ROCK FALLS – The Rock Falls River Chase, canceled by high waters in June, was rescheduled for Sept. 22 and 23, which will make for a busy weekend on the riverfront.
The stock outboard boat racing events are run by the Marine Racing Club of Illinois and sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association. Racers compete in various categories according to age, boat weight and motor type.
About 2,000 people came out last year for the races, which run on a half-mile course at Seward Park. The action this year will be from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
There is no prize money – drivers compete for points in their chase for a championship, local organizer Terry Hicks said.
In addition to the races, there will be food vendors, bounce houses, fire trucks and raffles. Admission is free.
The River Chase was to June be 22 and 23, the same weekend as Summer Splash, but several days of heavy rainfall made for unsafe river conditions.
The events first made their runs together in 2015.
As luck should have it, the River Chase now will be paired with another big event – the Taste of Fiesta, which is making its first run at RB&W Park on Sept. 22.
“Most of the organizational work for River Chase is done by the Marine Racing Club, so they were just trying to reschedule to get as many racers as possible back for the event,” Rock Falls Tourism Director Janell Loos said.
The timing should bring a big crowd to the riverfront that weekend.
“We’re very excited about having all of this in the same place,” Loos said. “People here for Taste of Fiesta will have a great view of the races from the park.”
Taste of Fiesta, which celebrates Mexican Independence Day, was held Grandon Civic Center in Sterling in the past, but organizers were looking for a little more space.
The RB&W Park calendar filled up quickly this year, maybe even too fast for some event organizers.
“We wanted to keep Food Truck Fridays going into fall, but September is so busy, that event will have to end in August,” Loos said.
Food Truck Fridays. which kicked off at the riverfront park on May 4, has trucks lining up from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event was to debut with with only three dates, but because of its popularity, more were added.
Loos also is working to bring live music to Food Truck Fridays.
DOUBLE THE FUN
Rock Falls River Chase
Sept. 22-23, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at Seward Park, East Second Street and Avenue C in Rock Falls.
Stock outboard boat racing event with food vendors, bounce houses, a dunk tank, fire truck rides and a raffle. Admission is free.
Taste of Fiesta
Sept. 22, noon to 6 p.m. at RB&W Park, 301 E. Second St. in Rock Falls
Mexican Independence Day celebration, featuring food, music, dance and art, kid's activities, a fun fair and business booths. Admission is free.