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Management company to pump up Regatta at Lake Arthur weekend

| Saturday, April 19, 2014, 5:19 p.m.
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Kayaking is a popular activity on Lake Arthur and is one of the components of the inaugural Quest for the King Eco Relay Race at the Lake Arthur Regatta

The Regatta at Lake Arthur is getting a major revamp this year with the help of a Pine-based event management company.

The regatta's volunteer board hired East Wing Events to a three-year contract in September 2013 to handle all event coordination for the 16th annual regatta.

When the Regatta at Lake Arthur started 15 years ago, organizers estimated from 40,000 to 60,000 people attended throughout the weekend. They estimated last year's weekend attendance was from 5,000 to 6,000 people.

“Rebuilding something takes someone full-time,” said Jim Stewart, of Verona, a regatta board member. “It's very hard to do as volunteers in between the raindrops.”

Holly Muchnok, president and event director at East Wing Events, has been working full-time to organize new sponsors, entertainment and events for the weekend-long recreational event planned for Aug. 2 and 3 at Moraine State Park.

“It was definitely necessary, and she is perfect. She has the right blend of ‘let's get this done' and being sensitive to the past,” said Stewart.

Muchnok hopes to inspire an enhanced regional event with a streamlined mission to “become the premier all-ages, eco-recreational event in the region.”

“I use the word enhance because it's the best way to put it,” she said. “I don't want to take away the traditions and beloved things, but we want to streamline the concepts and ideas behind it.”

The sailing races, fair food vendors and fireworks display will all return this year, along with a slew of new features like paddle boarding and windsurfing lessons, dragon boat rides, a native butterfly release and healthy and wholesome food options.

Baierl Automotive came on board as a signature sponsor and will resurrect the car cruise that had taken place years ago, Muchnok said.

“We've had about a 1300 percent turnaround in partnerships and giving,” Muchnok said. “I think the mission is resonating with them.”

But the main point of the Regatta at Lake Arthur, as it always has been, is to showcase Moraine State Park and bring attention and funding to the park.

“I think Moraine State Park is one of the best-kept secrets in the world,” said Mike Hall, president of the regatta board.

Although admission and activities at the Regatta at Lake Arthur are free, funds are raised through donations, vendor fees and sponsors.

Organizers also hope that the Regatta will open visitors' eyes to the recreational opportunities and natural beauty that lays just 45 minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh.

A full list of events, entertainment and activities can be found on the Regatta's website at www.lakearthurregatta.org.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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