Sunset Marina’s Cardboard Boat Regatta cancelled

Rock Island cardboard boat regatta

The annual regatta featuring boats made of cardboard and other recycled materials won’t happen this year at Sunset Marina in Rock Island.

The regatta, held annually on July 4, started out as a competition to create one-person boats made of cardboard that would float at Lake Potter.  That’s when it was known as the “Cardboard Boat Regatta.”

A few years ago, the rules changed to allow other recycled materials to be used in the construction of the boats, and the event was renamed the “Recycled Raft Race.”

Dozens of contestants spend time working on entries for the regatta each year.

The regatta has been held for decades, but the event won’t happen July 4 this year.

“What about the people that are planning to attend and  participate by working for weeks to prepare an entry boat for the ANNUAL tradition?” asked Deb Schone, who says her teenage son has been working for months on a boat to enter in the 2013 regatta.

Red, White & Boom – the annual fireworks display over the Mississippi River – is set for Wednesday, July 3, 2013.  There was concern that live performances and other activities late that night could impact attendance and staffing for the regatta the next day.

Lower-than-expected interest in recent years also played a part in the decision to cancel the regatta.

Rock Island County Parks Director Bill Nelson said they will explore the possibility of holding the event later in the year, and that a 2014 regatta is still possible.

Nelson said the money normally targeted for the regatta would instead go toward expenses related to Red, White and Boom at Schwiebert Park in Rock Island.

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