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Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival cancelled for 2020

For 26 years, the Watkins Glen Waterfront Festival has brought thousands of landlubbers and cardboard sailors to town to enjoy the Seneca Lake waterfront, stroll a midway of dozens of vendors and music-makers, and watch or participate in the “almost-famous” Cardboard Boat Regatta held in Seneca Harbor Park. This year’s Festival had been scheduled for Saturday, June 20.

The Waterfront Festival Committee, part of Watkins Glen Promotions, announced today that this year’s planned Festival has been cancelled because of the many concerns surrounding the worldwide Corona virus pandemic.

Members of the Committee and of the board of directors of Watkins Glen Promotions said they made this decision after a great deal of discussion and evaluation of the health risks involved in any large gatherings which might spread the virus which causes Covid-19.

“The health and safety of our guests, our sponsors, our vendors, and our volunteers will always be our primary concern,” said Marianne Marts, Chair of Watkins Glen Promotions. “We are heartbroken to cancel an event which has brought so many people and so much fun to Watkins Glen each summer, but we hope this disease will be defeated and we will be able to bring this event back, better than ever, next year!”

Ms. Marts thanked the generous event sponsors and the hard-working volunteers who have been planning this year’s Festival. The highlight of the Festival each year is the Cardboard Boat Regatta, featuring dozens of handmade boats made only of cardboard and duct tape.

The teams of Cardboard Boat mariners race each other and the water itself as they make their way around a circuit in the Village Marina. Awards are given for fastest time, best-looking boat, best sinking experience, and other fun categories! Through the day, visitors and participants can enjoy the Watkins Glen pier and the many food and merchandise vendors who participate in the Festival.

Watkins Glen Promotions is a non-profit organization producing four Schuyler County events each year. They include the Waterfront Festival in June, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival in September, the Falls Harvest Festival in Montour Falls in October, and Watkins Glen Village Christmas in December. Visit for more information.