It’s Water Follies weekend! Here’s what you should know

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — The 55th annual HAPO Air Show and Columbia Cup is kicking off Friday and officials are expecting tens of thousands of eager fans to come from all over the region. Water Follies Board President Hector Cruz said this year’s show will be “bigger and better than ever.”

“This was one that we weren’t sure if we were going to have it at first,” Cruz said, noting coronavirus pandemic restrictions. “We’re so excited to have people not only on both the Pasco side but the Kennewick side as well.”

Cruz said the Water Follies is one of the Tri-Cities’ biggest events, drawing between 50,000 to 70,000 people to the river shorelines and bringing in about $1 million dollars in tourist revenue.

“It’s going to look much more grand this year,” Cruz said. “We’re really thankful for all of the board, our staff, and the volunteers and businesses that really support this event.”

Spectators can watch boat races and air shows featuring six planes, including an F-35 that will be piloted by Major Kristin BEO Wolfe, the first woman in command of a demonstration squadron for the Air Force.

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Cruz said his favorite part is watching the community come together.

“I know we’ve been waiting so much to have a grand event like this and to see our local people and our visitors be able to go out,” Cruz said.

The Air Show will run Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Friday, admission to the Water Follies is free, but on the weekend tickets range anywhere from $5 dollars to $20 dollars. You will also need to purchase parking tickets which sell for $10 dollars for general parking and $20 dollars for VIP parking.

For more ticket information or to purchase tickets, click here. If you don’t want to drive, the Benton Franklin Transit is also offering free shuttle rides to and from the event on Saturday and Sunday on both sides of the river.

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Officials said the shuttles will leave every hour from 8 a.m. to noon and will return every 15 minutes. The only requirement is you need to schedule your ride in advance by clicking here.

Roads are also already being closed in preparation for this weekend’s event including from the Blue Bridge to Edison St. in Columbia Park. Wade Park Rd. from the Blue Bridge to Rd. 60 in Pasco will also be closed Saturday and Sunday.

For a full list of Water Follies events and times, click here.

Washington State Patrol (WSP) will also be adding extra officers from Kennewick, Walla Walla, Grandview, and Yakima throughout the area, according to a news release.

“The emphasis patrols will focus on speeding, DUI, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and seat belt compliance. Our primary goal is to reduce serious injury and fatality collisions,” the release said.

The release also added that officers want “this Water Follies weekend to be a safe and enjoyable event for everyone in the Tri-Cities. We are asking people to not drink and drive, arrange for a designated driver, always wear their seat belts, and drive at safe and legal speeds.”

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