Northern Michigan Events: Suttons Bay’s Floatilla Wants Guinness Record

Northern Michigan Events: Thousands of canoes and kayaks will raft off at Suttons Bay‘s 2013 Floatilla 2 this August, marking the town’s second attempt to break the Guinness World Record for largest flotilla of canoes and kayaks.

“It’s visually amazing,” said Kate Thornhill, creator of Suttons Bay’s first Floatilla in 2012 and mother of two Suttons Bay Public Schools graduates.

Suttons Bay Floatilla 2 organizers expect 3,000 canoes and kayaks at the August 31 event. New additions to the lakeside afternoon include live music and more food vendors at the Suttons Bay Marina, Thornhill said. Registration opened online in early June, and all proceeds will be donated to the Suttons Bay Public Schools Student Activities Fund.

Last year’s Suttons Bay Floatilla fell just 152 boats short of the current 1,902-boat Guinness World Record, set in upstate New York in 2011.

Thornhill proposed the idea to Suttons Bay Public Schools Superintendent Mike Murray when the school system faced a possible budget deficit at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year. Suttons Bay’s first Floatilla attracted 1,750 canoes and kayaks, raising $45,000 for the Suttons Bay Public Schools Student Activities Fund, Thornhill said.

At the same time, the Suttons Bay community and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians raised approximately $100,000 for the school budget, Thornhill said. Together, they helped secure the necessary resources for the school budget.

“Last year we had a number of activities funded by the Floatilla,” Superintendent Murray said, noting student field trips to Grand Rapids and Washington, D.C. The event also funded the school’s Robotics Club and Business Professional Association trips to state competitions.

This year, the 2013 Suttons Bay Floatilla 2 will help more than 800 Suttons Bay students participate in various extracurricular activities, Murray said. Several high school students are helping organize the event for their senior leadership and community service projects, he said. —Catie L’Heureux

Article Comments

  • Anonymous

    This sucks!! Do the people organizing these ‘events’ have any consideration for others that live here and have to get around on a daily basis?
    Over a thousand idiots driving here to make some kind of record. It is ridiculous. Traverse City and area residents and taxpayers are being ‘festivaled’ to death by moneygrubbers.

  • Anonymous

    Sucks?? It is these “events” that bring people to your community to spend money. You live in a tourist economy. Without visitors, you would not enjoy the quality of life that you lead. If you had bothered to read the article, you would know that this “event” pumped a huge amount of money into the Suttons Bay schools. Nobody is profiting from it. Quit complaining. Without tourists, Suttons Bay would be economically bankrupt. If you don’t like us visiting and spending our money, move to someplace like Mesick and see how much you like the quality of life there. It is “idiots” like us who pay your bills.

  • Anonymous

    Boom! There it is. Idiots complaining about positivity in a down economy. Why don’t you get a life and take your douchecanoe to the event?!

  • Anonymous

    Oh I see you’d rather not help the Suttons Bay Schools, watch people have fun, and pay higher taxes. Got it!

  • Anonymous

    Oh I see you’d rather not help the Suttons Bay Schools, watch people have fun, and pay higher taxes. Got it!

  • Anonymous

    O.K. Let’s be nice. I understand the frustration of traffic during these “festivals”, but you can’t blame it all on the Floatilla . The traffic interruptions are also the fault of the road construction this year. And yes, a world record may seem rather silly, but in these times of dire news ….sometimes you just have to be silly and enjoy life. In the end, the school and community benefit. It’s a win/win…..Fun/Fun situation.

  • ?

    It’s good for the soul. It will be fun and for just a few dollars a person, a lot of children benefit.