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Boat races return for end of summer fun

The end of summer is within sight and that means the return of a yearly tradition in Orange County.

The Eighth Annual “Showdown on the Sabine” Tunnel Boat Races, brought to you by the Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau, return on the final weekend of summer and this year’s event promises to be bigger than ever with three days of racing action, live music, children’s activities and fireworks. The races will be held at the City of Orange Boat Ramp off Simmons Drive from Friday, Sept. 18 through Sunday, Sept. 20, and all events are free.

The racing action, including time trials and competitions, will be held from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 19; and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to watch the races from along the levee’s edge.

Parking and admission are still free for the family-oriented event, but pets, coolers and bicycles are not allowed.

Live music from country music artist Tracy Byrd will help kick off the weekend. The concert will be held from 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18, at the Orange Riverfront Pavilion, located in the 600 block of West Division in downtown Orange. The concert, which is being sponsored by the STI Group, will be followed by a free fireworks extravaganza.

The bulk of the activities and racing will be held Saturday and Sunday featuring several classifications of boats including J-Hydro featuring youth racers, Tri-Hull, Light Formula and the Formula 1 racing machines which can hit speeds of approximately 150 miles per hour.

Along with the boat races, there will be numerous food vendors on site offering kabobs, pistolettes, deer sausage, boudain balls, snow cones, ice cream, lemonade and more.

The “Showdown on the Sabine” will take place rain or shine. Visit www.orangetexas.org for the full schedule.