United Way of Southwest Michigan’s “Rock The Boat” Happening This Thursday, July 11th
With 26 boats participating in the event, Rock the Boat will feature a fun afternoon of cardboard boat racing for a great cause.
ST. JOSEPH, MI – United Way of Southwest Michigan is inviting the community and the media to join us at the Rock The Boat Cardboard Boat Races, set to take place this Thursday, July 11, 2024 at the Inn at Harbor Shores in St. Joseph.
“We have 26 boats participating and they’ve been sharing some of their boat designs with us leading up to this Thursday’s event. I think we’re going to have a great year of competition,” stated Zack East, Senior Director of Organizational Sustainability at United Way of Southwest Michigan. “Some of them look like works of art. You can’t even tell they’re cardboard. Whether they’ll float is a different story!”
This unique event, which features life-size boats made entirely of cardboard, will be raced in heats in the river channel for spectators to see in-person and streaming online at uwsm.org/rocktheboat, with the goal of raising funds for United Way of Southwest Michigan, and having a bit of fun. The event is expected to draw crowds of up to 3,000 people, building on the success of the previous event held in 2019.
The event begins at 5pm this Thursday, and is free to attend, though a donation is appreciated. Great food & drink from Plank's Tavern on the Water at the Inn at Harbor Shores will be available, as well as food trucks from Ben’s Pretzels and The Brick House, with a special event drink, the “Mango Lassi,” created by KT’s Rasoi. The event will be hosted by Our Lady of the Lake Athletic Director & WSJM Sports’ Phil McDonald, with technical support presented by TPC Technologies and Little Red Fern Productions.
Voting for participating teams is now open through the event on Rock the Boat’s peer-to-peer voting platform, allowing teams to receive monetary donations toward their chance to win either the Captain’s Award for the most dollars raised, or the People’s Choice Award for the most individual donors. Proceeds from the event go directly to United Way of Southwest Michigan’s 2024 campaign, and the employee campaigns of participating employers. You can vote anytime by clicking DONATE at uwsm.org/rocktheboat and choosing your favorite team.
The rain date for the event is Tuesday, July 16th with the same schedule of events and location at the Inn at Harbor Shores. Event organizers are watching forecasts intently and will be sure to make a public call prior to Noon on Thursday, which will be communicated to the media and posted on the United Way of Southwest Michigan social media pages.
The media is invited to attend and report from the event live with plenty of space available in covered tenting areas overlooking the channel, workspace in the hotel lobby with free high-speed internet, and access to event information coming in live at the TPC Technologies production area. Live video streamed to the United Way of Southwest Michigan YouTube channel from the event is available to be used by the media for b-roll as well. If you plan to attend the event, please contact zack.east@uwsm.org or 269-985-3011 for accommodations.
United Way of Southwest Michigan’s Rock the Boat would not be possible without the immense help of our sponsors: Mid-West Family Southwest Michigan, JV Studios, Honor Credit Union, Silver Beach Pizza, North Pier Brewing Company, BOSS Services, Curi RMB Capital, Holtec International, Lake Michigan College, and Ravitron, with support from Pepsi, United Container Company, the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber, Migala Rug & Tile, One Fine Day, Brian’s Marina, the Inn at Harbor Shores, and Competitive Edge.
About United Way of Southwest Michigan
United Way of Southwest Michigan works to sustain a united community where everyone contributes, belongs and thrives. We harness resources from corporate, nonprofit, and public partners to address our community's most pressing challenges and make lasting change. Join us in giving, advocacy, and volunteering by visiting www.uwsm.org.

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