As the July 19-21 Rumble in the Hills hydroplane boat races at Rocky Fork Lake draw more near, race organizers say more attractions are being added to an already expanded schedule.
“This is all about Rocky Fork Lake coming together as a community, and oh boy, have we,” said Joey McGuire, a co-organizer of the event with his son, Mike McGuire. “If we want this to evolve more into a festival than just boat races, it’s going to take the entire community.”
The McGuires brought the hydroplane boat races back to the lake a year ago for the first time in four years with an aim of making the event bigger and better each year. Mike McGuire said he envisions it one day becoming something similar to the Festival of Leaves in Bainbridge, but with boat races included.
Since some of the new attractions were announced in April, Mike McGuire said the following events have been added: a Kids Zone with face-painting, games, and more; the Ohio Lottery with new games; Lykins Energy with a $1,000 propane giveaway; “Dukes of Hazard” cars that were used on the actual show; glow bracelets will handed out Friday and Saturday in preparation for nighttime activities; and a “raft-in” will be held both Friday and Saturday nights on the water, with boaters preparing for music and fireworks.
“The raft-in is something that came from the Rocky Fork Sailing Club,” Mike McGuire said. “They have done it for years at Rocky Fork with sailboats and suggested we have boats of all kind come over Friday and Saturday nights in the no-wake zone at East Shore and enjoy the entertainment. We will have live music from 6 p.m. until dark both nights, and fireworks at dark on Saturday. We are providing glow bracelets to the crowd, and would love to see the east end of the lake glowing, both on land and water. In speaking with the club, they suggested that we could have a record number of boats tied up at Rocky Fork, due to the size of the weekend-long event. We encourage everyone to come out that weekend, support the local community, and have fun.”
Mike McGuire said more details will be released as plans are finalized.
Adam Somerville, the natural resources officer at Rocky Fork State Park, said the boat races and other attractions are good for the lake.
“A lot of other parks have big events that bring the community all together. We haven’t had that much here,” he said. “Coming from a park that had events year around, it’s nice that we’re getting people out to the park, enjoying things like the (Fourth of July) parade and fireworks, and the boat races are going to be good.”
In addition to the races that Mike McGuire said will see boats skimming across the lake at speeds well in excess of 100 mph, the weekend will start with a kickoff party from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 19. There will be live music, food vendors and a beer garden.
Things will rev back up at 9 a.m. Saturday with an opening ceremony featuring the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard and a military flyover. Racing will start by 11 a.m. Saturday will also feature food vendors, flea market vendors, the Kids Zone, a beer garden, a classic car cruise-in, monster truck rides, and helicopter rides.
Once racing ends around 6 p.m., a Gap Party will fill the time between racing and fireworks at dark, with live music playing in the beer garden.
“It is strongly recommended that folks stay around for the fireworks, or at least come out for them if they can’t make it during the day, since they are going to be truly amazing,” Joey McGuire said.
Things will fire back up at 9 a.m. Sunday with food vendors, flea market vendors, the Kids Zone, beer garden, the 16th Kroger Classic Car Show — moving to the lake for the first time, monster truck rides, and helicopter rides. Racing will again begin by 11 a.m. and run until around 6 p.m.
“The beer garden and food vendors will stay around as long as needed, with music and cornhole going as well, so plan on staying until dark,” Joey McGuire said.
There will be a break in racing both Saturday and Sunday from about noon to 1 p.m. so the volunteers can have lunch. But, the McGuires said, everyone is encouraged to stick around because they have special things planned during the pauses.
“If anyone would like to volunteer to help out over the weekend in short shifts, doing things like delivering lunches to the folks putting on the race and things like that, please stop by Joey’s Pizza, call 937-365-1446, or visit the Rumble in the Hills Facebook page and send a message,” Mike McGuire said. “All volunteers will be fed, receive a T-shirt, and be greatly appreciated.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.