Historical footage of the first New Paltz Regatta recovered from a local resident's old home movie. Circa 1955.
The New Paltz Regatta dates back to May 15, 1955 when the Delta Kappa Fraternity of SUNY New Paltz held a strange regatta on the Wallkill River. A massive auto-parade helped carry strange crafts of all types down Main Street New Paltz, NY. The homemade crafts were concocted of materials ranging from barrels to tractor inner tubes, some held together with little more than ropes and wires.
Nearly a thousand students and townspeople lined both banks of the Wallkill River to watch the excitement. The race began at the "Old Swimming Hole", which today is now the New Paltz boat launch on Plains Road. After all the crafts enter the waters of the Wallkill, they scramble downstream about a quarter of a mile, splashing and floundering for the finishing line, the Rt. 299 Bridge.
The tradition of the Regatta carries on today and has become a symbol of community, eccentricity, and the welcoming of the summer months here in our beautiful Hudson Valley!