Dundee Township Park District's Rakow Regatta ready to set sail

One of the last moments of normalcy for the Dundee Township Park District before the pandemic was last year's inaugural Rakow Regatta that featured about a half dozen boats made mostly of cardboard and duct tape racing across the facility's indoor pool.

Thanks to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the Rakow Regatta will be back on Feb. 20.

It will remain limited because of safety precautions, but organizers are thankful to have something to offer interested families.

"People are looking for a safe outlet for their kids," said Mike Eschenbach, the park district's athletics and aquatics manager.

"They want to get out and socialize safely. As a park district we're really happy to provide the community with events and programs while being able to still focus on safe recreation."

Participating families are provided with a list of materials they're allowed to use.

Supervisors check the boats on the day of the event to make sure they're seaworthy, and extra lifeguards are on hand just in case.

The competition will be a time trial - one trip down the pool and back - and races will be spaced out depending on how many teams sign up.

Masks are required in the facility but not for the participants racing in the pool.

Even through the COVID restrictions the past year, the Rakow Center pool was able to stay at least partially open while offering hourlong blocks of time through a reservation process. The facility not only hosts swimming lessons and group classes, it is also the host pool for the Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 swim teams and in-house swim teams.

The Rakow Regatta takes place from 1:30 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 20 and participants can register for a $5 fee at the park district's website, The registration deadline is Feb. 10 but Eschenbach said they'll accept entries after that.

Heat winners will receive a free daily pool admission for this summer while the grand prize winner will get a family pool pass.

"It's something fun. It's something silly," Eschenbach said. "It gives parents a way to bond with their children, at home doing something different. Some of the boats work really well, and some sink like rocks. It's just fun to see the kids' faces."

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