Making a Splash at the 2022 Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta

Event by Reston Historic Trust draws thousands.


On Saturday, Aug. 13, the Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta returned to the waters off Lake Anne Plaza in Reston after a two-year pandemic hiatus. The Regatta is a Reston Historic Trust event that the nonprofit organization describes as "a community event designed to foster a sense of Reston pride, celebrate the family-friendly atmosphere of historic Lake Anne Plaza, and support the Reston Historic Trust & Museum."

Participants construct and decorate life-size, people-powered cardboard boats. These boats, at times somewhat flimsy, like this year's "Soggy Bottom," launch in timed heats, with team members rowing from the Lake Anne Plaza docks to a buoy and back.

Watching the high-energy event was free. According to Alex Campbell, the executive director of the Reston Museum, this year's event was very well attended. "Likely a few thousand throughout the day," noting 43 teams competed. The races began at 2 p.m., and the Turtle Recall Performance took place at 6 p.m.

According to the posted regulations, there was no limit on the number of rowers, but all rowers were required to fit inside or on top of the boat. The whole boat had to be made from cardboard and could be bonded with duct tape, masking tape, strapping paper tape, wood glue, or contact cement. It couldn't be taller than 6 feet or wider than 12 feet.

Terraset Elementary School received the Titanic Award for the best sink at the awards ceremony. The First Place winners in three categories were: the Cadet Category-Hunters Woods Elementary School; the Navigator Category, YMCA; and the Skipper, Cinder. The People's Choice award went to Mr. Matt and the WildFlowers.

Campbell said the event "had a lot of sponsors," including 123JUNK as the event's presenting sponsor. They had a boat in the race and helped get rid of all the cardboard. The RoSigle Community Foundation was the school sponsor, giving every elementary school in Reston the chance to form a team to build a boat and enter it in the competition. 

A list of all sponsors can be found online at Donations to help support Reston Historic Trust's sharing and preservation of Reston's history can be made at

Preregistration for next year's event, Aug. 12, 2023, can be completed at