Whether you were grilling up a storm, braving the lines at the Brewery and Box, or hiding from the crowds altogether for a little MDW R&R, you could feel the enjoyment of summer kicking off in the air. This 3-day weekend was once again jam packed full of festivities— from the Figawi Race to Memorial Day Weekend. The reality is that many get wrapped up in all the fun and libations and can overlook what this weekend represents at its core.

 So here, with a very special “Figawi Recap” we give you a breakdown of the origins and evolution of Figawi Race Weekend and an opportunity for reflection and gratitude. If not for the service men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice, we would not be able to enjoy time with friends and family and live our lives as we know it each day. So let’s first take a sail down Memory Lane.
 


Who the Figawi?

 
Back in 1972, the tradition was born when a group of lifelong friends and avid sailors Bob Horan, Joe Horan, and Bob Luby wanted to settle the debate of whose boat was the fastest. A week prior to Memorial Day Weekend, they decided that if the weather was suitable, they would take part in a friendly race from Hyannis to Nantucket the following week.
 
 
credit: Figawi Race: Hyannis to Nantucket By Joe Hoffman
 
Although the rain remained at bay, the chilly and foggy weather had them sailing in circles. Joe Horan, New England accent and all, muttered the now infamous phrase when checking their coordinates “where the fuh-KAH-wee”. Needing a cleaner name for newspaper publication in the Cape Cod Times, the name Figawi was born. In what turned out to be the inaugural race, Bob Luby and his boat Red Rooster took the honors and friends and family celebrated at Cap’n Tobey’s off Straight Wharf.
 
Each year, the race kept gaining clout and by 1977 the post-race Joke Telling Sessions began. Originally taking place on the docks within ear shot of the public, the all-in-good-fun, often crude humor was later moved inside the tent.
credit: Figawi Race: Hyannis to Nantucket By Joe Hoffman

GIVING bACK

 
In 1987, those involved in the annual regatta wanted to find a way to give back to their local communities which is how the charity ball came to be. According to the Figawi website, over the last 20 years, the Figawi Charity Ball has turned into the largest single night of fund raising tens of thousands of dollars each year going annually to local charities such as Nantucket’s Holiday’s For Heroes, Nantucket Community Sailing, Nantucket Boys and Girls Club, Land Bank Trust and the Nantucket Police Department amongst others.
 
 
 
 
 
Today, over 200 boats participate in the race and the 15,000 square foot tent is a rocking good time complete with sponsors, a live band, USA chants, and red Mount Gay Rum hats as far as the eye can see. The legacy left behind by a group of friends has grown in to an inspiring fundraising effort, exciting boat race, and staple summer event.
 

(We love this @bearfightlive video from the tent of everyone singing god bless America 
If you’d like to read more about the race, check out the websites for Dockwa and Figawi and the book Figawi Race: Hyannis to Nantucket By Joe Hoffman.
With Figawi falling on Memorial Day Weekend, the events pay special homage to those who lost their life for our freedom. Seeing the incredible work done by organizations such as Holidays for Heroes, the collaborations to give back and pay tribute is a beautiful reminder of how lucky we are to live in our land of the free and home of the brave.
 

 As author Richelle E. Goodrich once said: “On this day, take time to remember those who have fallen. But on every day after, do more; put the freedoms they died for to greater and nobler uses.”
 Thankful today (and every day!) for our this land of the free and home of the brave… especially here on our Happy Place.
  Mara “The OG” #missblACKbookintern is thrilled to be kicking of her 6th season as a part of team blACKbook. When not on island you can find her in Nashville catching all the concerts she can and trying out new spots in the poppin’ restaurant scene. Check out her adventures at @ohyoulanceyhuh!