Racing, Regatta festivities kick off today

LOCK HAVEN – They come from all over – New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Virginia, Wisconsin and Toronto, Canada.

Steve and Warren Huff traveled roughly seven hours from their homes in Toronto to compete for the third year in a row in the 43rd annual Lock Haven Area Jaycees Labor Day Regatta. The event officially opens Saturday and will run through Monday.

The Huff brothers came to observe the races four years ago and “fell in love” with the event and Lock Haven area. They have been back every year since

“It’s an awesome site, awesome fireworks and an awesome course,” said Steve Warren, the driver for a C Stock Hydro. “It’s fairly long and it’s really challenging with the narrow turns with a lot of boats. It’s also a lot of fun going under the bridge. You go under the bridge and people go crazy.”

Racing won’t be the only option for entertainment this holiday weekend. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. on Monday.

There will also be an opportunity to compete in the Bear Country Radio 20thAnnual Bear-e-oke event starting at 12:15 p.m. Sunday at the river-side amphitheater.

Immediately after, there will be a live performance of Francesca Venezia, a 17-year-old singer who has become a local sensation.

Venezia of Fairview Village has relatives who reside in the Lock Haven area. She is about to start her senior year at Methacton High School. Since winning the American Idol Experience at Disney last year, she has been working on her original music. Currently, she is getting ready to co-star in an independent film about a young girl trying to make it in the music business. The film will feature her original music.

Boat racing will be from 8 a.m. to about 4 p.m.; live music noon-9:15 p.m.; food, rides, arts and crafts, plus beer tent on the Lockport side of the river, all open 10 a.m.-10 p.m.