But Baby’s Got a Mama and a Roll of Duct Tape

10 08 2010

An annual tradition for Golden Days in Fairbanks is the Red Green Regatta.  Rather than give you my thoughts about this fantastic unique Alaskan, I just copied and pasted the much better article the News-Miner did about the float.  Pics follow the article.  Among the other rules, every water craft must have at least 1 roll of duct tape.

FAIRBANKS — Hundreds of spectators lined Chena River bridges and its winding riverbanks Sunday to enjoy the 14th annual Red Green Regatta, a watery Fairbanks spectacle without compare.

The Red Green Regatta is not about racing. It’s all about frolic and fun, with its floating entries reflecting the do-it-yourself “craftsmanship” seen on “The Red Green Show,” a Canadian program broadcast locally on public television station KUAC.

“This is the largest flotilla ever,” said race manager Gretchen Gordon, KUAC/Alaska One director of development and outreach.

Entries numbered 89 this year, an increase of 30 from last year, she said.

Mass confusion prevailed at the Graehl Landing start of the race, but as the river current caught boats, barrels, inner tubes, plastic bottles and styrofoam cubes, the non-motorized watercraft spread out at a leisurely pace downriver.

In keeping with Regatta rules, precarious-looking craft of every description abounded and duct tape ruled.

Some rafts were patched together and riding low while more refined entries were scrutinized for detail.

Costumed revelers and adventurers occupied many of the vessels, such as the pirate ships. One, dubbed the “Guilded Meatball,” was alive with a motley crew waving cardboard cutlasses. Vikings with caribou antler-adorned helmets vied with pirates flying the skull and crossbones.

One of the solo entries had bystanders guessing if it was flotsam or a dead body slipping downstream. Closer inspection revealed the floater to be alive and well buoyed by empty gallon milk jugs bound to his body with duct tape.

Music was provided along the way by a “Reggae Regatta” canoe, and a Pro Musica raft featured a live band playing electric guitars and drums, accompanied by castanets and tambourine players.

Two diehard motorcyclists mounted their cycles on board for a quiet roll down the river.

The focus of the Possum Lodge Space Program raft was a 10-foot duct-taped rocket that launched 2-liter plastic bottles 30 feet into the air eliciting, “Aaahs” from spectators. The empty bottles were retrieved and returned to the launch site by a recovery crew all along the route.

Amazingly, a wide crate of 99 red balloons provided a buoyant raft for several riders.

Some softie sailors designed their rafts for comfort and floated by on couches likely hoisted from dumpster stands. But they were one-upped by a raft topped with three matching blue Lazy Boy recliners.

Not all entries made it to the finish line — one or two sank before reaching the landing at Pioneer Park.

A few capsized enroute, most notably a pontoon, which added some excitement for spectators. But all was righted with the help of other rafters.

Youngsters and adults armed with long-range squirt guns and water blasters teased the riverbank crowds and tussled with others on similarly armed rafts to spectators’ delight.

Favorite entries were cheered with applause along the route.

A trio of half-grown ducklings, closely skirting the riverbank, unobtrusively joined the water parade. More than likely they were curious about the many mermaids and a rows of spectators laughing at the hijinks of rafter water fights.

A floating tropical island complete with palm trees topped by spruce bough leaves and duct-tape coconuts was accompanied by a multi-masted schooner reminiscent of Treasure Island.

The young sailors, all counselors or Mayo family members of the Wild Rose Camp, designed and built the entries. The ship’s sails were constructed with Agribond, a lightweight gardening fabric.

The water parade was a delight for adults and children alike.

Twig Tordoff, sitting with Chris Jacques and her granddaughter Skylar, 7, only misses the regatta when they are out of town.

Basking under blue sunny skies, Tordoff said the turn in July’s weather brought out the crowds. “There’s no rain,” he said.

At the finish, Sen. Lisa Murkowski handed out awards.

For more (better) pics you can go here.





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