It’s one of the area’s most well-attended events.
Englewood Beach WaterFest is so much more than just a festival and the Offshore Powerboat racing Association championship. The event itself provides water sport participants and enthusiasts an opportunity to experience competition, recreational activities and to become intimately acquainted with the tangible and intangible components inherent to the community making Englewood and it’s surrounding area, one of the most sought after places when it comes to fun and recreation.
It’s anticipated that more than 30,000 people will attend the two day event. Spectators will have the opportunity to see some of the nation’s and area’s best offshore power boats in an environment that’s conducive to fun and excitement.
This year’s WaterFest is expecting more than 50 boats, providing a deep volume of competitors at Englewood Beach. If the weather is favorable, some of the boats may exceed 150 mph, over an inviting racecourse that’s 4.3 miles per lap. This year’s event features 13 classes of boats, however, the boats aren’t just limited to one race in particular, with multiple classes participating in the same heat. The super boat class will also have a presence in WaterFest 2018, having been absent from last year’s competition.
“We’re expecting a sunny, spectacular weekend for the racing,” said Steve Schroeder. Englewood Beach WaterFest president. “The gulf should be smooth enough that the boats can approach 150 mph in the extreme classes, 50 yards off the beach. Ticket sales have been outstanding online and through our ticket outlets. People will be lining the beach, watching from their condos. this is a big event. “
North Port’s Randy Krizen, whose boat Knot Krazy, will be among those spectators should keep an eye on during the weekend. Krizen has a deep appreciation for the organizers of the event.
“They do a great job of listening to racers, spectators, what can we do better next year, and it just gets better and better,”said Krizen.”The actual site itself is one of the only sites where the dry pits and the race port are right there. Me being a racer, I’m still a fan at heart. It’s super nice to do our race, put the boat back in the pits and watch other races. They always have a good turnout as far as race teams and spectators.”
There are benefits to being a local racer, as Krizen has the benefit of knowing where to get the parts locally should something go wrong.
“The other teams if they’re coming from out of state, if they have any other issues, we can easily help them out and say go try this area,” said Krizen. “It’s nice to have the local knowledge to help people out.”
Krizer and his brother Richard, communicate extremely well, which has helped them markedly while competing, making Knot Krazy one of the more intriguing boats to watch.
One entry that will be a formidable opponent this weekend is the Miss Geico racing team from Riviera Beach.
“We’re coming into WaterFest with a lot of momentum, and we’re looking forward to defending our World Championship title, “ said Scott Colton, Miss Geico managing member. “Last year we ran real well on both days. We’re going to leave real early Thursday, get in town and test the boat on Friday, and we’ll be ready to race both Saturday and Sunday.”
Englewood WaterFest is a 501 c (3) charitable organization, managed by volunteers, and whose board of directors plan the event, said Schroeder.
WaterFest isn’t just restricted to power boat racing, there will be a vendor village, Friday night block party, food and beverages.
The cost is $15 per person in advance for two days and $20 at the gate. The event starts at 10 a.m. For more information, you can access their website at englewoodbeachwaterfest.com.