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A scene from the 2016 East End Maritime Festival. (Credit: Jeremy Garretson)

A new nautical competition is coming this year to the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation’s annual Maritime Festival.

The latest contest at the 33rd annual festival — which runs from Friday, Sept. 22, through Sunday, Sept. 24 — will be the inaugural cardboard-boat regatta, sponsored by Greenport Harbor Brewing Company. 

Museum executive director Tracey Orlando hopes the event inspires community members to enjoy the festival throughout the weekend.

“Saturday is very well-attended, for sure, and Sunday is a little bit more sleepy,” Orlando said. “We figured if we had more to offer, people would make it a Saturday and Sunday event … it will be a tradition once it’s established going forward.”

There will be five divisions in the regatta for adults and kids 12 and under, including single riders, full crews and a Privateers Outlaw Race.

The event’s rules will stay true to original guidelines set forth for the earliest documented cardboard regatta, which was held at Southern Illinois University in 1974.

Boats can be constructed using only corrugated cardboard, duct tape, packing tape, latex caulk water-based glue and rope or string. No wood, metal, wax or plastic of any kind is permitted.

Boaters will vie for prizes in 13 categories, including first- through third-place winners, “spirit” and “creativity” awards and the “Andrea Doria” prize for “spectacular sinking.” The event will take place Sunday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m. on the Third Street waterfront. Those interested can register online at the East End Seaport Museum website, To participate, boats must be on the beach and registered by noon for all events except the “anything goes” Outlaw Race.

The Maritime Festival, sponsored by Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital, spans downtown Greenport Village, the harbor and Mitchell Park. Organizers made sure to keep several traditions alive this year while adding new events. 

Other festival highlights include Friday night’s Land & Sea Gala honoring this year’s grand marshals, the Goldsmith family, owners of Goldsmith’s Boat Shop, who will lead the Merry Merfolk Parade on Saturday. Sponsored by Claudio’s of Greenport, the gala will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Crabby Jerry’s dock, at the south end of Main Street. More than 25 local restaurants will offer food, craft cocktails and more.

“This is the community celebration — you celebrating with 400 of your closest friends in Greenport,” Orlando said.

The Merry Merfolk Parade steps off Saturday at 11 a.m. This year’s theme is Maritime Mardi Gras and spectators are invited to bring beads and feathers and wear Mardi Gras garb. Following the parade, there also will be a merfolk costume contest.

“We want to make it fun again — that’s really the ambition,” Orlando said.

Other fun events running through the festival weekend include kayak races on Saturday and a snapper-fishing contest for kids on both days. For a full schedule of festival activities, visit