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Originally published Friday, July 5, 2013 at 10:30 AM

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Tri-City Water Follies take thrills to a higher plane

It's an action-crammed weekend of high-speed boat races and aerobatics July 26-28 this year (the weekend before Seattle's Seafair).

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More information: Airshow, hydroplane races:

Tri-Cities visitor info:

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NWTraveler editor

CAN'T GET ENOUGH of Seafair's hydro races and airshow? Then go east to Washington's Tri-Cities, where planes will cavort above the crowds and hydroplanes will thunder along the Columbia River.

They're all part of the Tri-City Water Follies, an action-crammed weekend of high-speed boat races and aerobatics on July 26-28 this year (the weekend before Seattle's Seafair).

But a crowd favorite — the U.S. military's F-22 Raptor Demo Team — won't be flying high this year at the Tri-Cities. Air-show appearances of those cutting-edge fighter jets have been canceled throughout the U.S. this year, thanks to the federal financial woes of sequestration.

While there won't be the roar and precision flying of those fighter jets, the airshow will feature vintage military and aerobatic planes (plus a modern European light-attack jet).

You can get more high-octane thrills at the Columbia Cup hydroplane races, now in their 48th year and the centerpiece of the weekend. Join the crowds strung along the river shore at Kennewick's Columbia Park (or on the opposite riverbank in Pasco) to cheer the rumbling, speeding hydroplanes.

And soak up the rays. Unlike Seattle, where it can rain on the Seafair parade, hydroplane races and airshow, the sun's almost always shining on the other side of the mountains.

Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times' NWTraveler editor. Contact her at

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