PLATTSBURGH — The 44th Mayor’s Cup’s Regatta and Festival tradition returned this year at its new location at the city beach for a single day of festivities Saturday.

Residents could team up and participate in a beach volleyball tournament for $60 a team, with proceeds benefiting the Sunrise Rotary Club, run in a 5K race, go on kayak rides and watch participating boats race during the regatta.

With Saturday’s temperature hovering in the mid to low 70s, the weather for this year’s Mayor’s Cup was much more timely than last year’s, which had mild thunderstorms for the shrunken roster of boaters due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, with no festival activities.

With a new location at the City Beach, the Sunrise Rotary Club’s Co-Chair for the Mayor’s Cup, Sue LeBlanc-Durocher, said it infused some excitement this year.

She said more than 1,300 cars came through the city beach at some point by Saturday afternoon.

She also said lifeguards told organizers that Saturday was the busiest the beach has been all summer.

LeBlanc-Durocher said the new location and weather possibly played a role in that.

“We’re so blessed to have this location,” she said. “It’s a perfect day with the weather.”

Jean Grafals, who said he raced in the regatta for more than 30 years, although hasn’t the last two, said he thought so as well.

“Having it here on this location on the beach, rather than the city is 100% an improvement over the last few years,” he said.

“There’s no traffic or any of the parking problems. It’s just a perfect location at the perfect spot,” Grafals continued. “I think it’s a good step in the right direction and that it should continue to be here.”

LeBlanc-Durocher said planning this year’s Mayor’s Cup was more of a resumption of last year’s cup, which was originally supposed to be the first year the cup’s festivities were to be held at the beach until the pandemic forced its cancelation.

But concessions still had to be made this year as well, with the cup being limited to a one-day event with no post-regatta awards ceremony and barbeque due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” LeBlanc-Durocher said. “So being able to figure out how we can bring more money in during a one-day event is a challenge.”

But most of all, LeBlanc-Durocher said having the Mayor’s Cup return put pieces of the community back together.

“Since our summers are so short, I think the community really wants something to celebrate, whether it’s the lake or the community,” she said.

“I think that was the biggest piece missing — being comfortable being around other people.”

Email Fernando Alba:

Twitter: @byfernandoalba

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