Visit Michigan City LaPorte says the three-day Maple City Grand Prix power boat festival, which began late last month, had an economic impact of $1.5 million. The tourism organization says nearly 20,000 spectators attended, which is more than last year's inaugural event. June 17, 2014

News Release

LAPORTE, Ind. – Visit Michigan City LaPorte announced this morning that the Second Annual Maple City Grand Prix topped both attendance and economic impact numbers from the inaugural race, held in 2013.

According to tourism and race officials, the annual three-day tunnel boat race and festival attracted nearly 20,000 spectators and pumped more than $1.5 million into the local economy. That tops last year's inaugural numbers of 15,000 and $1 million.

The 2014 Grand Prix was the season opening race on the eight-race, USF1 Powerboat Tour, schedule which features races in Bay City, Michigan, Valleyfield, Quebec, and Seattle, Washington.

“The Maple City Grand Prix was a great event for kids of all ages to enjoy high speed action on the water as well as exciting community events throughout the weekend. It was an outstanding weekend that helped showcase some of our greatest assets: our lakes, our businesses, our parks and most importantly our hospitality,” said LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo. “I look forward to the opportunity to hopefully increase our presence in the F1 Circuit as the drivers and teams love coming to La Porte and enjoying all that we have to offer as their premier venue.”

The weather in year two played a major role in expanded attendance, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s all weekend, accompanied by sunny skies. In 2013, unseasonably cold, rainy and windy weather plagued the event.

In addition to good weather this year, the race committee added things like fireworks and children's rides to the weekend; all of which added to the world class USF1 tunnel boat racing that draws crowds from throughout North America.

“It is really exciting to hear the great economic impact that the US F1 Powerboat Tour event had on LaPorte. As great as LaPorte has been to us in the first two years, it is really satisfying that we can return that favor and provide something that gives not only families a fan friendly event, but a local economic boost that can benefit,” said US F1 President Jose Mendana. “We look forward to our continued growth in the upcoming future with LaPorte.”

Crowds packed Stone Lake Beach all three days of the event, and joined almost all of the 35 race teams in downtown LaPorte on Friday for the annual boat parade and block party. A large crowd also attended Saturday night's fireworks. The attendance and impact numbers are an example of how widespread the allure of the event is.

“We couldn't be happier with these numbers and the continued success of the Maple City Grand Prix,” said Jack Arnett, Executive Director at Visit Michigan City LaPorte. “USF1 brings amazing racing here and everyone involved locally with putting this race on did a great job. We love being able to bring such a high-level event to Stone Lake and LaPorte.”

Source: Visit Michigan City LaPorte

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