Charity events making waves at Lake Texoma

By: Maddie Garrett Email
By: Maddie Garrett Email

LAKE TEXOMA - It seems like canvas has covered the waters at Lake Texoma for the 24th annual Lakefest Regatta this weekend. But all of those sail boats aren't the only things making waves. Two charity events on the lake aren’t only for a good cause, they’re also good for business.

"For us it's huge, it's our first holiday of the year is the way we look at it,” said Jason Cottingame, marina manager at Grandpappy Point.

For nearly a quarter of a century, Lake Texoma has been host to the largest inland charity regatta in the U.S. This year the popular sail boat races are benefiting the North Texas Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"Kind of gets things rolling for us, gives us an opportunity to fundraise for children so it's a good thing,” said Cottingame.

The Cruise Texoma for Kids event will also take place on Saturday, where yachts will take dozens of people out on the waters to raise money for special needs children.

"What we're doing is bringing economic development to our area, we're helping those less fortunate than us and we're having a great time doing it,” said Anna McKinney, Denison Chamber of Commerce President.

And while the charity events are always a great way to give back, they also draw people to the waters.

"What we're doing is giving Lake Texoma major exposure this weekend and it's having a big economic impact in our area, when the lake season kicks off, the visitors come, the dollars start flowing,” said McKinney.

Visitors like Gina and Scott Thompson from Houston, who are big lake-lovers, and decided to come up for the weekend to check out Lake Texoma.

"We’ve been kind of driving around and looking at different campground and staying in some cabins and having a really good time,” said Gina Thompson.

McKinney said many hotels and properties already have weekends booked, and it's looking like smooth sailing for this year's boating season.

"It's real exciting to me, I love the lake and I love Denison, so this is a great way to start the year it's a positive way,” she said.

And as for the boost for local marinas, Cottingame said he thinks the Regatta is just the beginning to a busy summer as well.

"we hope that they'll come back, not just for the Regatta, but just for regular boating,” said Cottingame.

Regatta events have already kicked off this week, and so has the economy as Texoma's biggest boost, lake season, officially started.

Here is a schedule of the rest of the Lakefest Regatta events for Saturday and Sunday:

Saturday, April 17
7:00 a.m. Coffee and Donuts at TSC Clubhouse
9:55 a.m. Warning Signal for First Race of Lakefest Day Two TBD Corporate Sponsor Yachts depart Grandpappy Fuel Dock
11:00 a.m. Spectator Boat leaves Grandpappy Fuel Dock
Following Race 1 Lakefest Day Two Race Two (time and weather permitting)
Following Race 2 Lakefest Day Two Race Three (time and weather permitting)
3:00 p.m. Spectator Boat returns to Grandpappy Fuel Dock
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Happy Hour at TSC Clubhouse (live music and free beer)
6:00 p.m. - 11 p.m. The infamous Shipwrecked Ball at the Regatta Pavilion featuring the Steel Drum Boogie Band and BBQ by Risky's Public Welcome

Sunday, April 18
7:00 a.m. Coffee and Donuts at TSC Clubhouse
8:00 a.m. Travel lift and One Design fleets' dedicated crane open for haulout. Will remain open throughout the afternoon until all boats are hauled.
9:55 a.m. Warning Signal for Final Race
2:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony at TSC Clubhouse presented by the Make-A-Wish® Foundation of North Texas

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