Water Follies Weekend Brings Big Bucks To Tri-Cities Businesses

<p>Water Follies Crowds</p>

Water Follies Crowds

Watching hydroplanes wiz by on the Columbia River draws people from all over to the Tri-Cities.

Which is a great thing for the local economy.

With the visitors comes their money, and they are not all spending it on hotels and restruants.

It's spread throughout our area during the largest community event in the Tri-Cities.

The Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau president Kris Watkins said they expect about 60,000 people to turn out for some boat race and air show excitement this weekend.

Of those about 6,000 will be visitors to the area, and while they're here they're expected to spend some major cash.

"The spending in that 2 to 3 day period is about $2.6 million in direct visitor dollars for our entire Tri-Cities community," said Watkins.

She said a lot of visitors stay with family or friends but this is still always busy weekend for the hotels.

Last year 1,500 hotel rooms were booked for the weekend. 

Watkins said while visitors are here they are also going to be spending money at the grocery stores, wineries, shopping and at restaurants.

Kimos general manager Kyle Chism said this is a big money making weekend for them especially being located next to the river.

"We expect to do well being right on the water, hearing hydroplanes always helps Saturdays business," said Chism.

John Givens has lived in the Tri-Cities his entire life and seen over 20 boat races.

He had some advice for first time visitors and regular attendees on how to get the most out of your water follies weekend.

"Just enjoy being with the crowd, whether you're at a football game or baseball game or anything where there's a crowd of people and high excitement it gets the adrenaline going," Givens said. "Just go down and mingle and enjoy yourself and watch some great racing on the Columbia."