PLATTSBURGH — This year's Mayor's Cup will feature four days of activities, including a concert from a nationally known band with local roots that officials hope will draw major crowds downtown.
"We want to provide a quality event, a family-friendly event, and something that celebrates the great lake that we live on and something that is free," Dr. Jake DeSnyder, Sunrise Rotary Mayor's Cup Committee co-chair, said at a news conference Tuesday.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Mayor's Cup, which is billed as the largest regatta on Lake Champlain and one of the largest freshwater sailboat races in the Northeast.
The festival will be held July 12 through 15 and will once again include a variety of events on land and sea for all, not just boaters.
"This is a wonderful event for downtown, and we all benefit from it," City of Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak said.
"We will draw people from all over the region with the different kinds of entertainment we have this year."
MORE BOATS EXPECTED
The Mayor's Cup will begin Thursday, July 12, with the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts' Jumpin' in July Party at the Arts Center at 23 Brinkerhoff St. The party will be geared toward children's activities.
That evening, the sixth-annual Boat Parade of Lights will be held from 9 to 10 p.m. The parade features all kinds of vessels decked out in bright lights and fancy decorations accompanied by loud music.
The boats will glide from Wilcox Dock to the Plattsburgh Boat Basin, where a barbecue will take place.
"We'd like to really increase the number of boats in the parade, and we want to challenge local businesses to put a boat in the parade this year," organizer Gail Recore said.
The parade has become more and more popular since its inception and draws large crowds of spectators onshore.
On Friday, the Glengarry Bhoys, a popular Celtic rock band, will perform at the Lions Club Bandshell near the Macdonough Monument from 7 to 9 p.m.
The action picks up Saturday, beginning with the regatta at 9 a.m.
DeSnyder said he hopes there will be more boats in the race this year, as lake conditions are expected to be better. Last year, the lake reached record high levels, which caused major flooding in the region. Many boaters were unable to get their boats in the water by the time race day arrived.
"We had boaters from three states and the province of Quebec last year, and I know we will have more this year," DeSnyder said.
Also Saturday, the Cultural Center will continue its activities, and Behavioral Health Services North will also host kids events on the lawn of City Hall all day.
Food and craft vendors will also be set up in Trinity Park all day Saturday.
The evening entertainment will begin with Rick Davies & the Bearcat Ramblers playing from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Lions Club Bandshell.
At 8 p.m., the nationally known Gibson Brothers, a bluegrass sensation from Ellenburg, will perform at the bandshell.
"We are very pleased that the Gibson Brothers decided to spend some time in the North Country this summer, and they committed to us, and I think they will draw a lot of people," Kasprzak said.
The Gibson Brothers' show will be interrupted for the fireworks display at 9:30 on the banks of the Saranac River near the stage.
The band will close out with a final set from 9:45 to 10 p.m.
The Mayor's Cup will conclude with the CVPH Mayor's Cup Bike Ride, starting at CVPH Medical Center at 9 a.m. Sunday.
All events are free.
RELIES ON DONATIONS
In the mid-2000s, the Mayor's Cup had grown to a major event, featuring nine days of entertainment and a budget of nearly $200,000. But budget constraints scaled it back in recent years.
Organizers are now relying on donations from area sponsors to come up with the $30,000 to $40,000 needed to host the event.
"We've got about 95 percent of our sponsors from last year that have renewed for this year, but there are still opportunities out there for more sponsors," said Co-chair Kevin Kehoe.
The popular Mayor's Cup T-shirts will also be on sale, and proceeds will go toward sponsoring the events, and any leftover funds will be put toward the Sunrise Rotary club's pavilion project at Wilcox Dock.
"We try to make this event a wash so the taxpayers do not feel that they are supporting any event," DeSnyder said.
Registration for the boat parade and the regatta and more information on the Mayor's Cup can be found at www.mayorscup.com.
The city will provide in-kind services for police and fire protection and maintenance from Public Works.
"As it always happens, the community comes through," the mayor said.
Email Joe LoTemplio at: email@example.com