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‘Thunder on the Niagara’ Doesn’t Disappoint

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By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

One of the premiere events of the summer, high-speed hydroplane boats were thundering across the Niagara River at top speeds this weekend in North Tonawanda.

Held at Gratwick Riverside Park, people of all ages came out to watch the ‘Thunder on the Niagara’ racing spectacular.



Organizers have been holding the event here for the past thirteen years and say it is something that everyone and anyone can enjoy.

“It is a once a year circuit that that comes from Quebec,” said Kim Hailey, Event Organizer. “People like it because of the speed, sound, the weather, and the beautiful surroundings of Gratwick Park that North Tonawanda gives us for the weekend. This is just an amazing event for everyone to enjoy.”

The competition featured more than seventy boats and drew people from across Western New York.



Of course, the event is a boost to the local economy in North Tonawanda as well.

“This brings so many people to our beautiful waterfront,” said Eric Zadzilka, North Tonawanda Common Council President, “and we are always happy to show off the wonders that North Tonawanda has to offer.”

“It looks like we have a competitor here from Australia who came to race his boat. We have competitors from Canada and more than a dozen states. Young or old, this is something for all residents to enjoy. You just can’t beat it,” said Zadzilka.



In addition to the main attraction, there was food vendors, crafts items, and activities for kids such as a giant blow-up slide.

“I have been coming to the Thunder on the Niagara for years,” said Nicollette Silluzio, North Tonawanda resident, “and this was the first year that I brought my seven-year-old son. He absolutely loved it! This is such a great event for the community and the location could not be better.”

Even though the event this year was bigger and more well-attended than any previous year, Hailey says the goal is always to make it “bigger and better.”

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