'Milk Carton Regatta' makes a splash in Westmoreland Park
After the Portland Rose Festival "CityFair" Carnival packed up and moved on, only one more official Rose Festival event remained: The Royal Rosarian Milk Carton Boat Races, in Westmoreland Park's Casting Pond on the sunny afternoon of Sunday, June 24.
"The Royal Rosarians are proud to host these races, taking place here in the Casting Pond since 1973," smiled the Royal Rosarian Prime Minister, Adam Baker, as the first racing heat was about to begin.
Volunteers at the registration table said that 25 craft had been signed up by crews participating in the seven races and two finals that afternoon.
The Rosarians took on this event, after the Dairy Farmers of Oregon ended full sponsorship – "To provide a free family event that involves people in our community who come to race, or just watch the excitement and action on the water," Baker told THE BEE.
KATU-TV-2 weatherman Dave Salesky was aboard a wobbly scissors-lift, placed at the south edge of the pond, to rise high for a commanding view of the pond – and to provide splash-by-splash coverage of the races.
Most of the participants came from far and wide; many of them returning, such as the Snook family from Milwaukie.
But, folks around the Casting Pond cheered a local boy who paddled furiously across, Llewellyn student and Westmoreland resident Ian Rothermel. After his race, Ian told THE BEE, "It was scary, but it was good. The hardest part about getting across the pond was paddling in a straight line!"
As the temperature soared, the crowd thinned out, but teams including kids, adults, families, and organizations continued to race, and occasionally splash overboard into the pond.
Surprisingly, the official results of the races have yet to be published; but clearly, all who made it across the Casting Pond without getting dunked looked like winners.