SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – One of Sarasota’s longest running events is back for its 37th year. The P1 Offshore Sarasota Grand Prix will take place off the sandy shores of Lido Key this holiday weekend.

More than 60 boats are anticipated to participate in the event this year, with teams coming from across the globe from countries including Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Italy among others.

The event is expected to draw large crowds this year.

“These boats go 160 miles an hour. They can go in six foot seas and it is a great spectacle,” said Powerboat P1 director Cole McGowan.

Organizers say the grand prix generates millions of dollars in economic impact for the community every year.

“When we bring these larger events to Sarasota County whether it is a rowing event, a boat race, a tennis event, there are people who come here and discover our community that might not have otherwise come,” explained Visit Sarasota County president Virginia Haley. “So it draws new people to our community, it encourages their spending in our community that provides all of us jobs. It also saves taxpayers a tremendous amount of money, about $650 a year per household because the visitors are paying the taxes, those of us who are residents don’t have to.”

Haley explains hotel occupancy has dropped five percent in recent months. With the slowing of visitors this summer season, local businesses are eager for the large influx of visitors this weekend.

“This is the first time in a couple of years since COVID that we have actually felt an off-season. This comes at a perfect time particularly when it comes to all the hotels in downtown and Lido,” said Vice Mayor Kyle Battie.

Art Ovation Hotel in Sarasota says they’re already seeing a large boost ahead of the weekend festivities.

“For the last year and a half, it has been full gas on the pedal. but now we are starting to see a true Sarasota season which usually during the summer months, it slows down,” said Asa Harris with Art Ovation Hotel. “We are feeling it a little bit, but the locals have been very great to us.”

The event kicks off with a block party on Main Street in Downtown Sarasota this Friday. Racing will take place off Lido Beach Saturday and Sunday. For the full schedule, click here.