a hydroplane race comes danger, risk on the Columbia River.
Rob Hall, driver of the GP-74 Grand Prix West knows first-hand how the unexpected can change the course of the race — and possibly the driver’s life.
When Hall’s boat began to flip, all he could do was hold on, endure the impact, and then sit upside down underwater when the hatch wouldn’t open.
The result could have been tragic, but thankfully, rescue sleds were immediately on the scene, popped the hatch and brought Hall to the surface. Undoubtedly, there was many a race fan holding their breath too.
Not all the action is on the water during Water Follies weekend.
The HAPO Over the River Airshow had folks looking up to catch a variety of performances in the skies overhead. Not even a fidgety kid could resist the Patriots Jet Team that brought constant activity throughout their nearly 30-minute exhibition or the grace and elegance of “Sky Dancer” Anna Serbinenko, an aerobatics performer.
Add the patriotism of an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon alongside a World War II-era plane, and there were sure to be fans grateful to HAPO for chills on a warm day.
For a group of kids, smiles were a big part of “play day” fun at the Water Follies.
Thanks to hydroplane drivers and pit tour guide Mike Lauria, who organized the tour for children with Down syndrome, there was plenty of happiness to go around.
The VIP tour included meeting and talking with the hydroplane drivers, collecting their autographs and seeing the colorful boats up close. The group, including family members, came away grateful for a special time for their special kids.
It was great to see local businesses helping celebrate the Gold Cup event.
Ice Harbor Brewery honored the 50th anniversary with a special Atomic Gold Lager and T-shirts designed by Brent Walden of Atomic Screenprinting.
And Gordon Estate Winery debuted Roostertail Rosé and Roostertail White to commemorate the event. Jeff Gordon has been a hydro fan since he was a high school teen, only missing the event two or three times.
So when the Water Follies nonprofit organization approached the winery with a partnership idea, the Pasco family was eager to share the proceeds to help support this year’s Water Follies.