Officials Outline 2016 Mayor’s Cup Festival Events

Apr 22, 2016

Plattsburgh officials have outlined the schedule for this summer’s Mayor’s Cup, one of the city’s largest annual events.

The 39th Annual Mayor’s Cup Festival will combine the largest sailboat race on Lake Champlain with numerous on-shore events over four days in July.

The Sunrise Rotary coordinates the festival and regatta with the City of Plattsburgh. Sunrise Rotary President Elect and Festival Chair Joanne Dahlen calls the race, which features 80 to 90 sailboats,  the keystone of the festival.  “The regatta has been going on for so long. There’s such a loyal following of boaters. They tend to register year after year and I believe that the race structure before Burlington and Plattsburgh is based around the dates of the Mayor's Cup because it's that important to the racing community.”

Dahlen says the popularity of the Mayor’s Cup has grown over its 39 years.  “It started out as really just a single race through the Valcour Sailing Club before Sunrise Rotary took it over and then it became part of the four day regatta and festival. That collectively elevates all events and adding the parade of lights as sort of the kickoff to the four day festivities I think has been huge, I think for the regatta as well, because it's just fun.”

The Mayor’s Cup Festival kicks off the evening of July 7th with the 10th annual Parade of Lights Competition: a floating procession of decorated and lighted boats along the Plattsburgh shoreline.  Sunrise Rotary member Richard Jarrette coordinates that event.  “What better way to start a lake-centered community-oriented program than to start on the water. I mean forty or fifty and on the water. More music than before. Lots of lights. I mean it's really an attraction. It's a real show.”

There will be traditional events such as music, carnivals, movies, garden tours and fireworks.

New events this year engage the region’s burgeoning transportation manufacturing sector.  Promotions and Special Events Coordinator Sandra Geddes approached Nova Bus for help to create a new competition.  “It's the Nova Bus bus pull. There are going to be six man teams and we'll have a woman's, a men's and a coed category. So okay. They do strongmen competitions. So we just thought it would be something fun to do. And you have to go a hundred feet. Whoever gets a hundred feet in the quickest amount of time.”

Another new option takes visitors a step back in time.  Simon Conroy coordinates “Downtown Rising,” a summer series of weekly food, music and farm market festivals.  “We're going to be doing a horse drawn trolley ride which is going to run from Trinity Park down to the waterfront. So you can hop on the trolley, ride it through town, go down to the waterfront. You can hop off there if you choose or you can ride it back.  And I think they're actually willing to stop and let people on and off. Kind of like an old fashioned trolley from the waterfront up to the city.”

Plattsburgh Mayor James Calnon notes that while the city budgets about $60,000 for celebrations throughout the year, events like the Mayor’s Cup are auspicious investments.  “The economics of it are at least two fold. It puts a lot of people downtown and we hope that in the course of the day that brings a lot of business downtown. The other piece of this that I think is really important is and I talk about this a lot, you know, you want your cities to be good places to live, to visit and to work. And having a vibrant downtown with lots of activities is really important in recruiting particularly young and highly skilled workers. We want to really send that message that that's what Plattsburgh is: a real four seasons community. And in the summertime having events like this and the Fourth of July fireworks, the Battle of Plattsburgh, that there's so much going on that people get to make choices. And so the more choices we can have in activities generally that raises the economy of the region.”

Registration packets for various competitions are being prepared and will be available on the Mayor’s Cup website.