The annual Mayor’s Cup Festival in Plattsburgh combines a sailing regatta with events downtown. Organizers recently unveiled this year’s t-shirt design and announced plans for the 4th of July weekend festival.
Live concerts, barbecues, a talent competition, parade and fireworks are among the events that occur on shore as the sailing regatta takes to Lake Champlain to highlight Mayor’s Cup weekend.
Sunrise Rotary sponsors the Regatta, now in its 42nd year. Joanne Dahlen says while the boat race is the signature event it’s often lost in the shuffle of shore events. "What is a regatta? Some people have asked me that in the past and I’ve thought gee I’ve never thought to explain. A regatta means boat races and typically boats are they’re vessels that are rowed or sailed crafts. So that’s what it means. The Mayor’s Cup Regatta is the largest sailing race on Lake Champlain. We’re expecting about 100 boats this year. It’s really quite big in size and also very unusual because it involves three divisions of boats: racing, cruising and multi-hull.”
Dahlen noted that the racing division remains the most popular. “The racing division is super competitive as you can imagine. Most of the racers are part of the Lake Champlain Championship Series. The Mayor’s Cup Regatta is one of the first races of the series so the bragging rights on winning the Mayor’s Cup is a really big deal to this division. The cruising division there’s fewer crew members on the boats. The cruising by definition doesn’t carry or use the spinnaker sail so there’s fewer sails. And then finally the multi-hull they’re primarily catamarans. We often have a large contingent of catamarans come up every year from Albany. There’s not necessarily a lot of races for that type of boat.”
The regatta occurs on July 6th and land events surrounding the race are set for Thursday through Sunday. As the Sunrise Rotary presented him with the annual t-shirt, Mayor Colin Read said the festival is crucial to the vibrancy of downtown. “It highlights our downtown. It brings in a lot of visitors. There’ll be all kinds of events as usual parade, fireworks, concerts. This is an important North Country tradition. They’re really playing a big role in a much bigger play: the economic development and sustainability of our region. This is one of the two really signature events not only for the city of Plattsburgh but for an entire three county area.”
Dahlen explains that this year the festival coincides with the 4th of July holiday due to the racing schedule set by the Lake Champlain Championship Series. “They have races scheduled every single weekend from June 1 to mid-September and the regatta gets locked into a date. And it just happens to work out so nicely for the community because of where the Mayor’s Cup Regatta falls in the race schedule. So this year it’s just fabulous timing.”