Thunder on the Green drag boat competition on Saturday and Sunday

Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer/awarren@messenger-inquirer.com Garrett Farnsworth of Bonnots Mills, MO. qualifies in the Top Eliminator class during a recent Thunder on the Green in Livermore.

Thunder on the Green races into its 24th annual drag boat competition this weekend, bringing hordes of spectators to Livermore, according to Barry Salsman, president of the Kentucky Drag Boat Association.

The races will start about 10:30 on Saturday and run through Sunday. Saturday will mark the time trial portion that will set the lineup for the races on Sunday, according to Sonny Renfrow, KDBA event coordinator for Livermore.

"It'll be really festive and it sounds like the weather's going to be good this weekend so we're looking forward to a tremendous amount of spectators," Renfrow said. "Right now I think we're on track to have upwards of 50 race teams."

Renfrow said Thunder on the Green will also boost the city's economy through tourism and help further the Livermore Enhancement Foundation's efforts on gaining trail town status.

"It's tremendously economically positive for small communities and certainly for the county. It brings a lot of outside visitors," Renfrow said.

Salsman said the event brings race teams and spectators from all across the country.

"It's one of the few places you can go to a boat race and people can actually be close and watch the boats run and not be in harm's way," Salsman said. "It's a big event in the community and everybody looks forward to it."

Salsman said that the event has grown a lot since it first started in Livermore, mostly due to the development of the recreational vehicle park.

"When we started it was pretty much just a field with a river running by it," Salsman said.

Renfrow said that the ramp at the park makes the riverfront much more accessible to boaters, making getting boats on and off the water an easier and faster process.

Gates will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and on Sunday, races will start at noon. Racers for Christ will host a chapel service on the riverbank along the race course that starts about 10:30 a.m. according to Renfrow.

Merchandise and food vendors will be present and spectators are also welcome to bring lawn chairs or blankets to set up along the banks with additional bleacher seating available.

Entry is free for children 12 and under and $10 for all other spectators, which will cover both days.

Parking will be available behind City Hall along Main Street with designated areas for handicapped parking and a golf cart to transport those in need to the riverfront, according to Renfrow. Access to the event will be through Main Street, Poplar Street and the RV park.

Christie Netherton, 270-691-7360, cnetherton@mcleannews.com.

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