Speedboats will reach 90 mph or more as they cross the Allegheny River for national championship boat races during the Riverbration at Kittanning Riverfront Park August 20-22.
Sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Eagles Post 896, the free public event on the river is expected to attract boat racers from across the country and more than 5,000 visitors.
“Where else will you see championship races besides downtown Pittsburgh?” Said Lynda Pozzuto, executive director of All Kiski Strong Chamber and organizer of Riverbration. “You have come to the right place in Kittanning,” she said. “Bring your garden chair.”
Food stalls, vendors and events will fill the riverside park, Pozzuto said.
Many free activities for kids include face painting, chalk art on the sidewalk, foam party, children’s crafts, a cookie decorating competition, and much more. While most events are free, there are some events with fees, including the bull ride and train ride.
Highlights include a $ 50 driver training course on Friday to learn how to drive a motorboat. Registration via the Riverbration Facebook page is required due to limited space.
The approved boat competition will attract more than 150 racers from across the country, Canada and Mexico, Pozzuto said.
Over the years, the Kittanning Riverfront has become a popular destination for the boat racing community. The Kittanning portion of the Allegheny River has been recognized by the American Power Boat Association as one of the best places for boat racing in the country.
“The Allegheny River is a really pretty sight, and in Kittanning it’s wide enough to have room for races, and Kittanning Riverfront Park is great for people to be able to easily watch the races,” said Mary Williams, a member of the Board of Governors of the Three Rivers Outboard Racing Association based in Cleveland, which includes eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Compared to the Pittsburgh Regatta, the Kittanning boat races are a smaller event, Williams said. “It’s a base boat race, but it’s a more intimate setting,” she said. “The public can walk near the boats and talk to the racers.”
Mary Ann Thomas is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter.