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About 130-plus boats are expected to compete in this weekend’s 22nd annual Marble Falls LakeFest on Lake Marble Falls. The Aug. 9-11 race draws competitors from across Texas and other parts of the country.

While LakeFest gives competitors a place to race, win and earn points, it’s also a great venue for the fans. While most races across the country charge fees and limit entry to the pits, the LakeFest boat pits in Johnson Park, 230 Ave. J South, are open to the public at no cost.

The open pit area gives fans a great chance to get a look at the boats and meet the crews, says Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Rives.

“I was blown away last year when I walked through there,” Rives said. “The crews and racers are just so incredibly welcoming. They are just some great folks and really appreciate the fans.”

LakeFest begins Aug. 9 with the Test and Tune. This is when racers adjust their boats for lake and racing conditions. Gates open at 7 a.m. Tickets for Test and Tune are $5 for all ages.

At 7 p.m. Aug. 9 in Johnson Park, racers and fans can enjoy a free concert by Texas KGB. It’s also the start of one of the race’s most popular events: the Show and Shine.

During Show and Shine, crews get the boats cleaned up and put them on display. Around dusk, some of the crews fire up their boats to provide quite a show — with a lot of noise!

Be sure to check in with Ed Chandler of KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune. He’ll be in the pit area 5-7 p.m. Aug. 9.

Qualifying races are Aug. 10. The gates open at 7 a.m. with racing set to begin at 8 a.m. Tickets for the qualifying races are $20 for ages 13 and older and $5 for ages 6-12.

While attending the qualifying races on Aug. 10, stop by the KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune tent from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On-air personalities Kay Baker and Ben Shields will be visiting with spectators.

There is another free concert at 8 p.m. in Johnson Park on Aug. 10 after the qualifying races. Allen Ray and the Southern Comfort Band will be on hand to help celebrate a great day of racing.

The finals are Aug. 11 with gates opening at 7 a.m. and racing beginning at noon. Tickets are $20 for ages 13 and older and $5 for ages 6-12.

Three-day passes are available for $40 for ages 13 and older and $15 for ages 6-12.

While the racing looks to be top-notch, LakeFest organizers are coming off one of the event’s most successful years. Lucas Oil named the 2012 LakeFest its event of the year for the drag-boat series.

Picayune editor Daniel Clifton contributed to this report.