Tastin’ n Racin’ event ends after 16 years

January 1, 2013

After 16 years of thunderous hydroplane racing and family-friendly fun, Tastin’ n Racin’ will come to an end.

Citing rising expenses and unreasonable insurance requirements, organizers made the decision to end the summer event, held at Lake Sammamish State Park, effective immediately.

Over the years, Tastin’ n Racin’ gave Eastside communities the opportunity to experience the excitement of hydroplane racing, up close and personal.

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Issaquah plastic bag ban could go to voters for decision

June 19, 2012

Issaquah voters could decide on the plastic bag ban enacted by the City Council if a repeal measure launched by a Seattle resident qualifies for the ballot.

The campaign, called Save Our Choice, is modeled on a recent failed effort to repeal the Seattle plastic bag ban. Save Our Choice organizer Craig Keller is in the process of collecting signatures to put a repeal measure for the Issaquah ordinance on the November ballot.

In a 5-2 decision, Issaquah council members passed a plastic bag ban June 4. The decision came after a series of public meetings and a flurry of emails to elected officials.

The local business community offered a tepid response to the proposal, even as statewide environmental groups and regional plastic manufacturers sprung into action to defend and oppose the legislation. Read more

Tastin’ n Racin’ hydros roar on despite attendance dropoff

June 12, 2012

Brent Harnack goes airborne in the National Modified class hydroplane, NM-88 Mr. Jiggs, on the way to his victory June 10 on Lake Sammamish during the 16th annual Tastin’ n Racin’ at Lake Sammamish State Park. By Greg Farrar

The 16th annual Tastin’ n Racin’ was filled with thunderous hydroplanes, high-flying wake boarders and classic hot rods, but what was most important for young Cooper Leavitt was that he get his candy from the Seafair pirates.

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Tastin’ n Racin’ returns for 16th year on Lake Sammamish

June 5, 2012

Event organizers are crossing their fingers and singing, “Rain, rain go away,” this week leading up to the 16th annual Tastin’ n Racin’ at Lake Sammamish State Park from June 8-10.

Marketing Coordinator Craig Cooke, who has been with the festival since its inception in 1996, knows that weather is always a determining factor in how the weekend goes.

“You figure that weather’s always going to be chancy,” Cooke said. “And if luck is on your side you’ll have decent weather during the event, because weather is always key to outdoor festivals.”

Tastin’ n Racin’ was designed to showcase hydroplane racing on Lake Sammamish, but also features quite a bit of land-based entertainment — everything from food booths and rides to a music stage and a beer garden.

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Watercraft enthusiasts take Easter egg hunt to new depths

April 10, 2012

Nearly 50 personal watercraft enthusiasts hit the 45-degree water of Lake Sammamish in a search of the lake for Easter eggs on April 8.

“I can’t feel my toes,” Danya Simpson, of Ocean Shores, said after returning to shore with three eggs in hand at the conclusion of the third annual On-Water Easter Egg Hunt Fundraiser.

The event began at 10 a.m., with personal watercraft riders departing from the Lake Sammamish State Park boat launch area.

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Issaquah businesses target tourists for attractions, events

October 25, 2011

Issaquah leaders often describe local qualities as treasures — a quaint downtown, mountain panoramas, historic buildings and more.

Local businesspeople describe such attractions as “tourism assets” all set for out-of-town guests to enjoy and, in the process, spend dollars in hotels and restaurants.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce officials gathered representatives from local “tourism assets” Oct. 18 to discuss successes and opportunities to lure more tourists to the area.

Leaders from artEAST, Cougar Mountain Zoo, Village Theatre, and other Issaquah attractions and events, said attendance is strong, but sometimes people overlook local offerings.

“Tastin’ N Racin’ — unfortunately — is Issaquah’s best-kept secret,” event organizer Craig Cooke said. “Nationally, it’s not. There are events in 13 other states that have all called and patterned their event on what goes on on land and what goes on in water.”

Tastin’ N Racin’ attracts 20,000 people — and sometimes up to 50,000 — to Lake Sammamish State Park each June for hydroplane races and onshore offerings.

Other long-established attractions face a similar challenge in luring potential tourists.

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Roar of the hydros creates a buzz on the lake

June 14, 2011

Beaver Lake residents could hear the pulsing vroom of the beefy hydroplane engines at Lake Sammamish from five miles away June 11 and 12. All weekend long, the racing machines skimmed along the water, wowing crowds that gathered along the shoreline.

Kip Brown, driver of the U-17 Miss Red Dot, powers down the straightaway on Lake Sammamish at more than 150 miles per hour during exhibition laps June 12 at Tastin’ n Racin’. By Christopher Huber

The 5-litre boat races created an ominous, pounding hum that reverberated up and down the lake from the waterfront at Lake Sammamish State Park. And the vintage “thunderboats” boomed a low drone as they tore through the water in a thrilling display.

Event coordinators expected better-than-normal turnout in 2011 as the sun came out and the park dried up enough to attract visitors from across the state for the 15th annual Tastin’ n Racin’ event.

“I think there’s a lot of people around who see it as a growing sport,” said Tim Cowan, of SeaTac, as he watched the superstock race through binoculars.

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Snarlin’ hydroplanes rocket across Lake Sammamish at Tastin’ n Racin’

June 14, 2011

Unlimited hydro hits 175 mph during an exhibition run

The Red Dot unlimited hydroplane wows the crowd, hitting 175 miles per hour on Lake Sammamish during an exhibition June 12. By Tim Pfarr

UPDATED — 10 :55 a.m. June 17, 2011

The faint roar of engines drifted across the city’s rooftops June 11-12. For unsuspecting residents, it was the tale-tell sign that the hydroplanes were back on Lake Sammamish, zooming across the water at frantic speeds.

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Tastin’ n Racin’ events offer something for everyone

June 7, 2011

At about 9 a.m. June 11, the quiet atmosphere around Lake Sammamish State Park will be broken by the sounds of boat engines at the 15th annual Tastin’ n Racin.’

Tastin’ n Racin’ has become a popular Northwest event where the appetizers are on shore and the main course is served on the lake.

Racing begins at 9 a.m. June 11 and June 12. The menu of races features many boats from Northwest Limited Hydroplane Racing. Among the boats in action are 1 litre, 2.5 litre, 2.5 modifieds, 5 litre, national modified, Grand Prix and vintage hydros, superstock, pro-stock and the nostalgic flatbottom boats.

Fans of jet skis will be entertained by the Personal Watercraft races. There will be nearly 90 racers who will compete in a variety of events, including performance jumps, racing around ovals and maneuvering through obstacle courses.

The finals of the races, the KZOK 102.5 Cup, are set for June 12.

On shore, there will be exhibits of current and classic unlimited hydroplanes.

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Tastin’ n Racin’ keeps bringing in new hydroplane fans and keeps old ones hooked

June 7, 2011

During his early years in the 1950s and 1960s, Steve Compton would tie a wooden boat to a string, attach the string to a stick, and run up and down the west side of Lake Sammamish, watching his little boat hurtle through the water.

Steve Compton takes Duke Moscrip, owner of Duke’s Chowderhouse in Seattle, for a ride on Lake Sammamish during Tastin’ n Racin’ last year. By Julie A. Sparrowgrove

“When I was growing up, we didn’t have any professional sports in the city,” Compton said. “During the summer, the big event was the hydroplane race.”

All these years later, Compton is still involved with hydroplane racing. He and his crew are participating in the 15th annual Tastin’ n Racin’ celebrated on Lake Sammamish at the state park.

After graduating from Redmond High School in 1970, the Sammamish resident got involved with limited boat racing, a degree of hydroplane racing that is not as large, fast or as expensive as unlimited racing, such as at Seafair.

Compton worked with hydroplane repair crews. His family’s company, Compton Lumber Co., allowed him to flex his woodworking muscles, so he could easily fix boat hulls.

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