Cardboard boats to set sail in Glen Ellyn June 29

  • Sign up by noon Friday, June 28, for the annual Lake Ellyn Cardboard Regatta.

    Sign up by noon Friday, June 28, for the annual Lake Ellyn Cardboard Regatta. Courtesy of Glen Ellyn Park District

Submitted by Glen Ellyn Park District
Updated 6/17/2019 4:54 PM

Build a boat made out of cardboard and race it across Lake Ellyn, or come cheer on race participants, at the annual Lake Ellyn Cardboard Regatta on Saturday, June 29.

The event takes place at Lake Ellyn Park, 645 Lenox Road, Glen Ellyn.


Races begin at noon, but spectators are invited to view each boat as the crews prepare for the big moment starting at 10 a.m. and to grab food truck fare beginning at 11 a.m.

Boat preregistration is required for $50 per boat by Friday, June 28 at noon; admission to watch the fun on race day is free.

To get details or sign up to race, visit

"The time period before the races is a lot of fun," said Mary Defiglia, Assistant Superintendent of Special Facilities for the Glen Ellyn Park District. "We have a Skipper who goes around interviewing each Captain about their crew and the inspiration for their boat design. Many of the participants are dressed up and in character to fit their theme."

Divisions for the race include adult (18 or older), youth (age 9 to 17), and family (a balanced mix of ages 9-17 and 18 or older).

"Some teams even recycle their boats from year to year," added Defiglia. "They might add to it, make it bigger or longer, or just change the theme. It's fun to see how creative people can get with their boats." Other than that, this special event hasn't changed much over the years. Construction rules are the same; boats can only be made from corrugated cardboard, glue, paint, and duct tape.

There are a couple of important restrictions in place to ensure participants' safety.

"We provide the oars for each crew member," said Defiglia. "Rowers can't be enclosed inside of a boat. They can create a submarine for their boat, but for the race part of it, the top must come off. The number of crew members is limited to eight in each boat."