Water Follies Traces Back 48 Years - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Water Follies Traces Back 48 Years

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KENNEWICK, Wash.- This is the 48th year that the Tri-Cities has been the home of the Water Follies. It has a rich history tracing back to the 60's. 


Niles Mayfield remembers experiencing the Water Follies since he was just 12 years old. 

"When I was in high school, you would hear them testing in the Spring and you could hear it through the whole area, everybody came down to the river," said Mayfield.

He remembers when the follies first came to town 48 years ago. He said it was a family ordeal.

"It was the loud thunder, the roar you could feel it through your whole body," he continued. 

Every year, a different pin is made for the follies, back when they started race it was called the Atomic Cup and things were much different. 

"When the vintage boats run at our event you can feel that rumble in your stomach that bring back some great childhood memories because that's what it was like in the old days," Kathy Powell, Event Director. 

Back in those days, spectators could drive right up to the river and have a picnic. But, in the 70s, Mayfield said, the Water Follies weekend turned more into a party and families backed off for some years. 

He also said the technology of the boats has changed a lot. 

"At our race we keep bringing down the vintage boats so people can see yesteryear and the speed that they can go through the corners now with the new technology," said Mayfield.

He also mentioned, the races are a lot safer now than back in the day.

"When the cockpit came in the safety for the driver and dependability of the boat, the sport became way more safe," he added. 

Organizers said they are planning for this year's races to include up to 11 unlimited hydroplanes and several of the old vintage boats will be back again.