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Tri-Cities to Host APBA Gold CUp

Tri-City Water Follies officials announced the group was selected to host the American Power Boat Association’s (APBA) Gold Cup July 24-26, 2015, a perfect complement to mark the 50th anniversary of unlimited hydroplane racing on the Columbia River.

The 2015 HAPO Gold Cup, named after title sponsor HAPO Community Credit Union, promises to be an exciting event for fans, attracting more boats and a greater number of races. Fifteen or more boats may race, adding another heat to the preliminaries. A Gold Cup has minimum of nine races and a maximum of 13. The event is expected to draw more than 70,000 spectators and $3 million in economic impact for Tri-Cities.

The Gold Cup is the oldest motorsports event on record with the first race held on the Hudson River in 1904. This prestigious event is likened to what the Stanley Cup is to hockey or the World Series is to baseball. The Gold Cup was last held in the Tri-Cities in 1984 and has been in Detroit since 1990.

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2014 Visit TRI-CITIES Annual Meeting & Tourism Showcase

The 2014 Visit TRI-CITIES Annual Business Meeting and Tourism Showcase will take place on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. More than 600 members, local business leaders and elected officials will gather to celebrate tourism accomplishments in the community.

The featured keynote speaker, Andrés Duany, is an internationally renowned architect whose work focuses on cities and regional planning, and will focus his lecture on the Annual Meeting’s theme of “Creating a Bolder, Brighter and Better Tri-Cities.” Mr. Duany and his wife, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, founded their practice Duany, Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) in 1980. Dedicated to research, their practice now has more than 200 plans in the process of implementation. Andrés and Elizabeth were founding members of the Congress for the New Urbanism, teach at the University of Miami and have co-authored five books including Suburban Nation, The New Civic Art, The Smart Growth Manual, Garden Cities, and Landscape Urbanism and its Discontents. DPZ has been selected by the Port of Kennewick to consult on the redevelopment of Vista Field.

Immediately following the Business Meeting, attendees are encouraged to attend the Tourism Showcase, featuring more than 50 displays of tourism related businesses such as hotels, wineries, museums and attractions.

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Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau Becomes Visit Tri-Cities

Effective Sept. 17, 2014, the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau (TCVCB) will begin doing business as Visit Tri-Cities.  As a part of the community branding initiative, the TCVCB Board of Directors voted unanimously to change the name of the organization which will coincide with the current website

“The name change will more effectively communicate our mission to promote, market and sell the region as a preferred visitor destination,” explained Kris Watkins, President and CEO of Visit Tri-Cities, previously known as the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau.  “This change correlates with a growing international trend to simplify convention and visitor bureau’s names.  Destination marketing organizations such as Visit Spokane, Visit Seattle, Visit Pittsburg and even Visit London are solidifying this more succinct and web search-friendly change.”

Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau will remain the organization’s legal entity and the conversion to Visit Tri-Cities will happen in a gradual fashion.  As current inventories of printed materials are depleted, they will be replaced with the new Visit Tri-Cities logo, color scheme and brand story elements.  Work is underway to revamp important marketing tools including the Visit Tri-Cities website, 2015 Official Tri-Cities Visitor Guide and television commercials, all of which will be released the first quarter of 2015.

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When hitting the road for a family camping trip around Kennewick, Pasco or Richland, it is a good idea to plan where you will stay in advance; and to plan your favorite menus so you will have the items you need.

Here are a few of the RV campgrounds in the Tri-Cities area you may want to consider for overnight or even several nights' stays.

1. Beach RV Park is in Benton City, on the Yakima River, right in the heart of the wine region. This area boasts 160 wineries, many of which you can visit from Beach RV Park. This park also has easy freeway access and is big-rig friendly, with 70 ft. pull-throughs, etc. For more, see them on the website at

2. In West Richland, you may consider staying at the RV Village Resort, which offers all paved sites with 20/30 and 50-amp electric service at each site. See more at:

3. There is a large KOA Kampground at Thomas Drive in Pasco, which offers online reservations and a well-known and respected name in camping. See more here:

See more options for RV Campgrounds here:

What to Do While You are Camping in Tri-Cities

There are so many activities to take advantage of that you may want to plan to stay a week in this region or even longer. You can play golf at one of the many golf courses located in the Columbia Basin. There are golf courses from Canyon Lakes in Kennewick to Horn Rapids, just north of West Richland and many in between. You can check out the many golf courses here:

For boating and water sports enthusiasts or anglers, the confluence of the Snake, Yakima and Columbia Rivers has produced an aquatic playground second to none. The area's waterways beckon to water lovers from all over the region to enjoy sailing, power and pleasure boating, waterskiing, swimming, fishing, windsurfing, and much more.

Wine Country Awaits

As mentioned above, you will not want to miss sampling some of the finest wines made in the US at one of the many wineries located in this region. Take an afternoon tour of a few of them, starting out at 14 Hands Winery in Prosser, followed by Airfield Estates, also in Prosser. You can move on to Anelare Winery in Benton City, Badger Mountain Vineyard, Powers Winery in Kennewick, and end your sipping tour at Barnard Griffin Winery in Richland. To see a description of many of the 160 wineries, please see:

Eco-Touring and Heritage Trails

After a busy day of sipping wines and another one golfing, you may be ready for a day of Eco-touring and appreciating your heritage and the history of this gorgeous area of the State of Washington. You can follow the Lewis & Clark Expedition trail that celebrated its 200th anniversary from 2003 to 2006. You can visit Hanford Reach, the only free flowing, non-tidal stretch of the Columbia River that remains in the United States. Located just north of Richland, this 51-mile stretch of river flows through beautiful terrain. President Clinton as a National Monument designated it in 2000.

If you are longing for more nature, this area is home to eight National Wildlife Refuges and Reserves. Check out all of the possibilities here and plan your eco-tour of the region:

A favorite Camping Breakfast: Cow Horn Biscuits

As promised, we said you would have a delicious time camping. Here is a favorite campground breakfast recipe you can try out while you take a moment to fuel up for your further adventures in the Tri-Cities area.

Cow Horn Biscuits

These are delicious and can be filled with a variety of insides to make a protein-rich meal or a decadent biscuit with butter and jelly for a real treat. Kids can cook their own biscuits too (with some supervision).

INGREDIENTS - to make 8 servings

  • 3 cans of refrigerator biscuits - enough for 2-3 biscuits per person
  • A seasoned hardwood stick, 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, about 12-20 inches long, and whittled down so it is clean on the end
  • A fairly hot campfire

Recipe Directions:

  1. Simply wrap a single biscuit right out of the can around the end of your whittled stick.
  2. Make sure the dough is wrapped all the way around and closed, and then let it spiral around the stick creating a cow horn shape.
  3. Hold the cooking stick over the fire, keeping it just out of reach of the flames, and turning it gently around so the outside of the biscuit gets nice and brown. You can then move it a little farther away from the flame to be sure the inside is getting some heat so it will be cooked throughout.
  4. Let them get nice and hot (cook for about 6-9 minutes, depending on the heat of the fire) before you take them off the stick.
  5. Place on plate and then fill with butter and jam, scrambled eggs and ham or any other filling you like.
  6. These are scrumptious! Enjoy.

These are guaranteed to help fuel your family for some more wonderful adventuring in the Tri-Cities area.

This article was written by Joe Laing, the Marketing Director of El Monte RV. Joe has been with El Monte RV for 18 years and has a wealth of knowledge on the topic of road trips and traveling.

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Tri-Cities Airport Expansion and Modernization Project

The Tri-Cities Airport is undergoing a $41.9 million expansion and modernization, the largest renovation since the airport's initial construction in 1966. Nearly every aspect of the community airport's operations will be revamped including new arrival and departure wings, updated ticket and baggage claim areas, and an expanded concourse and terminal. The renovation is designed to accommodate the increasing number of passengers traveling to the Tri-Cities, which has grown by more than 100,000 passengers per year for the past five years. The airport will continue to accommodate travelers without disruption during construction. The project's completion is expected in December 2016.
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Carousel of Dreams set to open in Tri-Cities

The Gesa Carousel of Dreams is poised to open its doors for its inaugural spin this summer in Tri-Cities, Wash.

The community purchased the 100-year-old carousel more than a decade ago, and thanks to private fundraising efforts, it has been completely restored. The carousel features 45 wooden horses, hand-carved by Charles Carmel, and three chariots. A cougar and husky have also been added, paying homage to the rival state mascots. It will be one of 14 carousels in the country to feature the "brass ring."  When the brass rings are dispensed, those riders who are able to grab a brass ring will be rewarded with a free ride.

The carousel rests on a 50-foot platter surrounded by brightly painted rounding boards and is housed in a glass and wooden structure allowing for year-round operation. The building has a gift shop, concession area featuring an era-replica soda fountain, event rental space, catering kitchen and back deck. The facility is scheduled to open in August at the Southridge Sports and Events Complex in Kennewick. Learn more at

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Look Portland/Vancouver! There's a third bridge over the Columbia River.

But you will need to go to the Tri-Cities to cross it.

Next week we give the Tri-Cities _ Richland, Kennewick, Pasco _ some loving, while we ogle their three Columbia River bridges. We will also be there to check out the new Columbia River interpretive center/museum, called the Reach, which celebrates its grand opening July 1-6.

More than a decade in the works, the Reach will be the signature feature for the Tri-Cities, its tourism anchor, for decades to come.

Yes, the Tri-Cities have not always been thought of as the jewel of the Northwest: a hard-scrabble desert, no mountains on any horizon and the aura of Hanford, which contributed to the making of the first atom bombs, always looming over the shoulder.

But Tri-Cities has changed over the years, with its well-educated and highly paid work force. Ongoing federal cleanup at Hanford helped the area barely notice the bottom fall out when the Great Recession hit in 2008.

The metro area has grown to a population of 253,000. Think about it! All of Oregon east of U.S. 97 barely has that many people.

Tri-Cities has culture, sports, fine dining and the other things that come with a population of a quarter million.

And it also is on the cusp of becoming the undisputed capital of the Northwest wine industry, when Washington State University completes and opens a $23 million Wine Science Center in Richland next year. Walla Walla and Woodinville will always have more tasting rooms, but Richland will have the main wine research and teaching campus north of Davis, Calif., and west of Ithaca, N.Y.

So, Tri-Cities, help Portland get to know you better, beyond the great hockey rivalry between the Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans. Tell us what you like best about your cities by using the form below.

I will be in the Tri-Cities area from Monday to Sunday, June 23-29, with jaunts out toward Prosser and Walla Walla thrown in. So remember,

(Click here to submit your "bests" of the Tri-Cities!)

-- Terry Richard

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Tri-Cities, Wash., is gearing up to host the 49th Annual HAPO Columbia Cup Hydroplane Races & Over the River Air Show, July 25-27. Nearly 70,000 spectators from throughout the Northwest will converge along the Kennewick and Pasco banks of the Columbia River to enjoy the races and a spectacular air show featuring an alpha jet.  Visitors are estimated to spend $1,350,000 at local area businesses, hotels and restaurants. As long time community partners, Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau and local hotels financially support the annual event.

Tickets can be purchased at the Tri-City Water Follies office at 621 N. Gum, Ste. A in Kennewick, by calling (509) 783-4675 or at all area Albertsons stores.

For information on times and locations of all Water Follies events, visit

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The REACH Interpretive Center to Open July 1

The Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau (TCVCB) is pleased to announce The REACH Interpretive Center, located at the west end of Columbia Park in Tri-Cities, will open its doors Tuesday, July 1.  The REACH, as the center is commonly referred to, is named to reflect the heritage of the nearby Hanford Reach National Monument. The highly-anticipated opening of the 24,000-squre-foot facility will feature inspirational exhibits and galleries attracting visitors from throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Interactive, rotating exhibits, community outreach programming, special events and live performances will further enrich the visitor experience.  "Adding this interpretive center to the Tri-Cities tourism portfolio gives leisure travelers, convention delegates and sports tournament participants one more reason to extend their stay in the Tri-Cities," stated Kris Watkins, President and CEO of the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau.  The TCVCB is working in close partnership with The REACH to increase awareness about the center and its many programs.

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Tri-Cities Welcomes Riverboats


The Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau (TCVCB) is pleased to welcome three legendary regional riverboats to the Tri-Cities area this spring. The Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, the Queen of the West and the recently resurrected American Empress will offer local residents and visitors a unique way to experience the Columbia River.

Residents throughout southeastern Washington can enjoy the local scenery from a different perspective with an authentic experience on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler. The riverboat will be hosting brunch, lunch and dinner cruises along the Tri-Cities shoreline.

Both the Queen of the West and the American Empress will bring visitors from throughout the Pacific Northwest to the Tri-Cities community for one day during each vessel's week-long cruises, which are held regularly April through November.  Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy local points of interest such as Sacajawea State Park, the Country Mercantile, Hanford Reach National Monument, the historic B Reactor and Washington Wine Country.  

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