WINONA LAKE — If you are looking for a fun family event this coming Saturday, Sept. 2, look no further than the cardboard boat regatta happening at 10 a.m. in Winona Lake as part of Canal Days.
This is the event’s first year, but it is sure to become a favorite. All proceeds from the race will benefit Fellowship Missions Homeless Shelter.
The cardboard boat race will start near the Administration Boulevard bridge in Winona Lake around 10 a.m., with boats heading south on the canal toward Auditorium Boulevard bridge. Melissa Demopoulos, director of communications and development at Fellowship Missions, stated that the original plan was for Auditorium Boulevard to be the finish line, but there were doubts the cardboard boats would make it that far. So now, the finish line will be a halfway point between the two bridges.
“We hope to see some boats make it the entire length of the raceway. And we also expect to see several boats sink before making it to the finish. In fact, we will be giving the Titanic Award to the team that displays the best effort not to sink,” said Demopoulos.
Managing Director of the Village of Winona Nick Hauk initiated the event planning when he contacted Fellowship Missions Director Eric Lane with the desire to raise awareness and funds for the shelter. With the added motivation to add more family-friendly activities to Canal Days, the cardboard boat regatta was decided on.
“Our desire is to see the race grow every year and become an event that people look forward to all summer,” says Demopoulos.
All proceeds from the event are going toward Fellowship Missions to help cover operating expenses. Demopoulos specifies, “This simply allows us to continue meeting the basic needs of residents by providing food, shelter and programs to aid their journey to self-sufficiency and independence.”
Pre-registration for the event has already closed, but teams can still sign up before the race on Saturday. Registration is $10 per boat and categories include kids, youth and adult. There is also a corporate category that allows businesses to participate for $50.
Anyone interested in racing should visit the Village of Winona’s website to view the rules and regulations. There will also be a table set up at Canal Days to give more information about the shelter, allow volunteers to sign up and accept donations.