Despite the pouring rain this past Saturday, Rigidized Riverfest went as well as to be expected. In it’s ninth year, the event’s regatta is one of the unsung waterfront activities that should not be missed. After years of trying to get a glimpse of the contest, I finally landed a spot on the judges’ boat. That meant arriving early on Saturday to prepare… well, nothing could really prepare me for the hand-built crafts that were about to launch on the Buffalo River. Not since the Yagotta Regatta have we seen such ‘debaucherous’ creativity out on the water. For those of you who still miss that infamous Niagara River race, the Rigidized Regatta has incorporated many of those same elements, while focusing on the meandering aspects of water currents, rather than the rapid ones.
Past year entries have included a miniature, yet intricate freighter and fireboat, mixed in with contraptions that resembled crude floatables. This year, two crafts went neck in neck in the judges’ eyes – a green tug-and-barge manned by a two-captain team captured the hearts of many. But the ultimate winner was the hulking six-man operated Viking ship, complete with smoke screen device and an operational sail. Even a floating version of The Aud made an appearance as the real Aud completely disappeared right down the road. The breast cancer boxing ring and pillow fight arena was certainly a lot of fun to see, especially when the pillows began to fly.
There were plenty of canoes and kayaks out on the river competing for smaller booty too. If you’re a crafty water enthusiast, now is the time to start thinking about next year. This event is an absolute blast and includes a huge post party with bands, games, softball tournament, car show, camping (yes, camping), partying, cookout, Frisbee… if you’re interested, sign up to enter a craft or just plan on attending to see what the two-day festival (Friday and Saturday) is all about. Brought to you by The Valley Community Center.