The 35th annual Mayor’s Cup Festival and Regatta is here! Tonight I got a chance to ring in the opening ceremony with my friends at the Kayak Shack as a part of their flotilla on Lake Champlain.
Summer is short in the North Country. To celebrate every minute of warmth, the people of the North Country come together in nearly countless festivities. For the City of Plattsburgh, the festivity of all festivities is the annual Mayor’s Cup Festival and Regatta, which kicked off today. The festival is always welcomed on the first day with a flotilla (boat parade) on Lake Champlain. Each participant is to adorn their boat with lights, music, and of course, FUN.
I stopped by the Kayak Shack the other day to pick up a few needed items and talk with the sales staff about my future SUP purchase. Little did I know that this visit would mark another memorable moment in my life with a simple “would you like to be in the parade on Thursday?” I said “sure” before knowing what they meant by parade, and quickly followed up my answer with “what do I do?”
Two days later I’m dressing in clown attire, taping lights to a SUP (stand up paddleboard) and shoving off into Lake Champlain. I knew the parade was boats. I knew that I was to be one of a few on the SUP, and I knew that the parade of lights was something I had always wanted to see. Did I know there was a circus theme? no, but it fit quite well!
I had never seen the parade before. Seemed like every time the parade was to take place I had prior plans to be out in the woods camping, or back in Maine visiting with people I rarely get to see. My first time seeing the parade, was to be in it! I quickly started scouring stores for battery power lights and glow sticks and came up with some really great ideas of how to make my SUP stand out in the crowd. That night the Kayak Shack had posted to their Facebook that it was themed as a Circus, so again I had to scramble to come up with incorporating the best Circus I could that was SUP capable. Bring on some dear friends with a flair for costumes and I was in!
The Parade was as beautiful as I had expected. The large boats fully decked out in lights, glistening off of the mild ripples of Lake Champlain, one by one traveling from Wilcox Dock to the judging station at the Plattsburgh Boat Basin. We were to go last as we were the only paddleboats in the parade. I had a chance to stand on my board and watch the other ornate vessels float along the shore and take in some of our own participants creative circus themes boats.
We were made up of many kayaks, SUP, and a lone canoe all dressed to the nines with flashing LED lights, glowsticks, and lanterns. Of course, what Circus is complete without clowns, noise makers, and a few high-flying tricks?
At the judges station we were cheered on by hundreds of spectators. Two of us on the SUP were twirling our paddles, one was the true ringmaster of his circus, and two girls attempting head stands on one paddleboard all surrounded by the well-lit and now noisy kayaks. Could we have asked for more? I’m sure if it weren’t so dark I would have been able to see grins from ear to ear on each of us on the water and every person on shore. Theres something crazily entertaining about a bunch of paddlers at the end of a long parade of motorboats that can bring a personal and human touch to the event. I feel lucky that I walked into the Kayak Shack when I did. I was able to join in the crowds to welcome in the four day celebration of fun and excitement on the shores of the Adirondack Coats during this 35th annual Mayor’s Cup Festival and Regatta.
See the full festival schedule here http://www.cityofplattsburgh-ny.gov/History/MayorsCup
Visit the Kayak Shack here http://www.kayak-shack.com/