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Fingerlakes Cardboard Boat Regatta – A zany time…just because

What is a Cardboard Boat Regatta? Glad you asked…

The annual Cardboard Boat Regatta challenges anyone who’s up for it to make a boat primarily out of cardboard and to sail it in the harbor at Seneca Lake. How does one win? Teams are scored based on how long their boat can stay afloat, the creativity of their boat, and how many people are able to squeeze on board.

Tweens, teens and young adults put dozens of hours (or sometimes start making their boat drunkenly at 8:00 the night before, as one team confessed) only for it to most likely sink in a blaze of glory while hundreds of onlookers cheer, laugh and drink.

There is little to be taken seriously about the regatta, and that’s what makes it so freakin’ cool. This staple event at Seneca Lake draws families, couples, locals and tourists who just want to let go of their stresses and have a light-hearted afternoon. Vendors sell hot dogs, popcorn and beer. There’s even a Zoltar fortune-telling booth like the one in the movie, “Big.”

Lawn chairs are scattered along the docks for spectators to watch these amateur sailors of cardboard boats paddle furiously towards the finish line, fall into the water, or abandon ship. The laughter is contagious. It’s impossible not to smile from ear to ear. Everyone is liquored up, soaking up the sun, and reveling in the perfect breeze from the water.

Scott from WINK 106 is the official MC, and let us take the mic to hype up the crowd about their nomination of being one of the most fun small towns in America! The crowd is ecstatic and thrilled to show us, with plenty of cheering, just how fun they are. This is clearly an incredibly tight-knit community that looks for a reason, any reason, to get together and have a blast. What better reason than cardboard boats? I can’t think of one. We’re just glad we got to be there.


Are there any zany events in your 
community that bring people together for a crazy fun time? If not, maybe you can initiate a new tradition! Any ideas?