The Cardboard Boat Regatta is Back in 2023
Sink or float, annual event remains a sensation
SATURDAY, SEPT. 16
The bayfront and waterways define this city. From tranquil creeks to the picturesque beaches of Presque Isle, there is an irresistible urge to be where the water flows. Sitting in a quiet public park during sunset while observing the majestic Brig Niagara is a simple pleasure that is uniquely Erie, a testament to our deep-rooted bond with the water.
What better way to honor this connection than the return of The Bayfront Maritime Center's Cardboard Boat Regatta? After a three-year hiatus during which shipwright dreams were put on hold, Erie residents can once again embrace their maritime heritage. Shipbuilders of all ages and backgrounds can now test their skills by crafting vessels using nothing but cardboard, tape, glue, and paint (engines are strictly prohibited). They will race across the bay, celebrating Erie's rich history, economic significance, and natural beauty.
The Cardboard Boat Regatta presents an inclusive opportunity for individuals of all ages to explore the art of boat craft. Participants, organized into four categories — children, teens, adults, and mixed ages — compete two by two in their unique and imaginative cardboard creations.
Christopher Cusson, waterfront manager of the Bayfront Maritime Center sees this event as "a great way to connect and engage our Erie community with our bayfront and waterways in this fun community event." Cusson also provides assurance, stating, "Participants need not worry; we have safety boats for anyone struggling, and there is always a prize for the best sinking."
In addition to recognizing the most dramatic sinking, participants compete for the fastest time in their respective divisions, create the most innovative boat, and vie for the title of crowd favorite. For those who prefer to stay dry, spectators are welcome, where they can bring a chair and witness a showcase of epic cardboard creations during the boat parade and the regatta itself. The day is filled with food, drinks, merchandise, and raffle prizes to enhance the festivities.
Beyond the fun and excitement, the Cardboard Boat Regatta offers a chance for both children and adults to build something personal and unique while forging a deeper connection with Erie's waterways. Furthermore, supporting this event serves as a crucial fundraiser for the Bayfront Maritime Center to aid in their mission to promote maritime education.
Check-in at 9 a.m., race begins at 11 a.m. // East Canal Basin behind Bayfront Maritime Center, 40 Holland St. // Watch for free, $50 registration fee per boat // For more info: bayfrontcenter.org