OGDEN DUNES | Charlie Costanza hauled his son Enzo’s soggy cardboard canoe out of Lake Michigan on Saturday at Tamarack Beach. Clearly, it had sprung a leak.
“We put a good hour into building it. My son got boxes from garbage down the street after someone moved in. We were in first place but then it got too wet,” Costanza said.
Theirs was among 21 boats entered into the first cardboard boat race the community has organized, thanks to the Odgen Dunes Home Association.
Hundreds of spectators cheered and laughed at the rowing ridiculousness.
“It’s a way to bring the community together. They said it couldn’t be done on Lake Michigan, but here we are and we’re just elated at the turnout,” said Debbie Dixon, homeowners association secretary.
Funds collected from entry fees will help buy tick tubes for the community, traps that help to combat the pesky parasitic mite problem.
But for siblings MacKenzie and Logan Albright, 11, of Valparaiso, the pesky problem was a sinking boat.
“We got the Titanic!” said MacKenzie.
“We were trying to float it but then it tipped over,” Logan added.
They estimated spending about two weeks on the craft called the Safari Cruiser, painting elephant and tiger heads that peeked out from the bow and assembling costumes of camouflage and safari hats.
Others just threw together an empty box covered in duct tape or took time creating peace and love signs, or naming their vessel the HMS Sea-Ya.
Charles McCormick, 7, of Indianapolis, came to see his grandparents for the weekend in Odgen Dunes but said he was enjoying the spectacle.
“I’ve never seen anything like this and I’d like to try it next year,” he said.
Grandma Rosie said, “This is wonderful! It’s one of the best events our community has done. It’s creative and fun!”