Guntersville Lake HydroFest back on after storm delays

As of 2:30 p.m., the Guntersville HydroFest is back on. Boats are on the water getting ready to race.

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- Guntersville Lake HydroFest and organizers are expecting crowds numbering in the thousands, but there's also a threat of some storms. The event is rain or shine, but the boats couldn't get out on the water with the high winds.

Racing crews and their boats took up the parking lot at Guntersville High School Thursday morning - in the pouring rain.

The downpour didn't stop families and couples alike from checking out the stars of the show for the Guntersville Lake HydroFest, which will kick off on Friday and run through Sunday.

"This is a rain or shine event," said Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau president Katy Norton, "The boats actually do run in the rain. As long as we don't have lightning or high winds we will be racing, so we are excited about that."

"You can come in with ponchos, umbrellas, anything that you wish. You just can't bring tents." That's unless you bought a tent space, which are sold out now.

"We have a weather plan if we do have severe weather," Norton added, "We have some locations we can get indoors." Parking is offsite and buses will bring people to and from the event. If there is a threat of severe storms, the buses will be on quick standby to get people to cover.

There are a plethora of agencies on hand to keep an eye on things. "National Weather Service is on site so we're getting hourly updates, so I don't think anything will sneak up on us," Norton said.

The show will go on, rain or not, and the boats will be roaring on the water starting Saturday morning.

Guntersville Lake HydroFest brings H1 Unlimited hydroplane racing back after nearly 50 years.  Races were held in Guntersville in 1969, 1968, 1965, 1964, 1963.  "I've heard about this place forever," said driver Ed Preston, "I mean, my dad raced back in the 50s and 60s, so it's kind of a family thing for us, so we've heard about these races back here, so this is great to actually have the opportunity to come back here and do this."

H1 Unlimited hydroplanes hold the title as the fastest racing boats in the world. This race kicks off the season. Races are usually held in cities like Seattle, San Diego, and Detroit. The hydroplanes have turbine engines and race on a two-mile oval course at 130 to more than 200 miles an hour.

HydroFest will feature the H1 Unlimiteds, the Grand Prix World hydros, stock outboard demos, and a wakeboard exhibition. There will be displays at the venue, a boat show, and activities.

You can buy tickets online. Thursday is the last day to get tickets at the regular price.

Follow this link for everything you need to know about the event.