Cardboard boat regatta returns to Glen Ellyn Fourth of July celebration

Landlubbers, ahoy! Not every boat regatta involves nautical stripes, at least if the Lake Ellyn Boat Regatta is any indication. These sailboats are made from less-than-seaworthy cardboard-and where else can you find a 30-foot-tall Energizer bunny, a replica of the Wright Brothers’ airplane, and three blind mice paddling a wedge of cheese all in one place?

The regatta, which has been racing along Glen Ellyn’s namesake lake for 18 years, was born out of a student project, but has become a tradition for residents who compete in groups on the 200-yard course each year. Boat themes are kept secret, although Glen Ellyn Park District Assistant Superintendent Mary Defiglia says they often reflect what’s hot in pop culture.

The other big secret? Whether the decidedly flimsy vessels will sink or sail. “It’s a challenge,” Defiglia says. “You just need cardboard, glue and creativity.”

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