The weather's heating up and that means the Fourth of July -- and the cardboard boat race -- is just around the corner.
Registration for Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers' annual event to see if a cardboard boat can really float down the Columbia River is getting off to a slow start, but organizers still are hoping for a good turnout.
Independence Day falls on a Sunday this year, and that has forced some past participants to not sign up this year, said Mike Blatman, Crime Stoppers' law enforcement coordinator.
Last year, 21 boats raced down the river, but so far only six racers have signed up, Blatman said. But he said people usually wait until the last minute to register so he's still hoping for more racers.
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He also is really banking on getting participants for the new "build-a-boat-in-a day" event. For $35, racers will get a cardboard boat kit that includes a precut cardboard boat, duct tape and glue and have 21/2 hours to build a decorate the boat at Columbia Park on race day.
Blatman said it's a great family or team-building event and there will be guides available to help people build their boats. Organizers tried the build-a-boat event last year but had no takers. The cost to enter was reduced from $75 to $35.
No one's signed up yet this year, but Blatman said he already has had calls from a half-dozen people wanting to know how to register for build-a-boat.
Registrations are due by today, but Blatman said he will accept them until June 30 to get more participants.
For more information or to register call 582-1351 or go to tricitiescrimestoppers.org .