Prestigious George Raft Race nears

By Mathew Roland

Blaine’s annual maritime festival, Drayton Harbor Days, is just around the corner.

Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5, feature a 5K run, pancake breakfast, live music, prize drawings, scavenger hunt, costume contest and outdoor movie night.

A highlight of the weekend will be The Prestigious George Raft Race, which starts at 1 p.m. on August 4. The race will begin at the Blaine Harbor public boat launch and finish at the visitor’s dock.

Participating teams will race vessels made from a wide variety of materials. Richard Sturgill, founding director, said he has seen racers get extremely creative when designing their raft.

“Rafts have been made of plastic milk jugs, Styrofoam, bits and pieces of wood, large 50-gallon blue plastic barrels lashed together, inner tubes rafts – you name it and it was probably used in the race,” Sturgill said in an email.

“The ‘Prestigious’ George Raft Race has always been the stalwart of the annual waterfront event of Drayton Harbor Day,” Sturgill said. “The race can get quite competitive with rafts going head to head with near photo finishes. Many have failed before, at the starting line with some sinking along the way, to the spectators delight.”

All participants will be required to sign a release form and wear a proper flotation device. Racers are required to sit on top of their raft, not in. Supplies to build the raft can be purchased from the store, but an entire watercraft cannot be purchased for use in the race, Sturgill said.

“We have this rule in order to help try and level the playing field somewhat by eliminating a competitor from simply purchasing a store-bought water craft to race with,” Sturgill said.

The first place winner will be awarded the notorious The Prestigious George Raft Race Trophy.

To learn more about Drayton Harbor Days, visit

Ed. Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Prestigious George Raft Race participants could not purchase items from the store to create a raft. We regret the error.

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