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posted: 8/8/2017 7:23 PM

It's cardboard on water -- what could be more fun?

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  • Sign up by Monday, Aug. 14 for the Fox Valley United Way's 15th annual Cardboard Boat Race on Mastodon Lake at Phillips Park in Aurora.

      Sign up by Monday, Aug. 14 for the Fox Valley United Way's 15th annual Cardboard Boat Race on Mastodon Lake at Phillips Park in Aurora.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer, 2014

Submitted by Fox Valley United Way

Saturday, Aug. 19, marks the 15th annual Fox Valley United Way's "What Floats Your Cardboard Boat" race.

Corporations, community organizations, families and individuals create designed and themed boats out of cardboard, and race them against one another on Mastodon Lake in Phillips Park in Aurora. Any group or individual in the Fox Valley is welcome to build and enter a boat. Sign up by Monday, Aug. 14.

The boat race is an entertaining, family-friendly, volunteer-run event that celebrates community and helps support the life-changing work of the 63 social service agencies that Fox Valley United Way supports in 23 communities in Kane and Kendall counties.

The race is a great way for a company or organization to advertise to hundreds in attendance, and to thousands post-event who watch the boat race video, receive the Fox Valley United Way e-newsletter, or read articles in the press.

Fox Valley United Way and its partners have made it easy for anyone to create and race a cardboard boat. Here's how:

• Check out the "Events" tab on and click on "2017 Cardboard Boat Race" and click on the blue button to register.

• On the same page, there is video tutorial about how to build a boat, as well as a video of last year's race so boaters can see that the event is crazy and fun.

• Free cardboard is being provided this year by the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry. Sheets can be picked up between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays at 1110 Jericho Road.

Deadline for entry is Monday, Aug. 14, so groups can gather the cardboard and their ideas and get started building.

Boater check-in takes place from 8:30 to 9 a.m. and volunteers will help transport the boats from the parking lot to the lake. Boats are on display for public viewing and inspection by judges for Team Spirit and Judge's Choice Awards starting at 9 a.m. A captain/crew safety briefing takes place at 9:45 a.m.

Activities begin at 10 a.m. and first race starts at 10:30 a.m.

First-, second- and third-place trophies are awarded in each of six divisions: adult, business, nonprofit, partner agency, mechanical and community. A special trophy is presented for the "Most Spectacular Sinking."

Anyone interested in entering a boat, but has additional questions can call Deborah Rudel, director of operations at (630) 896-4636, ext. 102.

Founded in 1922, Fox Valley United Way is a volunteer-supported organization that provides an efficient and effective way for contributors to give one gift that will help support a range of social service programs, helping to meet the most critical needs within their communities.

It provides funding to 63 organizations serving 23 communities in Kane and Kendall counties, including: Aurora, Big Rock, Bristol, Campton Hills, Elburn, Geneva, Hinckley, Kaneville, LaFox, Little Rock, Maple Park, Millbrook, Montgomery, Mooseheart, North Aurora, Oswego, Plano, Plattville, Sandwich, St. Charles, Sugar Grove, Wasco and Yorkville.

It also initiates innovative programs like SPARK ( and Volunteer Fox Valley (

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