Smokin' Returns For Second Year - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/21/05

Smokin' Returns For Second Year

Steve Page and his crew from Fort Meyers are among the first to arrive for Smokin' the Sound .

Page is a racing veteran and he's counting on big crowds to see the speed boats hit the water.

"We've got a great group of boats. It's going to be an exciting event. There's going to be a lot of horsepower on the water. It should be, if nothing else, it will just be a great spectator day."

Smokin' the Sound shines attention on the Coast that money can't buy. Last year, it was televised nationwide.

Misty Velasquez, of the Harrison County Tourism Commission says, "Over 70 million homes saw the event, saw our beautiful Coast and saw all the things we have to offer, whether it was gaming or seafood or just the great water fun we have."

Fun is one thing, but Smokin' committee members see dollar signs as well.

Committee member Asher Travis says, "We've seen it in other cities, Key West, St. Petersburg even Orange Beach say they turn out for it, so we think it's going to be an economic generator. It may take us three to four years to get it working, but we think it's going to be another Cruisin' the Coast."

"It has a minimum economic impact that's estimated to be about $4 million," adds Velasquez.

There will be several good spots along the course to catch all the action on the water. But organizers say if you're looking for the absolute best, head over to the seawall behind McElroy's Restaurant.

"There you actually get the spray from the boats and you feel the sound of the boat going by and you see the whites of the driver's eyes when he goes by," says Travis.

The boat engines rev up Saturday for all day trial runs. The big races start Sunday at noon.

Something new this year is the poker run which starts Saturday morning from the Palace Casino to the President Casino.

Smokin' will be nationally televised again this year.

byMarcia Hill

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