homepage logo

Cardboard Boat Regatta sets sail Saturday

By CJ HADDAD - | Apr 14, 2022

A one-of-a-kind annual event in Cape Coral that is sure to bring smiles, laughs, and a lot of splash, returns to Seahawk Park this Saturday.

The Rotary Club of Cape Coral’s Cardboard Boat Regatta, after two years off due to COVID-19, is ready to set sail once again for a can’t-miss day full of excitement and team spirit. The action takes place April 16 starting at 9:30 a.m. (races at 11) and runs throughout the day.

“The excitement has been great this year, not only within the Rotary Club, but throughout the community,” said regatta Chair John Calla. “We’ve received a lot of positive comments about us being able to return this event, and we wouldn’t be happier to be back.”

The field this year boasts 14 competing teams from all across the area, that put on their thinking caps to show off their creativity to make boats out of cardboard. Vessels in the past have held up to 15 people at once. Boats are assembled by teams of two or more people and are designed with style or speed (or both) in mind. Teams are judged by attendees in various categories based on participant age, boat-size, and team-size. In addition to the race, prizes are awarded for best original design, best construction, best decorated, best team effort, and the always coveted best sinking award. At the end of the event, all of the boats take part in a free-for-all where the goal is to be that last boat standing.

Boat builders include schools, youth and student groups, businesses, civic organizations, and families. There will be food trucks and plenty of parking for attendees who come to watch the competition and cheer on their favorite boat, as well as live music. Calla said attendees are sure to see boats resembling all types of interesting styles. The last regatta in 2019 saw more than 1,000 people turn out to either participate or root on their team.

A special guest will be participating in and documenting the regatta, as “Small Town Big Deal” will bring their film crew to the event. Small Town Big Deal is an independent film company that travels across the U.S. to find small towns with unique happenings, such as Cape Coral’s cardboard boat regatta.

“There’s not too many other things out there like this,” Calla said. “It’s a great community event, and a great fun event for kids and adults alike.”

The event is free to attend with a $5 parking donation. Bleacher seating is available, but guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs and sun block. The Rotary Club hosts events to support local charitable organizations throughout the year, though Calla said the club also puts on events simply to connect with the public.

“To develop good will and have fun with the community,” he said. “And this is one of those events.”

Cape Coral Police Department’s Marine Unit will provide swimmer support. Seahawk Park is at 1030 NW 28th St.

For more information on the Rotary Club of Cape Coral, visit capecoralrotary.org.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj