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Great Lakes Grand Prix Offshore Boat Races coming back to Dunkirk

Returning for another year

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Dunkirk Police Chief Dave Ortolano, Executive Producer of the Great Lakes Grand Prix Larry Bleil, Dunkirk Festivals and Special Events Coordinator Hector Rosas, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas and Director of Development and Planning Rebecca Yanus joined with many sponsors and other city representatives to share the news of the return of the Great Lakes Grand Prix Offshore Boat Races to Dunkirk for a second year in a row.

August will see the return of the Great Lakes Grand Prix Offshore Boat Races to Dunkirk for a second year in a row.

At a conference held at City Hall Wednesday, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas along with Executive Producer of the Great Lakes Grand Prix Larry Bleil and Dunkirk Festivals and Special Events Coordinator Hector Rosas publicly announced the event to a room of city representatives, event sponsors and the press.

Last year’s race was the first large scale event of it’s kind for the city.

“Last year was the first time we attempted to put on an event of this magnitude,” Wilfred Rosas stated.

“The event brought in approximately 30,000-40,000 and roughly $10 million in revenue for the area.”

The event is anticipated to bring in larger crowds this year and definitely more boats; especially as it’s now listed as part of the I Love New York campaign, and will be marketed by them in all 50 states.

“There’s things we’re going to do differently, a lot of things have been learned since last year,” Rosas added. “There’s a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes, the team that we have together, here in the city, I can’t emphasize enough how proud I am as mayor to sit down with them and see them all working together.”

These changes include a big screen TV at the pier, more speakers along Lakefront Boulevard and at the pier so people can hear the commentary.

“We’re looking at solving several problems that could come with larger crowds including parking,” Rosas stated. “We’ll be working with the university, as well as the county, to have transportation to bring people to and from their cars at the college and fairgrounds. We’re also going to need more rooms. We reached out to other municipalities there as well.”

The race is anticipated to bring an estimated 50,000 – 60,000 people, double the amount of race boats as well as another expected 50 boats from Elite Poker Runs, a privately owned boat group out of Buffalo. The cost of putting on the weekend long event is about $200,000, and though that’s a lot, the county will see huge profits in return, according to Rosas.

“These are the people that are going to come back. At some point they may buy a building here. That’s what we’re bringing, it’s more than just a boat race, we’re bringing in fans that have money to spend,” Bleil said.

The target date to complete the pier project is Aug. 10, the race will commence six days later and run Aug. 16-18.

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