This weekend, head over to the Detroit Riverfront for some family-friendly fun and lots of boat races as part of the nation’s longest continuously running unlimited hydroplane race. The 100th Annual UAW-GM Detroit Hydrofest starts Friday, August 26 and ends Sunday, August 28.

In 1916, the first sanctioned hydroplane race took place on the Detroit River, and it’s been a staple of Detroit tradition ever since.


The event has come a long way since 1916, and it now includes Free Friday. Free Friday starts at 1 p.m. on August 26, and includes free admission to the grandstands and the cold pit during the practice runs.

“This is a momentous occasion for the city and our racing fans marking the return of the APBA Gold Cup, the oldest active trophy in motorsports, on the 100th anniversary of the premier hydroplane race in the country,” said Mark Weber, president of Detroit Riverfront Events, Inc., the host and planning organization for UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit HydroFest. “This event is part of the legacy of Detroit and together, with our partners at UAW-GM, we’re excited to mark this milestone and create an unforgettable experience for the crowds.”

This year, the racing classes will include Unlimited Hydroplanes, Grand Prix Hydroplanes, and Formula 2 Powerboats. On Friday, the Detroit Hydrofest schedule includes testing for the boats. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. is the Unlimited Qualifying race.

Saturday is when the real fun starts. From 11 to 11:50 a.m. drivers will hold autograph sessions, and after lunch the racing starts. All three racing classes will compete on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, the races kick off at 9:30 a.m. and end at 4:45 p.m. The Formula 2 Final runs from 2-2:30 p.m. The Grand Prix Final runs from 3:30 to 3:45 p.m., and the Unlimited Final runs from 4:20-4:45 p.m. Check out a complete Hydrofest racing schedule here.


Tickets for the General Admission Parks, Erma Henderson Park, Memorial Annex Park, and Owen Park, are free. However, there is a charge for parking. Parking at Muncey and Piston Park is $25 per day. Remote parking is $15 per day.

Grandstand General Seating tickets are $25 per person for Saturday and $35 per person for Sunday. You can purchase a weekend pass (includes Saturday and Sunday) for $50. To see all your ticket options, click here.

Active military personnel and one guest receive free admission to the General Seating Grandstands, but you must go to the event box office and show your current military ID.

Tickets are available for purchase online, or from the ticket office next to the Gregory Boat Company. To order your tickets online, click here.

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