During the winter of 1974 a group of shoreline friends met up one evening to discuss the idea of starting a new local event, to be run in the summertime and ultimately benefit local charities. With this shared philosophy, the Connecticut River Raft Race was conceived. The first race course started at the Deep River Landing and finished on Knott’s Island off of Essex. The raft race has changed locations 4 times in the past 40 years.
The 40th annual Ct. River Raft Race will take place on August 2, 2014 in Portland, Ct. The Race will commence with a cannon blast at10:00 a.m. from Gildersleeve Island in Portland and finishes 41/2 miles downriver at the Portland Boatyard. The Raft Race weekend starts on August 1st with a cook off and camping at the Portland Boatyard.
Over the years new categories have been added to this wonderful event. Kayaks and Canoes are welcome and will be competing in their own category. This event is not limited to people local to the Portland area. Last year racers from Coventry, Bozrah, Newington, Waterbury, Portland, East Hampton, Windsor, East Haven, New Haven, New Britain, Stratford, Rocky Hill, Middletown and Deep River, Connecticut participated as well as one raft from Chestertown, Maryland.
Sightseers are welcome. This event can be viewed from River Park Middletown, Cromwell landing and the Portland Boatyard. Pack the car with your grill and goodies and join the fun at the end of the race. Enjoy the camaraderie of the day including live music. Proceeds from this event are donated to local charities.