The annual Cardboard Boat Regatta which has been a fundraiser for the Alton Holman Heritage Arts group in Cave Spring has been growing steadily over the past three years. Call the 2019 event a bump in the road — no one showed up for the event at the pool in Cave Spring on Saturday.
Organizer Winnie Morrow said a couple of factors caused the misfire for this year’s event — Floyd County Schools held its races recently at Paris Lake on the Georgia Highlands College campus plus there was some confusion about the date for the Cave Spring event. These factors combined to doom the effort Saturday.
“We’ve been growing. It’s just been slow,” Morrow said. The first race in 2016 had two entries, that doubled to four in 2017 and there were six entries last year.
“I think I saw one (cardboard boat race) on YouTube. It looked like it was a good idea and I thought we had the perfect place,” Morrow said. The perfect place being the pool in Rolater Park which was constructed in the shape of the state of Georgia.
The only people who did show up for the event were members of the Berry College crew team who were there to provide support for the racers.
The kids from the Berry crew team were good-natured about the mix-up and a couple of the coeds, Madison Moore, a sophomore from Norwich, Connecticut, and Grettie Reifenberger, a sophomore from Norcross, waded out into the pool just to check the water temperature just in case someone showed up for the races.
Coleman Ott, a member of the crew team from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, said the team has about 30 members and has taken a more proactive stance in trying to get the students more involved with the college and the entire community.
“We really want to try to serve the community,” Ott said. “We’re also trying to get more involved in things on campus.”
The Berry crew team participates in up to eight regattas a year themselves, rowing four-man or woman boats, with some mixed teams as well.
Peyton Carden, a senior from Birmingham, Alabama, said some friends pushed him into the sport and added that very few of the Berry team members had any experience with the sport before coming the college. Phillip Alexander had done some rowing with the Lake Lanier Rowing Club and has been helping many of the inexperienced students learn the ropes — or in this case, the oars.
As she packed up to head home, Morrow said she wasn’t going to let Saturday’s disappointment stop the event in the future. She hopes to redouble efforts to make sure that all of the correct information gets out as efficiently as possible because the AHAA group needs the financial help to help young artists across the community.
AHAA, named for a talented photographer who studied at the Cave Spring School for the Deaf, works with arts groups in the schools as well as others arts organizations in Rome and Floyd County.