Raft Race returns downtown Sunday

By Frank Schier 
Editor & Publisher 

ROCKFORD – “Paddle like its 1999!” So says one the the t-shirts for this Sunday’s  Rock River Anything That Floats Race (RRATFR).

More 40 rafts have registered, and registration is even being accepted for kayakers, canoeists and SUPers on the day of the Race at Shorewood Park.

The captains’ meeting was held at the Prairie Street Brewhouse in the Peacock Room Monday at 6 p.m. with 57 people in attendance. Safety and inspection requirements were discussed along with the 10-team-member maximum for each raft. Several designs were shown to organizers who were very impressed by the design talent.

If you’d like to impress with a mod t-shirt for yourself or your bff, you may buy one with just a logo, or one tha says “Get your ship together,” by clicking on “STORE” at rratfr.com

As it says at the store site, “Celebrate your Rockford-ness and love of our beautiful Rock River year ‘round! Order your official Rock River Anything That Floats Race t-shirts before the event and avoid lines at the merch table. We have four styles to choose from and they’re sure to be collectors items.

“Think ahead; these beauties will make awesome holiday or birthday gifts. And, best of all, when you buy, you’re supporting the return of an iconic summer event as well as the following charities: Rockford Fourth of July and Holiday Lighting, the Rock River Trail Initiative and the Ski Broncs.

“Quantities are limited. Order today!”


Check out the entry from Guilford High School:
RRATFR_10
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On the day of the race, Toni’s of Winnebago, Frank’s Italian Ice, Lulu’s Roasted Corn, Bamboo, Java Mania, AnJan’s Eats and other vendors will line the bike path between Symbol and the Whitman Street Bridge. Bouncy Houses will be provided by the YMCA for the kids, and the Nicholas Conservatory will be open to the public.

What else will you see? To get an idea of what will be coming down the river, take a look at the website, rratfr.com to see the self-powered creativity of the 1990’s. Rock River rafts for the race came in form of the Space Shuttle – complete with space-walking astronaut – a gondola; a giant duck; the Budweiser Beer Wagon – complete with horses – a dragon; a giant carp; a banana boat; a forklift; a bi-plane; a helicopter; a stick of butter; a turtle; a waffle; a toy truck; the Bat Raft; a bus; and yes, even Noah’s Ark and the Titanic – complete with deadly iceberg. These pictures are time machines inviting you to hop on board and have new fun creating new memories this Sunday.

Prizes and medals will be awarded for First Place; Most Creative Design; and People’s Choice.

This year’s major sponsors are Rock Valley Credit Union and Prairie Street Brewhouse.

The organizing sponsors are: Prairie Street Brewhouse; Mid-West Family Broadcasting; Channel 13 WREX; The Rock River Times; Rockford Park District; Graham-Spencer and CMM & Associates.

This year’s in-kind sponsors include Rock River Disposal; Metro Ambulance; Wilson Towing, Sam’s Towing; Rock River Enterprises and Barge; Bourn & Koch, Inc.; Fehr Graham; Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; Joseph James/Rockford City Market; Ski Broncs; Tyler’s Landscaping; Nels Ackerlund Photography; Marion S. Momaly CPA, MST; YouthBuild; Coachman’s Towing; Rocktown Adventures; Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department; Rockford Fire Department; and Loves Park Fire Department.

Trophies and medals are being sponsored in part by the River District Association.

Again, you non-builders/designers, you may register the day of the race for only $15 per kayak, canoe, or stand up paddleboard. Prizes and medals will be awarded! You can even rent your boat at Rocktown Adventures, 313 N. Madison St, 815-636-9066. They have 10 rentals available, so you’d better make your reservations soon.

As rratfr.com says. “Anchors aweigh, Rockford! Let’s Float! It’s not just a race, an engineering challenge or a team-building adventure! It’ll be all those things and more: an action-packed summer day with thousands of spectators lining the Rock River this August 21 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.”

Enjoy more family fun in the River District – see you Sunday! Sunday! – at the beautiful Rock River raceway!


How to get involved
  • For all information regarding the race please visit rratfr.com or get updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • For volunteer opportunities, contact Amy McIntyre, Facility Manager for the Rockford Park District Ice Facilities, amymcintyre@rockfordparkdistrict.org.
  • For vendor opportunities, contact Cathy McDermott, Director Rockford City Market, cathy.mcdermott@rrdp.org.
  • For sponsorship opportunities, contact Mike Paterson,General Manager, Mid-West Family Broadcasting, mpaterson@rmgmwf.com.
Race day schedule
7:30 a.m.  –  Paddlers Race Sign In Opens at Shorewood Park, 235 Evelyn Ave. Loves Park
The starting line for all races is the north side of the Auburn Street Bridge.
9:00 a.m.  –  Double kayaks
9:30 a.m.  –  Single Kayaks
10:00 a.m.  –  Double Canoes
10:30 a.m.  –  Single Canoes
11:00 a.m.  –  Stand Up Paddleboards
10:00 a.m. – Sign in for raft teams at Illinois Street Park (the old Coast Guard Station just north of the Auburn Street Bridge) 4500 Illinois St. Loves Park.
12:30 p.m.  –  First of 4 Flights of Rafts. Each Flight will have 10 rafts.
3:00 p.m.  –  Awards Ceremony and PARTY at Prairie Street Brewhouse!

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