Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

International powerboat festival to rock and roll on the river

Published on

Journal Staff

Get ready, Sarnia, for some fast boats and rock concerts to liven up the summer.

The International Powerboat Festival is returning with free races and other activities beside the St. Clair River and two ticketed concerts featuring Monster Truck and I Mother Earth.

Sarnia’s largest summer festival, scheduled for Aug. 12 – 14, attracted more than 30,000 people last year. It’s estimated the festival generates over $300,000 in spending within the community.

It has also contributed more than $100,000 to charities the past five years, said event co-chairman David McPhail.

“(It’s) a community event from every aspect,” he said.

“Each year gets bigger than the last because of the great community support.”

The festival, which is held jointly with Port Huron, features free street performers, a kids’ zone, wakeboard competitions, merchandise and food vendors, and a licenced beverage tent.

And it’s not going anywhere soon.

Last month, the city approved an agreement that gave the festival a break on set-up fees, and will allow the festival to use the George Street parking lot for the next five years.

Monster Truck, a rock band from Hamilton, will play on the Friday night. The band won a Juno Award in 2013 as Breakthrough Group of the Year.

I Mother Earth performs on Saturday with original vocalist Edwin.

The concerts build on Sarnia’s tradition of providing music on the waterfront, said co-chair Denise Rempel.

“We’re very fortunate to have been able to secure two great bands this year.”

Gates open 8 p.m. both nights. Tickets and festival details are available at

Powerboat time trials start Saturday morning, Aug. 13, and the actual races take place on Sunday.

Often called NASCAR on water, the race itself is one of the official stops on the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) circuit, which draws racers from around the world.

More like this