Riverhead’s cardboard boat races will be back in action this year.
The popular race, which was canceled last year, is being revived this year in a joint effort by the Riverhead BID Management Association and the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce.
The cardboard boat race has been tentatively set for Aug. 6, Riverhead BID executive director Diane Tucci said this morning. The date must be approved by the Riverhead Town Board, she said.
“The Chamber and the BID have been meeting every month and talking about common interests,” she said. “This event was one of those things we just didn’t want to see fall by the wayside. Everybody loves it.”
The event will be held in August rather than June due to concerns about the number of bunker fish in the Peconic and the possibility of another massive fish kill like the ones that occurred in May and June two years ago.
There is again a large number of bunker in local waters this year, Riverhad Supervisor Sean Walter said last week. The numbers may even be greater than they were in past years, he said.
Last year a massive die-off was averted, which the supervisor said was the result of expanded net fishing opportunities agreed to by the DEC and subsidized by the state, the Town of Riverhead and the Town of Southampton.
In 2016, the cardboard boat race event, which had been held on the last weekend in June since their inception in 2010, was first postponed by the town board; board members discussed moving the event to the month of August but never set a date. In July, town officials said the event would not be rescheduled, citing scheduling conflicts among the volunteers on organizing committee as the reason.
Former councilman George Gabrielsen, a founding member of the organizing committee, was angered by officials’ remarks.
“There’s one reason and only one reason why we’re not having the cardboard boat race this year and that’s the town board canceled it without even talking to the committee, the organizers,” Gabrielsen told RiverheadLOCAL last summer. Gabrielsen, former councilman Ed Densieski, members of the Gabrielsen family and members of the Zaneski family organized the event since its founding.
“We’re very excited about helping to bring back this wildly popular event to downtown Riverhead,” Tucci said. She said the BIDMA and Chamber expect the town board to sign off on the date.
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