Power Boat racing returns to Point Pleasant Beach this weekend
The sound of power boat engines will again roar and echo from the ocean off Point Pleasant Beach Sunday.
Mayor Stephen Reid is thrilled Point Pleasant Beach will host the Offshore Grand Prix, formerly known as the Benihana Grand Prix that attracted crowds to the beach resort year after year.
To celebrate the race's return, four days of festivities will kick off Thursday leading up to Sunday's big race.
On Thursday night, a "Meet the Racers" charity event takes place at Jack Baker's Wharfside Patio to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County, according to Reid.
On Friday, downtown Arnold Avenue will be closed to traffic for a sidewalk sale and a display of the race boats from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On Saturday,the boats will be in a pit area in the Silver Lake public parking lot on Arnold Avenue. The Rotary is holding a 90th Anniversary festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"They're going to have a slider contest, a beer garden, facing painting, and I hate to say it, but I'm going in the Dunk Tank," said Reid, adding the festivities will be fun for the entire family.
A parade of boats will head north on Ocean Avenue at 4:40 p.m, followed by a fireworks display at night by Jenkinson's and a Welcome Racers party.
"It's a lot of fun. The businesses are very excited because hopefully it's going to give them a boost. This is a week before the summer starts, so this is a great week," Reid said.
The weekend culminates with Sunday's big event, consisting of a four-mile course.
"It's going to start right in front of Martel's and Jenkinson's, very close to the shore, head down south to Bay Head, and circle around and come back again, and it's going to be very close, very loud, very fast, very exciting," said Reid.
The boats be dropped in the water at the Inlet about two hours before the race. Spectators can watch them in action, starting at Noon.
Jersey Mike's, which started in Point Pleasant, is sponsoring the Grand Prix.