October 05, 2023

KANKAKEE, Illinois – The City of Kankakee and Kankakee Valley Park District is thrilled to announce the triumphant return of the Kankakee River Valley Regatta Powerboat Races. The races will take place on the beautiful waterway of the Kankakee River and is set to make waves and ignite excitement once again during Labor Day Weekend 2024. This highly anticipated event marks a resounding revival after its last race in the year 2013.

In a collaborative effort that exemplifies the unity and determination of our community, the Kankakee River Valley Regatta is made possible through the cooperation of the following entities:

  • City of Kankakee
  • Kankakee Valley Park District
  • Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce
  • Kankakee Valley Boat Club

Together, these organizations are dedicated to delivering an unforgettable experience to residents and visitors alike.

“We are overjoyed to welcome back the Kankakee River Regatta to our city after an extended hiatus. This has been a goal that I wanted to make happen since becoming Mayor. This event has a special place in the hearts of our residents and we look forward to showcasing the beauty of the Kankakee River.” said City of Kankakee Mayor Chris Curtis.

Dayna Heitz, Executive Director, Kankakee Valley Park District commented “The Kankakee Valley Park District is elated to be a part of the highly anticipated Regatta return. We look forward to this amazing collaboration and having a roaring good time along the river.”

Nicole Gavin, Executive Director, Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau, agreed, stating, “This event is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Kankakee County’s natural beauty and recreational offerings. We are thrilled to host visitors from near and far for an unforgettable weekend.”

Kelsey Post, President & CEO of the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce stated, “The Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce is excited to be a partner in bringing back the Regatta Boat Races.  The entire County continues to grow and it is exciting to bring back staple events to the community.”

Eric Mayo, Commodore, Kankakee Valley Boat Club: “The Kankakee Valley Boat Club is proud to be a part of this tradition. Our members are eager to share their passion for powerboat racing and the Kankakee River with the spectators.”

Event organizer Elizabeth Lubben shares her enthusiasm: “The return of the Kankakee River Regatta is a testament to our community’s resilience and passion. We’re committed to working tirelessly to ensure that this event will be better than ever. Lubben also reflected on the event’s history and how next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the tragic loss of 15-year-old racer Jackie Grosso in 1999. “Jackie’s memory remains in our hearts. Jackie was so passionate about the races, and her determination to race herself inspires me to bring the races back and honor her legacy,” said Lubben.

The event will take place from August 30 thru September 1, 2024.  Practice rounds will happen on Friday, August 30th with qualifying occurring on Saturday, August 31st and the championship finals on Sunday, September 1st.

The 3-day Regatta will bring together the community in a celebration of tradition, excitement, and region’s enduring spirit for all to enjoy and promises to be a highlight of the many summer festivities within Kankakee County.


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