15th Annual Great American NAPC
4th of July Raft Race
"TOYS! Out of the box"
The Neighborhood Association Presidents Council (NAPC) joyfully announces the theme for this year’s 4th of July Great American Raft Race. From more than 60 suggestions received from Neighbors across Lake Worth, the Council has selected “TOYS! Out of the box” as the overall theme for the 15th Annual NAPC Raft Race.

Each year entries vie for the coveted Grunge Cup in a raucous race around buoys set in the Lake Worth Lagoon at the Boat Ramp. Lake Worth Neighborhoods, non-profits, service organizations, local businesses and even the City of Lake Worth build barely sea-worthy crafts of every kind to compete for bragging rights in several categories. Each team will choose a subject in keeping with the overall theme of “TOYS! Out of the box” to decorate their raft complete with costumes and often accompanied by a dance or musical routine performed on the makeshift stage in the Boat Ramp parking lot.

Cherished tradition holds that “No Rules” govern the annual Raft Race, but there are a minimum of requirements for each entry. All craft must be people powered; no motors powered by anything but paddles, oars and the occasion sail. Each raft (and we use that term loosely) must be home-made and by that we mean no manufactured hulls. There must be a life vest on board each vessel for each paddler and paddlers must be at least 16 years old. Beyond that, pretty much anything goes and it does!

The 4th of July falls on Monday this year, and the day begins with the NAPC Parade of Rafts through the Downtown at 11 am leading to the Boat Ramp where the festivities continue through two heats, depending on the number of entries.

The Trophies and Defending Champions

Trophies are awarded in these categories: the Mighty Grunge Cup for first place finish, Gold medals for first place team members, Crowd Pleaser Award, Best Decorated, Best On Shore Performance, Best Rookies (first-timer competitors), Run Aground Award, (best effort in spite of unforeseen and hilarious calamity) and The Paddle, awarded only if earned by any team who displays less than neighborly competitiveness. The Presidents Cup is awarded in a special separate kayak race among Neighborhood Association Presidents, or their pinch hitting delegates.

All eyes this year are on the Downtown Jewel Neighborhood Association who took home the Grunge Cup, the Crowd Pleaser and the Paddle Trophy last year. Their nine “Moby Dick” entries of plastic sheeted origami style one and two man kayaks drew considerable envy and useless cries of Foul! The Jewel also took home the Presidents Cup, which everyone, except them, considered pretty much just plain overkill.

Eden Place Neighborhood also cried foul after missing the start time for their heat. That foul actually had merit as they were blocked from the ramp by an emergency vehicle tending to a case of heat exhaustion. This year there will be many more strategically placed coolers of bottle water available at no charge. The intrepid Eden Placers entered the heat anyway after the start and paddled ferociously onward. Everyone was delighted to see them receive the Best On Shore Performance Trophy.

The Best Decorated Trophy is defended this year by the College Park Neighborhood, whose “Kon Tiki” craft last year was simply stunning in design and execution. The Best First Timers award for 2015 was shared by the American Legion, Post 47 and the Eagles Aerie 3694 for their entry celebrating “The Last Egret”. The Run Aground Trophy was awarded last year to the Mango Groves Neighborhood who paddled on in true Raft Race spirit even as their “Tom Sawyer” raft slowly slipped below the waves.

A Week of Celebration

Festivities for the 15th Annual Great American “TOYS! Out of the box” 4th of July Raft Race for 2016 begin the week before on Sunday, June 26th with a Captains only Parlay Party to draw placements for heat assignments, get a first look at the course layout map and mostly to engage in serious trash talk and braggadocio. The Captains Parlay is followed the same evening by Shore Leave where all raft mates and race fans are invited to join the fun. Pre-Raft Race parties are also held every night of the week through Saturday, July 2nd leading up to Race Day at different pirate-friendly locations around Lake Worth. Sunday, July 3rd, is reserved for all those top secret and final raft and parade preparations. Locations for all the Raft Race parties will be announced soon. If your fine establishment would like to host a Pre Raft Race party, please contact NAPC Chair, Jon Faust at napcinfo@gmail.com.

“TOYS! Out of the box” Raft Race T-Shirts

Any and all Raft Race fans are invited to submit a design for the front of the glorious 15th Annual Raft Race t-shirts. Entries should incorporate the “TOYS! Out of the box” overall theme along with components related to the 4th of July and/or rafting. Finished artwork should be in a square 12” x 12” shape and have no text – image only. PDF or vectored format is essential and the drop deadline for submitting a design is April 1st, no fooling! Entries may be sent via email to napcinfo@gmail.com
The back of the Raft Race T-Shirts will again this year feature sixteen full color logoes from our generous and hugely supportive Neighbors in business and service. NAPC Raft Race t-shirts have become de rigueur fashion for Lake Worth Neighbors and are seen around town all year long. Spots on the back of the t-shirt are highly sought after and businesses are urged to reserve theirs’ quickly. The cost is $300. At press time, five spots have already been spoken for and all spots are allocated on a who-pays-first basis. For more information on the “TOYS! Out of the box” T-shirt design contest or to reserve a space on the back of the T-shirts, please contact the NAPC Secretary, Mary Lindsey at (561) 585-6035 or at napcinfo@gmail.com

TOYS! 2016 Raft Race Entries

There never has been and never will be a fee to enter the NAPC 4th of July Great American Raft Parade or Race. But we do need to know who’s entering ahead of time in order to properly publicize the event with flyers, posters and banners. The deadline to submit an application to enter the 2016 “TOYS! Out of the box” Raft Race is Saturday, June 3rd. Entry application forms are available by emailing the NAPC at napcinfo@gmail.com or by calling Mary Lindsey at (561) 585-6035. Teams are welcome from anywhere; Neighborhood Associations, businesses, non-profits, service organizations and even other municipalities. The City of Lake Worth team has long challenged the City of Lantana to join in, but as yet that challenge remains unanswered!

We don’t need to know what theme your raft (and again, we use that term loosely) will be using, as many of our entries keep that under wraps until the Parade! We DO need to know how many entirely homemade rafts/crafts/kayaks/vessels/floating barrels or barges your team is entering. The usual number of crafts entered per team is ONE, but last year’s race set a new precedent. Remember, homemade only, no manufactured hulls and only people-powered.

For a brilliant recap of last year’s 2015 Great American RIF (Reading is Fun) Raft Race and all the previous Raft Races, visit the Lake Worth Raft Race Archives page on facebook. Let’s play Lake Worth! On Your Mark. Get Set. Not Yet. GO!!!

The Lake Worth Little Free Library Project is off to a great start. By Feb/March 2016, forty Little Free Libraries that are already fully funded will be up and running. We have a current waiting list of more than 20 individuals who have volunteered to be Little Free Library Stewards as soon as more libraries are available. We will be applying for more grants this year to fund these additional Little Free Libraries. 

To see all the LFL locations in Lake Worth, please visit our interactive map by clicking on the Little Free Chalkboard Library in the top of the right hand column. The map is real easy to enlarge and if you click on one of the spots, a window will open with the address of the library and the name of the Steward.

The Lake Worth Little Free Libraries are brought to our Neighborhoods through the collaborative effort of the NAPC, the College Park Neighborhood Association and the Friends of the Lake Worth Library, who each applied for and received in total $15,000 from the Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization through their Resident Education to Action Program. 

This entire project has received extraordinary support and assistance from the City of Lake Worth, for which we are very appreciative. Three of the Little Free Libraries in our family were built by the Stewards themselves and three more have been graciously donated by the Guardian Credit Union and the Firefighters Local 2928.

For more information about the Lake Worth Little Free Library Project or to be added to our waiting list, please send an email to LakeWorthLFL@gmail.com