Matthew-Greiner

Matthew Greiner, Grand Marshal of the 2018 Hydrofest, presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers.

From Fan to Grand Marshal: Matthew Greiner & the 2018 Hydrofest


Detroit’s premier boat race, Hydrofest, presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, is zipping down the water August 24-26. It’s a time for festivities, food, entertainment and, of course, watching boats race down the Detroit River at speeds up to 200 miles per hour. As exciting as HydroFest is for spectators, there is one longtime spectator who will be enjoying the show in a different way this year.

14-year-old Matthew Greiner, the 2018 Michigan ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), was named Grand Marshal for this year’s Hydrofest. Greiner, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, has been attending Hydrofest with his family since he was very young.

“Being that he was a volunteer for many years at the races, we all were so proud when Matthew was chosen to be the 2018 MDA Michigan Ambassador,” said President of Hydrofest Mark Weber. “We wanted to help Matthew and MDA bring awareness for the need to find a cure for muscular dystrophy, so Matthew and others can toss the crutches, braces and wheelchairs away. Plus, his smile and outlook is amazing.”

“It was a really great honor,” Greiner said of being named Grand Marshal of Hydrofest. “After I got announced, I went back to my table and everyone was saying how no one has been this young as a Grand Marshal. I thought that was crazy because, I mean, boat races have been around [in Detroit] for, what, a hundred years now?”

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As the state ambassador for MDA Michigan, Greiner speaks at events in and around Michigan to raise awareness about muscular dystrophy and to help fundraising events. His first speaking engagement was for Michigan DECA in front of 4,200 people.

“Yeah, that was crazy,” Greiner said. “I was really nervous at first, but then, once I got on stage, I was still nervous, but I knocked it out of the park ’cause that’s what everyone there said.”

Since then, Greiner has spoken at several events, honing his public speaking skills, which will come in handy at this year’s Hydrofest. Greiner will be attending as two people: as Grand Marshal and as a fan.

“It’s so much fun going down there and seeing everyone and especially watching the races and the heats and getting to learn more about the boats and stuff,” Greiner said.

As with everything he does, Greiner is hoping to utilize his newfound position as Grand Marshal to bring more attention to muscular dystrophy. In years past, Greiner has hosted MDA Family Day at Hydrofest. As Grand Marshal, he’s sure to be able to draw more attention to MDA Family Day thus raising more awareness about muscular dystrophy.

“With the support of the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, the 102nd Detroit Hydrofest is in full swing,” Weber said. “One of the oldest events in the city brings family and friends to the Detroit River to watch the Gold Cup races. The tradition brings, in many cases, three generations down to the river for a family outing each August.”

You can follow all of Greiner’s work on Facebook.

Whether or not you’ve attended Hydrofest in the past, this year is sure to be something special thanks to the work of Greiner and his family. Check out all the festivities this year August 24-26.

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