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Annual Cardboard Boat Race Takes to the Water

Justine and Lucie Nicholson get ready to race their boat Two Peas in a Pod.

On the evening of July 22, Mendon's Town Beach was full of not swimmers, but boaters and onlookers who were attending the annual Cardboard Boat Race. And although the participating boaters had no intention of becoming swimmers that evening, for some, it just couldn't be helped.

The boat race was part of the Taft Public Library's Summer Reading program Go Green and is an annual favorite among residents. However, according to Children's Librarian Andrew Jenrich, this year's event was nearly canceled due to the library's budget cutbacks. But thanks to a generous, one-time anonymous donation, this year's race sailed on.

Many people seemed to really enjoy walking around the beach to see all the different cardboard boats that were created. Jenrich estimates that more than 400 participants and onlookers attended the event.

This year's competition included a variety of themed boats including a Mario character boat, a shark, and a dragon. Many of the boats were also "Green," as a result of this year's summer reading program theme.

The race began at the water's edge. Each boat was required to row out approximately 100 feet, and then return. Unfortunately, some boats didn't get more than a few feet out before both crew and vessel sank; however, that's all part of the fun.

Evan McWilliams and his grandmother Carol Houlihan built the Big Blue Recycle Bin, which won the Go Green Award.

The races were broken down into several categories, depending on how many and who was going to be in the boat.

In the two-person craft, 1st place went to Emily Santos and Marina Schmid with their boat The River Rat; 2nd place went to John Cutler and Luke Rausch with their boat The Box; and 3rd place went to Grace McWilliams and Rebecca Rausch with their boat The S.S. Oil Clean Up.

In the three or more-person craft, 1st place went to Jared Lareau, Cole LaBonne, Andrew Fino, Charlie Harper, Garyson Mortimer, and Jack LaBonne with their boat the S.S. Recycling Barge; 2nd place went to Jake Grant, Aidan Fitzgerald, and Dillon Elliott with their boat C.O.D. M.W.2; and 3rd place went to Isabelle Lareau, Julia Orff, Allison Shephard, and Isabelle Frieswick with their boat the S.S. Ariel.

In the family craft category, 1st place went to Andrew and Shannon Fino with their Boston Bruins boat; 2nd place went to Isabelle, Amanda, and Arthur Frieswick with their boat Go Green; and 3rd place went to Evan McWilliams and Carol Houlihan with their boat The Big Blue Recycle Bin.

The S.S. Oil Clean Up, rowed by Grace McWilliams and Rebecca Rausch, took home 3rd place in the two-person craft category.

A number of boats were also give other awards for their appearance, spirit, and sinking.

• The Pride of Mendon Award for most creative design went to The Nile Crocodile.

• The Captain's Choice Award for most attractive went to The River Rat.

• The Esprit de Corps Award for most spirited and organized nonfamily team went to the S.S. Oil Clean Up.

• The Gung-Ho Award for most spirited individual participant went to the Mario Kart.

• The Togetherness Award for most spirited and organized family team was given to Go Green.

• The Titanic Award for most spectacular sinking went to the S.S. Recycling Barge.

• The Surprise Award for 'we're surprised it floats' went to The Box.

• And the Go Green Award which best exemplified the 2010 summer reading theme went to The Big Blue Recycle Bin.

All participants received a certificate, a rubber duck, and a free ice cream from the Snack Shack. Winners received a second certificate and a trophy.


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