Registration open: Cardboard Regatta one big draw at Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival

Eli Pace
Classic Air Medical has a sudden sinking sensation during the Cardboard Regatta at Moffat County Balloon Festival in 2019.
Courtesy Photo

Would-be engineers and seasoned cardboard-crafters have already begun taping, gluing and lashing together vessels for the third annual Cardboard Boat Regatta on Aug. 6 during the Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival at Loudy Simpson Park.

And there’s still time to get in on the action.

For the regatta, teams ranging from two to four people will race crafts made of corrugated cardboard, and some of the finished products will likely be hilarious. Last year, there were just over a dozen teams.

Per the rules, it’s OK to use some glue, paint and caulking to create a boat, but there can be no other structural materials aside from cardboard. As a result, membranes like plastic sheeting or fiberglass are strictly prohibited.

Using duct tape is OK, but duct tape cannot be on the hull or the portion of the boat submerged underwater, and any asphalt-based coating is also a no-no.

To impress the judges, all entries should look to have strong eye appeal, a unique design and deep seeds of creativity. Team outfits are also highly, highly encouraged.

“One year we had (a team), and they had T-shirts, a rooting team, pom-poms and speakers — they sunk — but we gave them the spirit award,” said Maggie St. John, one of the festival organizers. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Gondor the Green Dragon, a boat made and controlled by juniors Amy Chadwick, wearing orange arm floaties, April Rogers, in pink, and Tasha Burke, in back, starts its voyage during the cardboard boat regatta Friday at Loudy-Simpson Park. Students made their boats out of corrugated cardboard, glue, tape, caulking and sealant, but could not use materials such as plastic or fiberglass.
Shawn McHugh/Courtesy photo

Boats must be propelled using only the participants hands or paddles, which also must be made of corrugated cardboard. Judges at the race will have final say on entries. All of the boats will be inspected.

At the finish line, $2,000 in cash prizes awaits for the fastest, best overall design and best team spirit, along with the Titanic Award, given to the team that achieves the most spectacular sinking.

It’s free to enter the race. For more information about registering for the regatta, call Tony St. John at 970-629-1479. Same-day registrations will be accepted.

The cardboard regatta is one of many planned happenings tied to the 2022 Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival on Aug. 6.

The festival will also feature a 6:30 a.m. balloon launch, a 5K run and walk, breakfast burrito sales benefiting a local nonprofit, a car show, food and craft vendors, bounce houses, duck race, beer garden, bingo, live entertainment and more.

The festival is set to culminate in an 8:30 p.m. balloon glow, weather permitting. Currently, almost two dozen balloon pilots have committed to participate in the festival, and organizers are still trying to add to the roster.

For a complete schedule of events go to The festival is entirely supported by volunteers.

Hot air balloons hover around Loudy Simpson Park at the Saturday morning launch at the 10th annual Moffat County Balloon Festival.
Clay Thorp/Courtesy photo

Editor’s note: this story has been updated to correct the organizers contact information.

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