The Lake Ozark Board of Aldermen has approved a Special Event Permit for “Thursday Night Thunder” to be held as part of the seventh annual Lake Race.

The Lake Ozark Board of Aldermen has approved a Special Event Permit for “Thursday Night Thunder” to be held as part of the seventh annual Lake Race.

The meet and greet will be held on The Strip from 4-10 p.m. Thursday, May 28, giving area residents and visitors a chance to see the race boats, show boats and equipment. 

The Lake Race, formerly hosted near Bagnell Dam in Lake Ozark, is about a month away and plans are being developed to hold the nationally sanctioned event despite challenges from COVID-19.

Most Lake Race activities will be held May 28-30 in the area of the 7-mile mark near Camden on the Lake and Shady Gators. The actual race will take place Saturday, May 30.

The race is especially important to the City of Lake Ozark this year since race organizers decided to hold the accompanying meet and greet on The Strip. The race was moved from near the dam last year after one of the major sponsoring restaurants closed. The city subsequently lost the popular street event that showcases many of the race boats, equipment and other vendors. 

Tom Abbett, president of the Lake Race Board of Directors, told the board that 43 boats from out of state have already committed to participate, and he expects several local race teams to participate as well. There were 58 boats that competed in varying classes last year.

“We wanted to incorporate Lake Ozark into our plans this year,” Abbett told the board before it voted on the Special Event Permit.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand from the boating crowd for this to happen.”

Abbett said Lake Race officials have been working with the Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association so its membership can take advantage of the Thursday Night Thunder to display their boats and accessories. The annual spring LOMDA Boat Show was cancelled due to the coronavirus issues.

Race boats and show boats will be on display along The Strip.

“This is going to be held in an outside environment, and we’ll certainly try to adhere to the social distancing guidelines,” Abbett said. 

He noted that Ozark Distillery in Osage Beach, which recently converted some of its equipment to make hand sanitizer, will have available small bottles of sanitizer for the public.

City Administrator Dave Van Dee recommended that the board of aldermen approve the Special Event application subject to compliance with social distancing guidelines. He added that Lake Race officials might consider making periodic announcements over the public address system encouraging social distancing.

“In a month, we should know if we’re okay with the virus issues, and if we suddenly get an outbreak of new cases then all bets are off,” Mayor Murawski said.

In other business:

•The board approved an amendment to the Tax Increment Financing agreement between the city and RIS, Inc. that would allow for possible future development at Eagles’ Landing.

•Mayor Murawski applauded City Administrator Dave Van Dee, Police Chief Gary Launderville, city staff and Lake Ozark citizens for doing an “incredible” job in handling the COVID-19 crisis. 

•City officials squashed a rumor offered by a board member that a significant part of The Strip would soon be demolished to make room for a boardwalk. Not true, they said.