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Central Heber Springs
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Central Events 6

World Championship Cardboard Boat Races


Cardboard Boat Races

In 1987 Peggy Reeder, then vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and Pat Zellmer, owner of the local newspaper began to look for ideas to create an event for the Greers Ferry Lake area. The idea grew out of the need to bring more tourism to the area. Pat Zellmer had come upon the idea of a Cardboard Boat Regatta. A boat, literally, made out of cardboard and not much more.

The idea went over well in Heber Springs that spring and the two ladies put together a Special Events Team. An event on the lake was the “Natural Choice” since Greers Ferry Lake is over 40,000 acres and nestled in the beautiful Ozark Foothills. Harold Reeder, the husband of Peggy Reeder, conducted seminars on how to build a cardboard boat. The event became very competitive as local industry and the businesses of Heber Springs began to build their boats.

Cardboard Boat Races

The event has received national attention from outlets as diverse as ESPN, the Discovery Channel, and TripAdvisor.

Cardboard Boat Races

In celebration of the World Championship Cardboard Boat Races’ 30th anniversary, Heber Springs has planned a day-long event on July 30, 2016 at Sandy Beach on Greers Ferry Lake.

Cardboard Boat Races

Race participants stretch the limits of their ingenuity to design boats made entirely of corrugated cardboard. Not only do these boats, ranging from simple rafts to stunning ships, float, they must also complete four heats around a 200-yard course on Greers Ferry Lake. No other construction materials are allowed except tape, waterproofing, and oars to propel the craft. No wood, no metal, no motors—just cardboard and imagination—a powerful combination that earned the event the coveted Event of the Year Alfie Award from the Arkansas Festivals & Events Association in 2015.

Cardboard Boat Races

Boat races will begin at 10:00 a.m., with timed heats for both children and adults. The Pride of the Fleet Prize will be awarded to the boat that best combines innovative engineering with artistic design, while the Captain’s Award goes to the team with the greatest spirit and crowd involvement. And of course, the Titanic Award is reserved for the boat with the most dramatic sinking.

There’s plenty of additional fun planned for the day, with a treasure dig, watermelon-eating contest, lucky duck races and a volleyball tournament all on the agenda.

Whether you race your own cardboard boat or just watch them sink or sail, you are sure to have a great day at the lake. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.

Find more information about the World Championship Cardboard Boat Races here or register your cardboard boat here.

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Kristi was born and raised in the Natural State and has lived most of her life in Searcy. She enjoys traveling with her husband and son. She loves reading and learning about a wide variety of topics, drinking pumpkin spice lattes and taking sewing classes. Otherwise, she is managing, marketing and social media at First Security Bank.

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6 responses to “World Championship Cardboard Boat Races”

  1. […] begin at 10 a.m. Cardboard boats of all shapes and sizes compete for speed and design. Best design wins the Pride of the Fleet. A […]

  2. […] World Championship Cardboard Boat Races July 28 on Greers Ferry Lake in Heber […]

  3. […] The World Championship Cardboard Boat Races is a must-see event! Racers design boats made entirely of cardboard and then race them. Along with boat races, there is plenty of additional fun planned for the day, with a treasure dig, watermelon-eating contest, and a volleyball tournament all on the agenda.  […]

  4. […] to Heber Springs this weekend and see the boats that racers have designed made entirely of cardboard. The theme for the 2019 World Championship […]

  5. […] Tennessee and beyond. Whether you’re fishing, paddleboarding, sailing or checking out the Cardboard Boat Races; Greers Ferry has a lot to […]

  6. […] to Heber Springs the first weekend of July and see the boats that racers have designed made entirely of cardboard. The theme for the 2022 World Championship […]

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