April 12, 2005

SIUC will host annual Great Cardboard Boat Regatta

by Paula Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- It just wouldn’t be springtime in Carbondale without the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta.

The wildly popular and 30-something year-old competition will shove off from the shores of campus lake — at Southern Illinois University Carbondale — at noon on Saturday, April 30, in rain or shine.

Registration opens at 10 a.m. Instant boat kits become available at 11 a.m.

The annual event is open to kids and adults everywhere. Admission is free.

You may ready your craft and assemble your crew ahead of time. Or you may be lucky enough to snag one of the few remaining build-your-own-boat kits and assemble a craft on race day.

Either way, you’ll find the event memorable. And probably pretty wet, so dress for the weather.

Georgia Pacific Co. has donated a limited amount of corrugated cardboard, which boat builders may pick up ahead of race day — by appointment — at the SIUC design building in the Blue Barracks, located across the street and slightly west of the Student Recreation Center. Contact information is listed below.

Adults may enter cardboard crafts of three classes: canoes or kayaks, experimental boats or instant boats.

Kids may do the same. And they’ll race against their peers.

A pair of devoted regatta fans who are SIUC faculty members, Larry “Skip” Briggs, associate professor of art and design, and W. Larry Busch, visiting professor at the University Museum, are organizing the event.

If you wish to pick up free cardboard or want more race information, e-mail Briggs at bbriggs@siu.edu or call Bush at 618/549-5677.

For added entertainment, the PackLite Outdoor Gear Co. of Carbondale will showcase and demonstrate its line of kayaks throughout the day.

Providing cultural outreach is one of the goals of “Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment,” the master plans the University is following as it nears its 150th birthday in 2019.