After years of anticipation, I finally made it to my first Rose Festival Milk Carton Boat Race. And to be frank, I was a little disappointed. For one thing, there was no beer garden. Now I suppose this could be because the event is family friendly, and the Dairy Farmers of Oregon, who sponsored the event this year, are more interested in pushing milk than beer. I understand this. But we’re in Oregon, after all: family friendly and beer soaked are not mutually exclusive. So, if the organizers of next year’s event read this, I have two words for you: Beer Garden.
Also, I was hoping for more thrills and spills, as it were. We only saw one boat disintegrate all day, and though many rafts appeared to be always on the verge of tipping over, we didn’t see it happen even once. A large part of why there were so few tipped over and disintegrating boats (which used to be a much larger part of the event, if I can trust my memory of the television coverage I saw in my childhood), is that most of the boats were made with plastic milk jugs, not cartons. There were two or three purists, but the majority of boats were made with rafts of gallon milk jugs duct-taped together. It’s much more difficult to reseal cartons air tight than milk jugs. If more boats had been made with cartons we’d have seen more boats slowly sink as their pilot furiously paddled in a comic manner. Way more fun!
But, all in all, it was a fantastic event, and we had a fantastic time. We packed a picnic lunch, partook of a free root beer float (which must have been the first one I’d enjoyed in 20 years), took lots of pictures, and grabbed a beer at Oaks Bottom Pub after the festivities.
Photos after the jump
The sky was forbidding.
But that didn’t deter the crowd.
Royal Rosarians helped out.
And they’re off!
The purist: a milk carton boat, piloted by a cow!
Heather has more at Mile73.com: At The Milk Carton Boat Race.
Along with the beer garden, it would also be fun to equip the spectators with pellet guns to they can try to pop holes in those cheatin’ plastic milk jugs to help them on their way into the brine, dontcha think?
Awesome! I remember hearing about that as a kid and always wanting to go. And I’m with XUP on the pellet guns. Plastic jugs are cheating.
That was my 16 year-old son in the Cow costume and authentic Milk Carton boat! We threw it together the night before and it was christened at the event – never tested! We found that even though a half-gallon carton will provide 4lbs of lift, the 52 we strung together was a little on the light side, as evidenced by his low in the water profile! Nonetheless he came in second and almost beat the guy that had a pretty slick boat with a rowing frame and oars the size of Kansas! We’ll be back next year with more floatation and we’ll stick to the cartons!
XUP, Steve – I’m with you. Minimally there should be separate divisions for real milk cartons vs gallon jugs!
Brian – Congrats on your son’s strong finish! I came away from the event with the conclusion that the biggest oars win. There was also that woman who appeared to be a world class kayaker, but she too couldn’t beat the guy with the giant oars.