The Race on the River lived up to all its hype.
Sunday and Monday the boat races came back to Portsmouth with thousands of race fans lining the levee cheering on their favorite boat.
Friends of Portsmouth organized and was successful in getting the national championship race back to portsmouth. River Days had not seen a boat race in over 30 years. FOP President Tim Wolfe said it was an amazing weekend.
“The boats coming back to town and getting to meet all of them in the pits and getting to see their expressions going through the parade and seeing all the kids,” Wolfe said made all the work worth it. He said getting the boats back next year will be a challenge as other cities are vying for the championship event. Wolf mentioned a city in Minnesota specifically, saying if they get them back it will be “way over” what they paid to bring the boats to Portsmouth this weekend. He mentioned FOP spent about $50,000 for this event.
“It’s going to be competitive to get them back,” Wolfe said. ” But we’re going to do our best to get them back.”
He said when the boats hit the water Sunday and were making the turns it brought goosebumps. He also said the highlight of the weekend for him was the Ducky Derby, when 2,000 rubber ducks were dropped from the US Grant Bridge into the Ohio River. The ducks were captured near where the Scioto River spills into the Ohio. The ducks were purchased for $10 each and proceeds go toward Friends of Portsmouth future events.
“We’re pleased with the turnout,” Wolfe said of the crowds that supported all the weekend events. In addition to the boat races, the Portsmouth River Days also had traditional events including the popular Miss River Days Pageant and the largest daytime parade in Ohio, which both drew massive crowds, as well as carnival rides on Front Street and live entertainment on the stage at Court Street Landing which included Confederate Railroad and Blue Oyster Cult.