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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. — Guntersville Lake Hydrofest action is already starting.

City workers are working on getting tents near the course, the Tennessee Valley Authority is cleaning weeds from the course path, and some of the boats are on display.

The U-8 Miss Tri Cities was parked in front of Food City in Albertville Thursday for a meet and greet. It is an H1 Unlimited hydroplane.

Owner Darrell Strong says it can go 211 miles per hour on the straights.

Families were able to learn more about the U-8 Miss Tri Cities and Strong’s other boat, the U-9 Pinnacle Peak, at a meet and greet with the crew.

They were able to take pictures with them and get stickers and posters.

Strong tells News 19 the 25-foot-long boat was built in 2014 and is likely the second newest boat hull to compete.

He says the U-9 Pinnacle Peak won both the Guntersville Lake Hydrofest and the world championship in 2018.

There’s a total of seven H1 Unlimited boats competing over the weekend, but there will also be pro tunnel boats and even jet ski racing.

“Our crew’s done a great job,” explained Strong. “We didn’t even get into our shop until March 6. We have a picture of March 6, our shop is totally empty so when you think about from then to now, it’s amazing. When we got to practice session two weeks ago in Tri Cities, we were by far the most prepared team and that just says a lot about how many man hours our crew put in to do that.”

He says this is the first race in his two boats for the drivers, so he anticipates the drivers will just be getting a feel for the boats on Lake Guntersville.

He says he would still like to win, though.

The event was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus, so organizers say they are hoping to get at least the same crowd of 20,000 as seen in 2019.

“Most people when they think of Lake Guntersville, they think of bass fishing but we’re also known as the south’s fastest water, so this gives us, the community and surrounding areas something fun to do, something fun to watch, something different than your traditional NASCAR racing,” said Marshall County Tourism and Sports Communications Director Haley Rutland.

There is another meet and greet Friday at Marshall County Park 1 on Highway 431 form 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

There will be a boat parade through downtown Guntersville immediately following the meet and greet.

Rutland says there will be lots of action on land, too, including a water slide and a kids zone.

Gates open to the public at 9 o’clock Saturday morning with opening ceremonies at 1 p.m.

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