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Gearing Up for Thunder of Niagara in North Tonawanda

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By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

In just a few short weeks, boats will be flying at speeds of more than 170 miles per hour across the Niagara River.

At Gratwick Riverside Park on Monday July 9th, 2018, Mayor Pappas, alongside other city officials and event organizers, announced that the Thunder on Niagara event will be coming to North Tonawanda on August 4th and 5th.

This is the 13th year of the event and is something that everyone is able to enjoy.

“Most of us cannot imagine being on the water at those kinds of speeds,” said Mayor Pappas, “but it sure is a lot of fun to watch. It draws so many families and is such a great family event. Every year it seems to get better and better and the crowds seem to get bigger and bigger.”

Over 70 race boat teams will be taking part in the event. It is considered the fastest show on the water.

The hydroplanes are high performance boats that fly across the water.



The event is organized by the Niagara Frontier Boat Racing Association, the Hydroplane Racing League, Snyder Industries, and the City of North Tonawanda. The event will be free for everyone to enjoy.

“This one of the premiere international events of the Hydroplane Racing season,” said Gary Rush, event organizer. “There is people coming in from Florida, Canada, and elsewhere that really look forward to racing on the Niagara River.”

It will be a sight that many will not soon forge. On Saturday August 4th they will also feature a classic car show for people to enjoy.

On Sunday August 5th, from high in the sky, a skydiving team will jump at around noon and perform a number of acts with an American/Canadian theme.

Parking will be available for a suggested donation of $10 with a portion of the proceeds going to Twin Cities Community Outreach.



“We are honored again to take care of the parking for this event,” said Karl Bauer, Twin Cities Meals on Wheels. “It helps to support all of the groups that are connected to the Twin Cities Community Outreach.”

A number of vendors will also be on hand with all kinds of food and drinks for people to enjoy.

For many the event has become an annual tradition.

“It’s been our 6th year involved with this group and it’s pretty exciting,” said Tom Snyder of Snyder Industries. “We almost have 100% attendance from our employees and their families. It is a great family event where you can spend the whole day and it’s free.”

On both days the park will open at 8:00 am with the first racing starting at 9:00 am.

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