The America's Cardboard Cup Regatta is held each year (end of June),
in conjunction with Crystal Lake's Gala Summer Festival, and the
(delicious) Taste of Crystal Lake.
This world famous event attracts thousands of
enthusiastic spectators and contributes thousands of dollars to
McHenry County and various Chicago-area charities.
for the Rich? Not even!
You may harbor the belief that only the mega rich can own a sea
worthy ship and sail in a high-stakes regatta, but nothing could be
further from the truth.
As the name suggests, in the America's Cardboard Cup Regatta, all
participating watercraft are made entirely of the same, readily
available, found-in-the-rubbish-pile material, cardboard!
Yes, cardboard . . . as in plain old corrugated cardboard box.
Despite the lowly nature of the materials mandated, many of these
vessels are wonderful and highly imaginative creations.
Whimsical and often outrageously themed designs prevail. Many
crews put months and months of well planned effort into the design
and construction of their boat.
Many of the designs are a sight to behold and are almost always
colorfully and elaborately appointed.
It is not uncommon to witness Noah's Ark racing against a pirate
ship, complete with smoke belching cannon, or even pitted against a
Viking dragon boat.
In stark contrast, there are teams who show up with vessels that
have had little time, or ingenuity, applied. As you might
imagine, these are little more than cardboard boxes that
float . . . well, at least for awhile! Of course, that is
often times one of the most entertaining and funniest, aspects of
the famous Cardboard Cup Regatta.
With such a colorful, paper-tape-n-glue flotilla, there are
numerous, and yes way-humorous, demonstrations as to the over-all
seaworthiness of the cardboard boats, and the sailing prowess of
The competition is on a timed, 200 yard course, arching across the
face of Crystal Lake's sandy North Beach. The objective of the
Regatta is clear . . . have an outrageously good time, and win if
Many of the participating crews actually do strive to win, but it
seems that an equal number (edgy fringe types) prefer to go down in
a blaze of glory, achieving the most dramatic sinking of the day!
there is a Cup for the Most Spectacular Sinking, victory in failure
is in the eye of the beholder! The encouragement, laughter,
and later adulation received from the crowd is a great incentive to
all of the scuttled crews!