Hudson Valley

Homemade Boats, a Parade & More: Sunday in New Paltz

May 8, 2013
Ghostbusters Boat - Sweet and Savoring

Look! A real life Ghostbusters boat!

And now, dear readers, for something completely different! This past Sunday, Andy and I went to the nearby town of New Paltz for their annual Boat Parade and Regatta. When I first read about it, I thought Wait, the only time I’ve ever heard about homemade boats is in a Baby-Sitters Club Super Special. This is a real thing? And also, A boat race sounds ridiculous and amazing. And you know, it kind of was!

New Paltz Boat Parade - Sweet and Savoring

The Margaritaville float parading down Main Street

First of all, I will say that I have not spent nearly enough time in New Paltz: a totally walkable, crunchy-hippie town situated on the Wallkill River. Since it’s a university town, there’s no shortage of places to eat (at least 6 pizzerias, automatic win in my book), and the village’s location at the foot of the Shawangunk Ridge makes it a favorite destination for hikers, climbers, and mountain bikers (and as we soon found out, homemade boat enthusiasts).

Since we arrived in New Paltz with plenty of time to spare before the festivities began, we meandered our way downtown, just enjoying the nice day and sunshine. We were only a one-camera pair that day, so I kept pointing out things that caught my eye to Andy. Here is some of what we saw:

Heart Graffiti & Hydrant - Sweet and Savoring

Random street art. Yes.

Black Cat Street Art - Sweet and Savoring

Beware: huge black cats lurking in corners

Crosswalk Sign Street Art

Watch out for those masked figures crossing the street!

After heading back to the car twice, making sure we had enough water, scoping out the riverfront for the best spot to watch the boat race, and taking advantage of the public restrooms (SERIOUSLY, a town that has public restrooms gets major props. So appreciated!), we  headed to the Town Hall parking lot. It’s always essential to take in the pre-parade scene:

Ghostbusters at the Boat Parade

Guess which song was playing nonstop from their radio?

Local band Yard Sale added to the merriment

Local band Yard Sale added to the merriment

And let the parade commence!

New Paltz Karate Academy, marching with military precision

New Paltz Karate Academy, marching with military precision

New Paltz Boat Parade - Sweet and Savoring

Here comes the flowery hippie bride in her wedding boat!

Margaritaville float in New Paltz Boat Parade

The Margaritaville people win the prize for most boisterous.

Surgeon Boat at New Paltz Boat Parade

Free surgery! Who’s up first?

During the lag between the parade ending and all the boats (maybe a dozen?) congregating at the race launch site, we somewhat voraciously inhaled the lunch we brought with us: homemade trail mix (nuts, coconut, sunflower seeds, raisins, chocolate chips), peanut butter sandwiches, and an apple. We also wondered how on earth some of those ‘boats’ were going to not just stay afloat, but race against each other.

The results were hilarious and entertaining- what else could they be?

New Paltz Karate Academy at the Regatta

Like I said, military precision! Not surprisingly, karate team won.

Ghostbusters at the New Paltz Regatta

When else could you see such a sight? A Ghostbusters car-boat actually staying afloat!

[Sidenote: Apologies to my mother, who asked me if the boat was actually spraying water. Why did I say yes? That’s water spraying on the farm on the other side of the river. Silly!]

Sadly, the Margaritaville boat came in last. Some of the crew members begged the nearby regatta patrol guys to tow them, while another shouted, “We don’t need help! When you see us going under, that’s when we need help!” At one point, I just backed away slowly, casting back intermittent glances and trying not to laugh/wince with secondhand embarrassment. Here they are, flailing, and nowhere near the finish line:

Margaritaville Boat at the New Paltz Regatta

But they had their margaritas, and that’s what’s important.

That, my friends, was my first regatta experience. Homemade boats are fun!

In closing, a shot of yours truly in my favorite new pair of pants:

Red Pants/Dollar Sign Portrait - Sweet and Savoring

Contrary to popular belief, I was going for functionality with that trucker hat- excellent sun shade, I say!

Have you ever been to a homemade boat parade or regatta? Do you have any local events as ridiculous or fun as this one was? Please share if you have!

Much appreciation, as always, to you for stopping by Sweet and Savoring. I may get a bit more serious in the next post, but I also have a travel look-back coming up and one or two Long Island-centric posts on the horizon as well. See you back here soon!


*All photos taken by Andy Milford. Thank you, darling!

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