28th Annual America's Cardboard Cup Regatta: Races Start at Noon

Here we 'row' again!

Lakewood resident Tom Winslow and his family moved back to McHenry County six months ago.

Having lived in Tampa, Fla., for the past four years, the family yearned to return to the Crystal Lake community where they had previously resided for 20 years.

“We loved living here before, and it was not as nice in Tampa,” Winslow said. “It just didn’t have that community feel like Crystal Lake.”

Now back, the Winslows are getting a taste of that community spirit by joining the fun at the 28th Annual America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta. Winslow’s son Kevin, a seventh-grader, wanted to build a boat for the race, which begins at noon on Saturday, June 22, at Main Beach, 300 Lake Shore Dr., Crystal Lake.

“We are building a Class A oar-powered boat in our garage,” Winslow said. “It’s going to be like a canoe.”

The Winslow watercraft is one of about 150 homemade boats crafted from cardboard for the race, which has become a mainstay summertime event for Crystal Lake. Depending upon the weather, the event draws between 2,000 to 4,000 spectators, according to the America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta website.

Proceeds from the race benefit several local charities.

The fun stems from the various cardboard creations yachtsmen arrive with on race day- and also from watching vessels sink.

Boat designs over the years include the Star Wars Death Star, Lunar Landing on the Lake, Cardboard Knieval, a Gilligan’s Island vessel and a 700-pound cardboard castle with its own dragon, according to the website.

Contestants have traveled from as far away as Germany, Australia and New Zealand to take part in the race.

Here are the specifics for race day:

  • Saturday, June 23.
  • Main Beach, 300 Lake Shore Dr., Crystal Lake.
  • Gates open at 9 a.m.
  • Races begin at noon.
  • General admission: $3 per person, $15 maximum per family.
  • Thirteen cardboard boat categories: paddle and oar powered boats, mechanical boats, sail powered, Kwiki boats built on race day, and Geezer Cup for those over 50.
  • Trophies: Awarded for fastest boats in each class, most spectacular sinking, most enthusiastic crew, most creative theme, people’s choice award, ugliest boat, and others.


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