HydroFair makes return to Owensboro riverfront

HydroFair makes return to Owensboro riverfront
Published: Aug. 20, 2022 at 4:08 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2022 at 8:06 PM CDT
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - HydroFair is back on the Owensboro riverfront.

The city was buzzing with excitement as residents and tourists came to watch the speedboats race through the Ohio River.

Attendees couldn’t have painted a more picture-perfect day weather-wise to come out to the riverfront and watch some boat races.

Families, friends and neighbors alike came out on Saturday to enjoy the fun, and it’s still going on right now.

After spending over 30 years in Evansville, the HydroFair moved to Owensboro in 2021, and this year’s event did not disappoint.

“[It’s a good time] to really appreciate how nice downtown is, and how inviting,” Owensboro resident Libby Johnson said. “It’s a great way to see friends and neighbors.”

From walking on the Blue Bridge to enjoying some time in the park and near the pits, it was nothing but smiles all around for Saturday’s fair.

“It’s just a really neat change,” Johnson said. “We love the air show too, but we’re water people and this is really appealing.”

Johnson and her kids regularly visit the SpeedZeum at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, and now they get to see it happen live.

“My kids were always curious about the boats at the SpeedZeum,” Johnson said. “They are thrilled to get out here later and see some racing.”

It’s people like boat race driver Ken Lupton that they come to see.

This weekend is the New Zealand native’s first time in Owensboro, but he’s loving every second of the fair.

“Great, the people are brilliant,” Lupton said. “Everyone has done everything they can for us while we’ve been here. All the race teams I race against, all of the guys, everyone is just really brilliant and we love being here and being a part of it.”

The HydroFair is still happening and will be going on into Saturday evening with “Live on the Banks” as well as a fireworks display.

“The functions they’re putting on at night time, the fireworks tonight, it seems to be really good,” Lupton said. “It’s really good to be a part of it.”

Lupton added that the mix of competition at this year’s HydroFair provides a great challenge.

“You have the best from Canada, the best from the US, you’re really mixing it up,” Lupton said. “It’s really great.”

It will be capped off on Sunday with the North American Championship Races starting at 1 p.m.

“It’s a long two days,” Lupton said. “You have to get through all of the heats and finish to be able to be there and try to win. We’re feeling okay at the moment.”

Lupton has been in the racing business for 18 years.

“We have to play our cards right at the right time,” Lupton said. “You don’t want to show all of your cards too early. We’ll give it our best shot and see how we come out.”

The fair strikes a solid score with Owensboro residents as well.

“Any event like this – that brings people together and gets them outside doing something different – is fabulous and this is a great community,” Johnson said.