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Planning underway for 2015 Great Contraption Race

by jmaloni
Mon, Feb 16th 2015 04:45 pm

By Terry Duffy

Temperatures outside may be the coldest yet this winter season, but planning is now heating up in earnest for a fun summertime event on the lower river.

The second annual Great Contraption Race to benefit the It Happened to Alexa Foundation will take place Saturday morning, Aug. 1, starting from the Lewiston docks and continuing 6.2 miles downriver to Youngstown.

"Even though current temperatures are low, before you know it summer will be here again and with it The Great Contraption Race," said Ellen Augello, foundation executive director. "As we gear up for our 2015 event, we want everyone to know that we welcome all businesses and individuals to participate!"

Over past months, organizers have been busy in their planning for the 2015 GCR - one that all anticipate will be bigger and better from last year's successful inaugural event. Augello said the 2014 GCR saw 26 contraptions of all types participating, and that she was hopeful for upwards of 60 entries in 2015. She said the uniqueness and appeal of this event has and continues to lure the curiosity and interest of residents young and old from throughout Western New York and beyond. It's destined to "become a WNY event that will be on everyone's bucket list, near and far," predicted Augello.

As with 2014, this year's Great Contraption Race will again feature entries of two or four riders on specially created contraptions of their own design. Augello said the design requirements will be much the same as last year's. "The contraptions need to be constructed from mostly recycled materials; nothing that will pollute or harm our beautiful waterways. All contraptions must be tested to float prior to the race and can only be manned by human power, and/or a man-made sail to float down the river."

Costumes and contraption themes are encouraged for all participants and points will be awarded - for a vessel's creativity, its times and for those that finish and do not. In addition to the on-river race, the GCR will feature a fun-filled afternoon in Youngstown, with barbecue food, beverages and entertainment for the whole family at a local park. Open to race competitors, their support crews, spectators and visitors, details on the post-race party are still in planning with announcements to come.

For now, Augello invites residents, groups and local companies from throughout the area to consider being a part of this year's Great Contraption Race. In addition to the race, this event also will feature pre-race VIP celebration events in the form of a land-lubber reception, open to all, at the Barton Hill Hotel and Spa in Lewiston, and a river cruise aboard the Niagara Bell in the lower Niagara River on the evening of Thursday, July 30, plus the fun-filled post-race party in Youngstown.

A number of sponsorship levels are available, with entry fees ranging from $300 to $5,000. Levels include:

•Atlas - $300 fee, which includes one team entry of two to four people, with two barnacles (helpers) per team.

•Proteus - $500 fee, which includes one team entry of two to four people, with two barnacles per team, entry to the post-race barbecue, plus one ticket to both the VIP celebration and post-race barbecue party.

•Proteus - $1,000 fee, which includes two team entries of two to four people, with two barnacles (helpers) per team, entry to the post-race barbecue, two tickets to both the VIP celebration and post-race barbecue party plus a package of promotional materials and other offerings.

•Aeolus - $2,000 fee, which includes two team entries of two to four people, with two barnacles (helpers) per team, entry to the post-race barbecue, four tickets to both the VIP celebration and post-race barbecue party plus a package of promotional materials and other offerings.

•Triton - $3,000 fee, which includes three team entries of two to four people, with two barnacles (helpers) per team, entry to the post-race barbecue, six tickets to both the VIP celebration and post-race barbecue party plus an expanded package of promotional materials and other offerings.

•Amphitrite - $4,000 fee, which includes four team entries of two to four people, with two barnacles (helpers) per team, entry to the post-race barbecue, eight tickets to both the VIP celebration and post-race barbecue party plus an expanded package of promotional materials and other offerings.

•Poseidon - $5,000 fee, which includes five team entries of two to four people, with two barnacles (helpers) per team, entry to the post-race barbecue, 10 tickets to both the VIP celebration and post-race barbecue party plus an expanded package of promotional materials and other offerings.

Augello invites the community to be a part of this very special event, one whose proceeds go solely to benefit the credible work of the Lewiston-based It Happened to Alexa Foundation. Founded in the early 1990s by Tom and Stacy Branchini, the It Happened to Alexa Foundation honors the courage of their daughter Alexa, who survived a traumatic rape in her college dorm while she was a freshman. The foundation provides financial, emotional and advocacy assistance to victims of sexual assault who go on to prosecute their attackers, and also offers outreach and educational programs for youth. It has assisted victims and their families in 48 states across the U.S and in 17 foreign countries.

For more information on the Great Contraption Race and the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, contact Augello at 716-754-9105 or email [email protected].

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