(Michigan City, IN) - The decision to expand Michigan City’s 2021 Great Lakes Grand Prix by continuing with the two races this year paid off in a big way for the community by setting records for both attendance and earnings, according to Visit Michigan City LaPorte Visitors Bureau.
A total of 249,400 people visited the 12th annual event held August 4 - August 8, generating $17.7 million for LaPorte County’s economy. “We were expecting good attendance, and we didn’t get disappointed,” said Jack Arnett, Executive Director of Visit Michigan City LaPorte “adding the AquaX events again was a big success, and we plan on growing that part of the event moving forward.”
The Great Lakes Grand Prix, held on Lake Michigan on the southern shore of Michigan City’s Washington Park, features some of the world’s fastest powerboats racing at speeds nearing 175 miles per hour. Originally staged to showcase Michigan City and its lakefront, the race has become a top draw for visitors.
“The Great Lakes Grand Prix is such an amazing event, and we are so lucky to have it in Michigan City at our beautiful lakefront. This event's impact on our economy is huge, but equally as important is the social impact. Michigan City comes together and shows what an incredible community this really is,” said Mayor Duane Parry.
The Economic Impact report is done by Certec, Inc, a marketing analysis group based in Lexington, Kentucky. The report shows that visitors from out of town, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Florida, spent $11.8 million this year on direct expenditures such as food, beverages, shopping, and transportation, accounting for a large portion of this year’s $17.7 million in earnings. In addition, residents attending the event contributed an additional $913,000 in direct spending. Jobs directly related to the Grand Prix provided more than $3.9 million in wages to LaPorte County workers. Arnett attributed some of the upticks in earnings and attendance to changes in 2019’s race, including staging races for two days instead of one. In 2019, we partnered with the American Powerboat Association putting the Michigan City race into a six venue racing series staged by the group.
The association was formed when the world’s leading marine motorsport brand Powerboat P1 and the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) joined forces. In addition, Grand Prix organizers brought in AquaX, a group that promotes high-endurance jet-ski racing around the world. “The decision to go with OPA and bring in the extra day of racing with the AquaX jet-skis helped to push this to a new level,” Arnett said. “Other events occurring during the race weekend (The Taste of Michigan City, boat parade, food vendors, and entertainment) all contributed significantly to the Grand Prix’s overall success, the report showed. Thank you to all our sponsors, especially NIPSCO as our event sponsor. Our 13th year is scheduled for August 4 - August 7, 2022.