Friendly competition between US & Canada
The fun of summer continues in the River Region with the Youngstown Yacht Club Can Am Challenge, taking place Thursday, July 26, to Sunday, July 29, on village streets, the Lake Ontario waters and on the grounds of the YYC.
YYC organizer Amy Reynolds invited all to kick off Challenge weekend on Thursday evening with the annual regatta Street Dance.
"For nearly 20 years, the Street Dance has been the kickoff to one of Youngstown's best weekends. Village and town residents, regatta competitors, volunteers and YYC members gather on Main Street to dance in the streets, eat great food and get a look at the new regatta clothing," she said.
This year's Can Am Street Dance will see a variety of vendors. The Youngstown Diner, Galley and the Mug and Musket "will be serving amazing food on the street," Reynolds said. The Youngstown Diner will offer Italian sausage, burgers, dogs and fries. Galley will offer its famous fried bologna and onions while the Mug and Musket will have rice balls. "We will also be serving cold beer and wine. It's the party you won't want to miss - come for the food, stay for the dancing."
Speaking of entertainment, this year's musical lineup for the Can Am Challenge weekend is a hot one. From 7-10 p.m. Thursday, the Street Dance will feature the musical talents of Full Sails with lead singer Ray O'Keefe and special guest Jay Moynihan.
"Hot off the stage from the 'Summer of '69' event comes some amazing local musicians to form another killer band, Full Sails," Reynolds said.
Moynihan, recently back from tour, will be featured on saxophone while Lewiston vocalist Pamela Johnson Perrin will perform a set with the band. Joining them will be Randy Bolam on drums, Ray Barry on guitar, Dave Thurman on vocals and guitar, Marty Buchalski on bass, Patrick Scharrino on percussion, and O'Keefe on vocals and harmonica.
Thursday's Street Dance will feature the musical talents of Full Sails with lead singer Ray O'Keefe and Jay Moynihan on sax.
Visitors also can check out 2018 Can Am Challenge clothing.
"Attendees of the Street Dance have the first opportunity to purchase the regatta merchandise. As many regatta attendees know, many items sell out on Thursday, so this is a great chance to buy the hottest items," Reynolds said.
This year's design features racing sailboats on opposite tacks designed by Youngstown native Travis Finkle. Finkle's father was the founder of the Can Am Challenge's predecessor, the Level Regatta.
Following the Street Dance, clothing will be on sale all weekend in the YYC clubhouse.
The fun continues down the hill at 7 p.m. Friday when Strictly Hip rocks the waterfront at the Youngstown Yacht Club. The show is open to the public.
"Strictly Hip has spent years and thousands of performances respectfully and accurately recreating the music of Canada's most popular rock band with painstaking attention to musical detail," Reynolds said.
On Saturday, M.W.A., headlined by Aaron Smith, will keep the party going, starting at 7 p.m. at the YYC.
"M.W.A. is a high-energy alternative rock band that is sure to have Youngstown dancing," Reynolds said.
Chris Borgatti and friends will play on from 2-6 p.m. Sunday, before the awards ceremony for the regatta.
Race competition for the regatta begins Friday for three fleets of boats: the J/70s, J/88s and Tripp 26s. It continues Saturday for the remaining competitors.
"The Youngstown Yacht Club began this event five years ago with the idea of creating a friendly competition between the U.S. and Canada. Scores are calculated at the end of the regatta to determine a winning country," Reynolds said.
The U.S. was victorious in 2017, so the current tally has Canada and the U.S. tied at two wins apiece.
"This year's event will break the tie. Attend the Sunday afternoon party to find out the winner!" Reynolds said.
Mount Gay will again serve as a sponsor of the regatta. The event will feature a Mount Gay rum bar with drink specials all weekend. There also will be beer specials, and the Great Foodini Food Truck on premises.
All parties for the Can Am Challenge are open to the public. There is no charge for the Street Dance. Wristbands for the parties at the YYC are available for $5 for the entire weekend.
"The Youngstown Yacht Club invites you to come on down and enjoy regatta weekend," Reynolds said.