By LISA HOOVER
NORWOOD -- The 24th annual Norwood Lake Regatta will be Aug. 24 and Aug. 25 at Norwood Beach, with snowmobile water races as the major highlight.
Over 20 “watercross” athletes from around the United States and Canada are expected to race snowmobiles across the water, with races beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The drivers use enough speed to keep them skimming along the water, according to Jim McFaddin, mayor of Norwood.
They are “experienced drivers, and they know the speed they have to maintain,” he said. “If they do sink, they have a crane that raises the machine, and they are completely sealed so there are no environmental concerns.”
Events will kick off at 9 a.m., with other highlights to include vendors, crafts, slides, a bounce house, a 60 foot obstacle course, and kids’ games. Food and legal beverages will be available in a covered arena at Norwood Beach.
Local business people are expected to set up, along with several vendors, including four jewelry makers and “all kinds of arts and crafts,” McFaddin said.
Admission will be $5 for adults, free for kids 12 and under.
The regatta arose “out of necessity,” according to McFaddin. “Norwood Lake was polluted, the water level was unregulated,” he said. “During the National Grid re-licensing Norwood Lake Association partnered with them to create a recreation program.”
The association “worked with National Grid to create a recreational area here in Norwood,” he said. “We realized we had to raise funds” and “a major event became a top need.”
The first event in 1989 brought hydroplane racing to the area, McFaddin said. “But the problem was, when we had inclement weather we couldn’t race,” he said. “We needed something that could race in any weather, that’s when we went to the snowmobiles.”
Between the spectators that follow and the athletes themselves, the event usually brings 50 tourists to the area, according to McFaddin. The association members usually “plan for around a thousand or so” spectators, he said.
“It’s, you know, it’s a great event, it brings people in who wouldn’t usually be here,” McFaddin said. “They comment time and time again how they really like the area.”
“They return to camp here,” he said.
The proceeds will go toward the milfoil cleanup of Norwood Lake. “We do a lot with the funding,” McFaddin said. “This year we have a real concern with the milfoil issue. We have taken care of it for one year, but it’s a continuing effort.”
The funds raised will also help keep the Norwood recycling center running. “The recycling center is a big hit,” McFaddin said. It was established in 1990, and is run exclusively by Norwood Lake Association volunteers. The center “collects 75 percent of household waste free of charge” and is “used by over 300 people.”
The regatta “subsidizes that,” with the rest coming from donations, McFaddin said. It was created when the local landfills were closed, and has won “numerous awards” for “being a model for other communities,” he said.
The Norwood Lake Association works to bring “pride of property” to Norwood Lake, McFaddin said. The association has “accomplished many of those goals.”
For more information call 353-2834