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Great Lakes Grand Prix

Exciting New Thrills Ahead At Michigan City Great Lakes Grand Prix

It’s back – and bigger and better than ever! Grab your spot on the Washington Park Beach and get ready for some heart-pounding sensations as some of the world’s fastest and most powerful offshore power boats zoom past on Lake Michigan’s ever-challenging waters. Michigan City’s award-winning Great Lakes Grand Prix celebrates its 11th season with four days of non-stop action and festivities Aug. 1-4.

Anticipation builds for spectators who can’t wait for the rumble of giant engines as these colorful powerboats race by at speeds nearing 175 miles per hour. But there’s even more to love this year. For the first time, drivers cutting across the waves on super-powered jet skis join the lineup, bringing the nation’s hottest new water racing sport to Michigan City.

Adding to all that offshore adrenaline, is the endless activity on shore. Everyone enjoys the annual boat parade, block party and the chance to meet the racers. The annual Taste of Michigan City and other special events, plus food and souvenir vendors, and plenty of live music round out the weekend. Here’s a rundown:

What’s New

Michigan City scores even more high-speed action this year as a result of a new partnership with the American Powerboat Association, formed when the world’s leading marine motorsport brand, Powerboat P1, and the Offshore Powerboat Association joined forces. Also coming onboard is AquaX, an organization that promotes high-endurance jet ski racing around the world. The exciting result for the Michigan City Great Lakes Grand Prix is a weekend of outstanding powerboat racing that fans have come to love with the addition of jet ski and smaller boat competitions. It also puts Michigan City’s Great Lakes Grand Prix as part of a 6-venue racing series being staged by the new partners.

Taste of Michigan City

This delicious event and the Great Lakes Grand Prix just go together, well, like boats and water. One just wouldn’t seem complete without the other. The Michigan City Mainstreet Association’s Taste of Michigan City, both Friday and Saturday, brings numerous local eateries to the Uptown Arts District. You’ll get to sample the most scrumptious cuisine the city has to offer – get your mouth watering for everything from ribs to pizza, Mexican to Mediterranean, and, of course ice cream, chocolate and other delicacies. In the beer garden, sip cooling libations from local breweries and wineries. All the while, musical entertainers perform. On Saturday, the children will love Kids Zone for interactive art and science activities from noon to 4 p.m.

The Boat Parade and Party

You won’t believe how awesomely big and impressive the Grand Prix’s colorful powerboats look close-up! A highlight of the weekend is watching them gracefully float by in the Boat Parade down Franklin Street beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday. After the parade, everyone’s invited to attend the block party where you can meet the race drivers, take photos and see the boats. You’ll be ready to cheer for your favorites on Sunday.

Plenty More on Shore

Competitions, shows, and plenty of food and music fill the weekend. Both food and souvenir vendors set up shop in Washington Park throughout the weekend and bands play each night. Don’t miss the free Vintage Car Show on Saturday or the EVP beach volleyball tournament. Golfers can get a jump-start on race weekend Wednesday at the Great Lakes Grand Prix Golf Outing, with proceeds going to Reins for Life, a therapeutic riding program for persons with disabilities.

Race Weekend at Last (Plus Some Action Before)!

Head to the lakefront Saturday and Sunday for the highlight of the Great Lakes Grand Prix – the races – from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Also on tap will be a silent auction on the boardwalk from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with proceeds going to charity in honor of the Michigan City Emergency Management Volunteers who work so tirelessly during the race event. Bid on some great gift certificates and cool items to take home. But even before race day, you can see plenty of action in testing and jet ski races starting Friday (see schedule below).

Insider Tip: Getting Around

Even though thousands of people attend the Great Lakes Grand Prix each year, organizers make getting to the events a breeze. Free parking is available Friday (3-10:30 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) at Ames Field, located at 2501 Franklin St. Continuous shuttle service is available to both Washington Park on Lake Michigan and to Taste of Michigan City downtown.

Schedule Details:

Wednesday, July 31
11 a.m. – Registration for Great Lakes Grand Prix Golf Outing at the Michigan City Municipal Golf Course. Play begins at noon.

Thursday, Aug. 1
6-10 p.m. – Live entertainment by Smarty Pants at Washington Park Boardwalk

Friday, Aug. 2
2-4 p.m. – Testing: Classes P1-P6 and AquaX Jet Ski
4-11 p.m. – Taste of Michigan City – North Franklin Street
7-11 p.m. – Live Entertainment by Point’n Fingers at Washington Park Boardwalk

Saturday, Aug. 3
10 a.m.-Noon – Autograph session in North Point Pavilion lower level
10 a.m.-Noon – Testing: ProStock V – Class One
10 a.m.-Noon – Free Vintage Car Show by Four A’s Car Club
11:45 a.m. – National Anthem
Noon – Registration for Bags Tournament at Food Court. Tourney begins at 1 p.m.
Noon-11 p.m. – Taste of Michigan City – North Franklin Street
Noon-4 p.m. – Racing: Classes P1 – P6 and Aqua X Jet Ski
2-7 p.m. – Grand Prix Beach Open – EVP Volleyball Tour
6 p.m. – Boat Parade and Block Party on North Franklin Street
7-11 p.m. – Live Entertainment by Pablo’s Revenge at Washington Park Boardwalk

Sunday, Aug. 4
9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. – “Boilermaker Special” train on display
10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Silent Auction for charity
10:45 a.m. – Opening ceremony
11 a.m.-4 p.m. – Racing: ProStock V – Class One
(for the complete schedule and times that include VIP options, go to

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