Race officials revving up for San Diego Bayfair Festival in September on Mission Bay
Hydroplanes race at breakneck speed during a previous San Diego Bayfair event. This year’s festival will be Sept. 12-14. Courtesy photo
San Diego Bayfair officials report it will take a workforce of 700 volunteers to put on this year’s popular hydroplane boat racing and entertainment festival, set for Sept. 12 through 14.
“They cover everything from security assistance to parking, securing properly supplies or manning patrol boats to close off the bay,” said race director Bob Davies. “Starting in June, we scheduled monthly meetings, with the fine tuner set for Sept. 4.”
Over the 50 years the event has been staged, Davies said it has become a tradition for families.
“We’re entering the third generation of volunteers,” Davies said.
The premier events, of course, are the rooster-tale, spraying, turbine-powered unlimited hydroplanes, celebrating a half-century of competition on the Bill Muncey two-and-a-half-mile course in Mission Bay. The races will be nationally televised.
However, it has become a three-ring circus since the semiprofessional smaller boats have been moved to Crown Point. Meanwhile, the Grand Prix West piston-powered hydros will perform at Ski Beach.
There will be no drag-racing boats this year.
“It’s a family festival as well, so there will be more entertainment and things for the kids to do,” said board member Jim Kidrick, who has been involved with the event for eight years.
“Bayfair needs as many as 30 bands to play professional stages on East Vacation Island and Crown Point, as well as an intimate stage on Fiesta Island,” said Dave Rodger, entertainment chairman. “Bands will perform 90-minute sets starting that Friday afternoon through Sunday.
“Bayfair offers all genres of music but bands should be mindful it’s a family event,” he said. “It’s an excellent opportunity for area bands to gain exposure and get new followers.”
Bayfair is a nonprofit festival organized and run by volunteers. An eight-member board of governors directs and oversees the army of volunteers to stage the three-day festival.
An estimated 500 RV owners, friends and family are offered the opportunity to stay in Mission Bay Park for the weekend.
“We want the families to come out and enjoy the vendors, just like they do at the Del Mar Fair,” said Davies, who has been a board member for 15 years.
He said the event was scheduled in September so hotels can have one more shot for summer business.
A VisionQuest survey taken two years ago revealed that Bayfair was responsible for generating 13,600 room nights and in excess of $1.7 million in hotel revenue.
Over the years, it has been estimated that five million people have attended the festival.
For more information, visit www.sandiegobayfair.org.