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Guntersville Lake Hydrofest

An Extreme Event on the South’s Fastest Water


Alabama is known for fast cars and famous race tracks. What about fast boats and famous water? Lake Guntersville invites you to an extreme summer event where you can watch the fastest boats today, race four and five wide on an oval course at speeds of 200 mph. Two days of competitive racing as drivers volley to take home the Southern Cup. This tradition dates back to the 1940s and is definitely one for your bucket list.

Want to help out? We need volunteers for the event. If you or your organization is interested in volunteering email us at

Mark your calendars for 2024’s event on June 29 & 30!

The 2024 Guntersville Lake HydroFest will be one you don’t want to miss! We will have several classes of boats competing this year including H1 Unlimited, Grand Prix America, Pro Lites 5 Litre, Marathon Stock Outboards and vintage class including  the Miss U.S. U-36. Follow Guntersville Lake HydroFest on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see more information on this year’s race!

HydroFest Street Party June 27 at City Harbor in Guntersville. Photo-ops with boats, drivers and crew with music and fun for free from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.

2024 Ticket Prices

Click here to purchase tickets!

Weekend Pass:

  • $20 – Adults
  • $10 – Kids 6-12
  • 5 and under Free
  • $30 – Adults
  • $15 – Kids 6-12
  • 5 and under Free

*Active Duty Military with valid military ID get in free

One Day Pass:

  • $15 – Adults
  • $5 – Kids 6-12
  • 5 and under Free
  • $20 – Adults
  • $10 – Kids 6-12
  • 5 and under Free

*Active Duty Military with valid military ID get in free

Ultimate Weekend Pass



The Ultimate Weekend Pass includes admission into the event, free transportation to see the boats at any time throughout the two days of racing, and a commemorative program.

Rooster Tail Party Area


Enjoy the party atmosphere at the Rooster Tail Party area in Zone 3. You will have the best views of the race and enjoy a lounge area that will have lunch both days and nonalcoholic beverages. There will be a cash bar available for alcohol purchase. Free transportation to see the boats throughout the two days of racing is also included! To see the boats, you must wear close-toed shoes.

Club Level


Club Level includes access into a large, private tented area for on-the-water viewing at the start/finish line and free lunch and nonalcoholic beverages. Free transportation to see the boats at any time throughout the two days of racing is also included! Children under the age of 21 must be accompanied by an adult at all times and must have a paid ticket. 

Personal Tent Spaces

For the perfect tailgate experience, reserve your personal tent space for HydroFest 2024. We will continue to have Premium Tent Spaces for $100. These spaces are on the water for great views of the races in Zone 1. Regular tent spaces in Zone 1 and Zone 2 are also available for $75. Zone 3 tent spaces are $60. Each space will be 15X15 ft.  Pop up tents only. No overnight camping within the venue.

Friends of HydroFest – VIP $500

The Friends of HydroFest VIP includes access for two people to the VIP tent during the event weekend. The VIP tent includes food and alcoholic beverages. This also includes VIP parking and transportation to and from the event venue. Friends of HydroFest VIP also have the opportunity to go to the pits at any time during the weekend. Transportation to see the boats is in Zone 1, you must wear close-toed shoes!

The VIP tent is located to the left of the start/finish line. There will be free beer and wine served inside the VIP tent. A cash bar will be available for liquor purchase. Children under the age of 21 must be accompanied by an adult at all times and must have a paid ticket. 

At the Gate pricing begins June 22 at midnight. Ticket holders will only receive ONE wristband for the entire weekend. Do not remove your wristband, re-entry will NOT be permitted if wristband has been removed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Guntersville Lake HydroFest held?
The Guntersville Lake HydroFest is held along Sunset Drive near the Guntersville Recreation Center.

Where do we park for HydroFest?
There are three parking lots located around Guntersville. Lurleen B. Wallace Pavillion, Marshall County Park 1 and Cherokee Elementary School. Parking is $10 per day. A shuttle will take you to and from the event venue. The shuttles run about every 15 minutes. 

What time does racing start?
The venue opens at 8 a.m. with qualifying and racing beginning at that time.

Items NOT allowed within the venue include:
Hard Shell Coolers, Tents, Grills, Alcohol or Illegal drugs, Air horns/Fireworks , Weapons (including knives and guns), Pets (service animals are allowed), Hoverboards, Bicycles, Skateboards or Motorized Vehicles

Looking for HydroFest merchandise?

Need a place to stay during Hydrofest?

2024 Hydrofest Sponsors

For more information on becoming a sponsor, contact us at

Thank you to our sponsors!

Champion Sponsors

Presenting Sponsors

Heat Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

The History of Hydrofest

  • 1934


    The waterway now recognized as Lake Guntersville was mostly forest and farm lands. When the federal government approved the building of Guntersville Dam on the Tennessee River, 1,182 families had to relocate because their homes and farms were sitting in the middle of land slated to be flooded.

    At the completion of the 5-year project, 110,145 acres of land had been cleared, 14 cemeteries and 90 miles of road had been relocated, and TVA had created a 69,000 acre lake with 900 miles of shoreline, stretching 75 miles from Southern Tennessee to Guntersville, AL.

  • 1939


    Guntersville Dam, the largest project to date in Marshall County history at a cost of $51 million was completed. To date, the dam generates 140,400 kilowatts of electricity and stands 94 feet high and 3,979 feet wide.

    To celebrate the completion of the project, city officials in Guntersville hosted a boat race that brought more than 50,000 spectators.

  • 1942


    The annual boat races on Lake Guntersville are suspended due to World War 2.

  • 1946


    Guntersville Boat Racing Association was formed with D.M. Barnett, R.A. Conrad, Roy Drinkard, J.P. Willis and C.W Woodall at the helm. This was also the first year that the Miss Guntersville Lake Beauty Pageant was held in conjunction with the boat race. The pageant drew 51 contestants and Ida Will Willis of Guntersville was crowned Miss Guntersville Lake.

  • 1954


    Lake Guntersville hosted the National Inboard Championships, solidifying the destination as one of the best boat racing venues in the country. The past few years had seen as many as 60 competitive boats from 8 states in attendance at the summer’s popular boat race. Guntersville would be the host for the National Championships again in 1957 and 1962.

  • 1962


    Boat race driver Roy Duby set the world straightaway speed record in the Miss US-1 boat on Lake Guntersville at 200.419 mph. This record still stands today for piston powered boats.

  • 1963


    Lake Guntersville hosts the Unlimited class of boats for the very first time. These boats used engines from WW2 airplanes and were the fastest boats in the world at the time. That June, teams competed in Guntersville for the “Alabama Governors Cup” and the winner was Ron Musson, driving the Miss Bardahl U-40.


  • 1964


    The first year for the Dixie Cup Regatta, boasting an estimated crowd of 40,000 watching from the shoreline. The winner of the race was Bill Muncey who drove the U-7 Notre Dame boat. Muncey was nicknamed “Mr. Unlimited” and he won 62 races during his career, the most victories in the sport. That record held until 2011. He raced from 1949 to 1981. He died in a blowover crash traveling 175 miles per hour in Mexico.

  • 1967


    In June, Lee Taylor driving the “Hustler” broke the world water speed record on Lake Guntersville, averaging 285.21 with one lap run being 299.18 MPH. Just one month later during the annual regatta, tragedy would strike the fastest water in the south, with one racer killed and another seriously injured.

  • 1969


    Coverage of the Dixie Cup Regatta made the sports section of the New York Times. The regatta was the first race for the famed Unlimiteds who would take 10 competitive boats to 8 races across the country. The Miss Budweiser boat, driven by Bill Sterett from Owensboro, Kentucky, won the Dixie Cup Regatta with an average race speed of 102 MPH. This would be the last year the Unlimiteds would race in Alabama until 2018.

  • 1986

    The last year for the regatta

  • 2018


    Boat racing returns to Lake Guntersville with Unlimited hydroplane and Grand Prix classes racing for the Southern Cup. Under the new name Guntersville Lake HydroFest, the event that began in 1939 is reborn and more than 10,000 line the banks to watch as the Unlimiteds, fired by 3,000-horsepower engines, top speeds of 200 MPH.