CELINA — High-speed boats will return to Grand Lake St. Marys today as the 2011 Governor's Cup Regatta take over the region.
After being canceled last year because of poor water quality at Grand Lake St. Marys, the regatta is back in full force. The event, which brings thousands of people into Auglaize and Mercer counties each year, will serve as the 2011 Inboard World Championships as well.
"We are just thrilled and thankful of the efforts put into place throughout the year," co-chair Allen Baskett told The Evening Leader. "The committee worked hard and so have our sponsors. Registration for boats is going well and the weather will cooperate and we are looking forward to putting on a world class, world championship event."
Hosting the world championships is something Baskett said bodes well for the region. Throngs of drivers, crew members and spectators will all eat, shop and lodge locally during the weekend.
"That's a lot of people coming into the community," Baskett said. "The majority of the people are from the area but we are getting calls from people in Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky who are driving up and I think a lot of the hotels are booked. I think this really brings a focus to our community and the quality of life in our area."
The opening ceremony will be held at noon today, with concession stands open from noon to 11 p.m. Heat racing will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and free, live entertainment will follow the race along Lake Shore Drive.
On Sunday, the opening ceremony starts at noon and concession stands will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Heat racing will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the trophy presentation scheduled for 5 p.m. or 30 minutes after the last heat.
"I think the weather will definitely help," Baskett said. "With it being comfortable, it will only bring out more to see the activities and there will be a lot more to see the racing, whether it's on the shoreline or on a boat."