Enter Your Cardboard Boat

Saturday, May 20, 2023, at Noon

No entry fee.

Show off your creative design of a life-size cardboard boat then see how far or long it can float in the annual LakeFest Cardboard Boat Race in DeFuniak Springs, Florida!  Can you out-paddle your competing friends and teams with your creation?  Whether you wish to enter this competition or just come to the water's edge to watch, you can't help but find this LakeFest 2023 activity filled with belly laughs and hundreds of spectators gathered for one of the most enjoyable activities during LakeFest 2023.  Sponsored and hosted by the leaders of Walton Correctional Institution.

How to Participate

  • Register before or at the event by completing this 2023 Entry Form & Waiver of Liability.  This document must be signed to participate.
    • In advance of the race, submit the 2023 Entry Form & Waiver of Liability to Ms. Cindy Permenter, Mayor's Office, 1350 Baldwin Ave, DeFuniak Springs, Florida  32435.
    • If you wait until the day of the event to register, bring your completed form to the start site no later than 10:30 am.

Rules(click here to download PDF)

Boat Design and Construction

  1. Boats must be made BEFORE THE RACE
  2. Boats must be made ONLY of cardboard and duct tape. A maximum of 5 reinforced cardboard tubes is allowed.
  3. Cardboard cannot be sealed with any sealants i.e. flex seal, boats may be painted with spray paint only. No sealants or brush painting allowed.
  4. Boats may be a maximum width of 60” (5 ft.) and a maximum length of 84” (7ft).
  5. There is no maximum height requirement
  6. Boats must be completely enclosed, or permit the crew to remain fully on top of the vessel.  (You are not permitted to have dangling extremities)
  7. Boats must be propelled by the use of a paddle and/or hands
  8. No artificial paddles are allowed
  9. Paddles must meet the same construction requirements as the boats (cardboard and duct tape only).
  10. If any illegal items used in construction are discovered during the pre – or post-race inspection, the boat will be disqualified

Race Format

  1. Boats will need to be designed to carry two individuals.
  2. Each person will be equipped with a PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
  3. Teams will start at the lake edge in the location designated, and teams will navigate the course returning to the starting location.
  4. Once the horn blows signifying the beginning of the race the two team members must put the boat in the water and board it. They will then proceed to and around a marked buoy and return to their starting location.
  5. The race must begin and end with the two-person crew intact arriving at the shoreline and removing the boat and placing it back from where they started.
  6. Swimming and/or pulling the boat, or the use of other boats will result in disqualification.
  7. Heats races will consist of, at most, 4 boats at a time.
  8. Time from heats will determine placement for finals. The fastest 4 times from heats will race for the Lakefest Cardboard Boat Champion and the fastest of these three will take home a Trophy.

Boat Judging

  1. Boats will be judged on their creativity as part of the pre-race activities.
  2. Teams should be prepared to “show – off” their work upon the start of the judging @ 11 AM


  1. 1st Place
  2. 2nd Place
  3. 3rd Place
  4. Best in Show

Age Divisions

  1. Children up to 15 years old will be CHILDREN DIVISION
  2. 16 years and older will be ADULT DIVISION