Boatnik is approaching, and that means one thing for Grants Pass. Boat Racing is back!
Over Memorial Day Weekend (May 30), boats of all shapes and sizes gather in Riverside Park to celebrate Boatnik, which has been wowing locals for more than 60 years (established in 1959).
There is no admission to attend and enjoy Boatnik and there are many activities and shows for all ages. If you want to splurge on some extras, the festival offers premium events, such as the Davis Shows Carnival, concerts, and the tasty Brewfest. With sky-high gas and airline prices putting a damper on summer travel, Boatnik is a great reason to stay in Oregon this summer.
Boatnik takes place over five days, beginning on Thursday before Memorial Day weekend.
The festivities kick off with the Davis Shows Carnival featuring food, rides, games and family fun. The excitement continues on Friday with a concert by Stephen Pearcy, the lead singer of ‘90s hair band icons RATT. General admission tickets begin at $25.85. Past concerts include Jack Russell’s Great White, Warrant, Dokken, and Tesla.
On Saturday morning, the flashy Boatnik parade winds through downtown Grants Pass and concludes at Riverside Park. If you enjoy parades, you’ll love this. Personally, I’m not a fan of parades, but if you do, this one is definitely worth the time.
Throughout the Boatnik weekend, festival goers can enjoy sprint and drag boat racing, carnival rides, arts & crafts, a pizza-eating contest, bingo, food vendors, a golf shootout and fireworks on Friday and Sunday nights. Brewfest takes place on Saturday and Sunday, and showcases 50+ beers and ciders from the region. Admission is only $20, and includes a commemorative glass and seven taste samples.
If you only attend one day of Boatnik, make it Monday. The Tom Rice Memorial White Water Hydroplane Race is an absolute blast, a loud and raucous event that will have you on the edge of your seat. And finally, a Memorial Day Service will honor veterans, like myself, with a military jet flyover.