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Spectators flood the Beach for powerboat race event

October 16, 2019
By JORDAN HESTER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The American Powerboat Association Roar Offshore Roar Offshore drew a crowd this past weekend - the beach was lined with people from the Pink Shell all the way down to Junkanoos.

People from all over Florida came to watch the races and the competitors, friends and family - some international- showed up in support of the race and their favored racers.

Meanwhile, the energy on the Beach was palpable: The restaurants were packed and retail and gift shops drew a healthy circulation of customers.

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"We're just happy the Beach decided to host it, honestly. It's something we haven't had in ages and people are really getting into it," said Bill Kmett, a part-time Beach resident.

Spending half the year in Illinois, he's been coming down to Fort Myers Beach for years, and loves the energy the multi-day event inspired.

It's traffic, sure, but it's at a time when the Beach isn't its busiest and the turnout has shown to be reliable.

"Parking hasn't been too bad either, plenty of people showing up later to the events with only a little issue. We actually took the park-and-ride, which seems to be the most popular way to the event so far," Kmett said.

LeeTran's park-and-ride system was in full view and operation, running trams constantly through the duration of the races and related events.

The races themselves were nothing short of awe inspiring. Some of the larger class competitors reached up to 180 miles per hour and it showed,

"I've been by the pier since 10 a.m. These boats are amazing, there's so much going on during a race," Erin Seales, from Sarasota, said.

She brought her son down with her, since they watched the last race.

"It was phenomenal, but I wanted to thank Commissioners Brian Hamman and Ray Sandelli, Mayor Anita Cereceda and Vice-Mayor Ray Murphy. Mayor Joe Coviello from Cape Coral and Mayor Kevin Ruane of Sanibel were here for the event and were amazing representatives," Jackie Liszak, president of Fort Myer's Beach Chamber of Commerce said.

Thanks were also extended to all Lee County employees for their help as well as the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department, which was also hands on for the entire event with their expertise.

Roar Offshore plans to continue talks to extend their contract to keep bringing the event to the Beach.



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