STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
After a two-year hiatus, LakeFest will return to Lake Marble Falls in 2020.
Lucas Oil and the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce couldn’t agree to a new contract in early 2018, forcing the entities to go their separate ways and leaving a void over the summer as the drag boat races went silent.
To fill that void, the Southern Drag Boat Association discussed returning as LakeFest’s sanctioning body for 2019.
Discussions between the SDBA, the chamber, and city of Marble Falls began in 2018 with hopes to bring the boat races back to Marble Falls this August. But with construction at Lakeside Park for major improvements and renovations, the three entities determined it was better to wait another year to host LakeFest’s return.
“We feel that, in August, there will still be a lot of work to complete in Lakeside Park, and the traditional boat race viewing areas just won’t be ready for a lot of foot traffic.” City Manager Mike Hodge said in a media statement.
David Carroll, SDBA series director, is also a local resident and said returning LakeFest was important to him. Despite not being able to hold LakeFest this year, Carroll said he’s looking forward to working with the city and chamber in 2020.
“We tried real hard this year. Logistically, we did everything that was possible,” he said.
This year’s event was tentatively scheduled for Aug. 10-11. Now, that weekend will be empty. The SDBA’s closest race will be in Waco on Aug. 23-25, which also is the series’ season finale.
Traditionally held in the middle of August, LakeFest could move to June next year. The SDBA will post a calendar and make an announcement with the chamber and city early next year.
In the year-plus until LakeFest 2020, the three organizations will work to make the event an “awesome two-day experience in our newly renovated parks,” according to the media release.
Jarrod Metzgar, Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce executive director, said LakeFest will become a Saturday-Sunday event held almost exclusively at Lakeside Park. That means having the pits — as much as possible — in Lakeside Park instead of Johnson Park. With the Lakeside Park boat ramp no longer there, drag boats will enter the lake at the Johnson Park boat ramp and be pulled to the start line. The Hays Addition boat ramp on Lakeshore Drive will continue to be used to take boats out of the lake.
“We want to make it more of a family-friendly event and have something there for everyone,” Metzgar said. “We have all kinds of ideas, but the fact that Lakeside will be able to hold and host most (of the event) is what we’re looking forward to.”
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