It’s sink or win at the 10th Annual Crazy Cardboard Regatta at the lake in Voice of America MetroPark in West Chester.
Scheduled for Saturday, July 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the popular community event attracts enthusiastic spectators each year to cheer as teams compete in homemade cardboard boats. There’s even a soggy bottom battle which concludes when the last cardboard boat is still afloat.
Kelly Barkley, supervisor at the Division of Community and Park Connections for Metroparks of Butler County, says spectators play a big role. They vote on the People’s Choice Award for the best-built boat and can take advantage of various vendors, entertainment and activities.
Some lucky viewers could even “be chosen from the crowd to blow the horn and start a race heat,” Kelly says.
“I also think people who aren’t building a boat come to see sinking ships. I love watching people giggle at the comedy of errors as people flounder and sink. For boat builders, folks come to sink or be sunk, or with enough good luck and good constructions, stay afloat,” she adds.
The event also serves as a way to provide funds for the park system, as the net proceeds benefit the Water Recreation Fund at the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty.
“The regatta is truly a fundraiser built completely around the concept of fun,” says Kelly. “What I think has made the Crazy Cardboard Regatta so successful is that there isn’t anything else like it around.”
Competitors ages eight and up are invited to participate, and teams must follow specific guidelines to build a boat for competition.
Maddy Buchheit, a rising senior at Lakota East, has participated in the Regatta twice. She has good advice for first-timers.
“You really need good, sturdy cardboard,” Maddy says. “Use a lot of layers, with wood glue and caulk. It helps to be a two- or four-person team; as a three-person team, our boat was less balanced.”
Maddy also recommends the Regatta for how it brings people together.
“I saw how much fun my neighbors had doing it, and it made me want to try it too, working all summer with my family,” she says. “It’s great to show your hard work on the boat and have people see it and like it.”
The Crazy Cardboard Regatta is one of a kind for locals. Captain of a ship or spectator on the shore, it’s a boatload of fun. 7850 VOA Park Drive West Chester, 513.867.5835, YourMetroParks.net